Let Them Eat

Lunch Review.
Vegetarian.

I first came across ‘Let Them Eat’ whilst wandering around The Depot at a Fork On The Road dinner event in early February. It all happened when I stumbled across a Forker whose plate of food captured my senses. I asked where I could find some and was pointed in the direction of a marquee with a reasonably large crowd. As I reached the stand, I noticed that all the food was vegetarian! How could this be, with so many people here?

Being a carnivorous barbarian with an appetite for animal protein, I wasn’t sure if this would suffice, but my eyes and nose ate first and persuaded my tastebuds to participate. I ordered the leek and gruyere tart and a sweet corn and fetta fritter. The fritter was my first earthly indulgence and I was mighty impressed, but as soon as the tart touched my tongue I turned into a babbling mess and struggled to maintain balance on my quivering legs.  The soft velvety sweetness of the leek and gruyere filling layered into the savoury melting crumble of the pastry base was what I imagined the afterlife to be like, not a vegetarian tart!

I rushed back to the stand requesting to speak to the person who had created this heavenly delight and was introduced to the owner Tanya. I introduced myself, whilst trying to regain composure and passed on my gratitude and utter delight with their wares. Passing over my card, I advised that I would be honoured to review their cafe in the near future.

Winding the clock forward one month, it was time to roll up unannounced to Elizabeth/Queen St, Croydon where the Let Them Eat cafe is located. Nestled in amongst a collection of cosmopolitan cafes, the streetscape was lined with outdoor settings and littered with people. My vegetarian aide for lunch was Cathy Forrest Caputo, knowing that an expert opinion would be an invaluable addition to an enjoyable lunch.

Making our way to the counter we were greeted by smiling faces and engrossed by a multitude of eye-catching options including tarts, pies, burgers, fritters and salads. Knowing from previous experience that Let Them Eat creations were full flavoured and mouth-wateringly delicious, I prepared to try as much as possible.

We ordered the following between us:
Sweet corn and fetta fritter.
Risoni salad with lemon and currants.
Carrot and quinoa salad with toasted pepitas.
Sweet potato and goat cheese tart with wholemeal pastry.
Parsnip, sage and mascarpone arancini.
Spinach crepe with ratatouille.
Spiced chickpea salad with mushrooms.
Risoni salad with lemon and currants.

Taking our seat outside we discussed the sheer variety on offer, creating a vegetarian paradise. With many people changing their diet due to food allergies, it was comforting to see that the majority of the options were gluten free and some even catered for vegans.

When the food arrived, it was clear that I had possibly ordered too much; the serves were monumental and some of my order had to be brought on a separate plate. The sweet potato and goats cheese tart took me back to my first love affair with Let Them Eat at Fork on the Road. It still had the delicate fluffy texture with oodles of flavour that most people wouldn’t generally associate with vegetarian food. The salads were fresh, moist and had an abundance of character that was sensationally refreshing.

Powering through the first plate, I was quickly filling up, but I was enjoying the food too much to leave without at least trying everything. Cutting through the spinach crepe effortlessly I was immediately overcome by the richness of the ratatouille encased in the spinach pillow. The parsnip arancini had a wonderful crunchy seeded outer layer holding in the gooey goodness of the mild cheesy filling.

Relaxing in the hustle and bustle of continuous foot traffic, I slumped into the chair with a newfound respect for vegetarian food. Although I may not be a convert from my meat loving madness, it is clear that it is possible to achieve utter contentment through plants, grains and dairy without the addition of farmyard flesh.

As our plates were cleared, I passed on my gratitude to the staff and advised them of my intentions to review the lunch. Although they were expecting a review at some point, I had succeeded in achieving anonymity. Laura returned with some complimentary orange chocolate cake that I thought would tip me over; I was wrong, the cake was not at all dense. The delicious gluten free cake had what tasted like a candied orange in it which cut through the bitterness of rich chocolate. I had truly gorged myself on a delectable array of healthy options.

I was very impressed with the service, selection, value for money and flavours offered by the vegetarian eatery. My only suggestion would be the inclusion of some freshly squeezed juices or blended smoothies which would have been a welcomed accompaniment to the healthy lunch. I would have also enjoyed a selection of condiments such as chutney, relish or chilli jam rather than just caramelised onion with all serves.

I can most definitely say that I will be returning to Let Them Eat, whether it be at the cafe, a festival, farmers market or even if I am looking for a caterer that can provide alternative food. Whether you are vegetarian, vegan or an all-rounder like me, you will not be disappointed with any of the food on offer here. Jump on in and give yourself an education in wholesome nutritious food that your body and tastebuds will thank you for.

Darren Richards

Average Menu Pricing
Light Lunch - One or two salads with small item (fritters, burgers or risotto pies) $12
Light Lunch - One or two salads with large Item (tarts, crepes or slices) $14
Main Lunch - Choice of all salads with small item (fritters, burgers or risotto pies) $14
Main Lunch - Choice of all salads with large Item (tarts, crepes or slices) $16
Salad Only (choice of all) $12

Where: 16 Elizabeth Street, Croydon, 5008
Trading: Lunch Sunday to Wednesday 10am – 4pm, Friday & Saturday 10am – 5pm
Website: let-them-eat.com.au
Contact: (08) 8340 8872

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