The summer holidays are upon us - and what better way to enjoy this season than with a new favourite food hub? Well, we’re taking things a step further and sharing our top eateries that also come stacked with sustainable credentials so you can eat well and feel good. And yes, we’ve got one for every state - so let’s start celebrating!
An institution in the inner west suburbs of Sydney, Cornersmith lives and breathes an ethical ethos. A family-run business, their cafe serves a seasonal vegetarian menu and uses locally- sourced produce from small-scale growers and makers - plus a whole lot of pickles made in their kitchen. Expect tasty treats like seasonal salad bowls, Scando plates with bread, cheese and hard boiled eggs, and garlic mushroom, chermoula and oaxaca cheese toasties.
Open daily, Cornersmith also offers a Picnic Box service that’s perfect for summer - borrow a picnic rug, pick up your box full of cheese, pickles, bread, salad and fruit, and head across the road to Hinsbey Park for some relaxing, outdoor fun.
Like what you see? You can shop from their locally-sourced grocery and retail store in their cafe, and if you fancy making some of these dishes at home, Cornersmith also offers cooking classes and workshops at pop-up locations around Sydney.
While the Local Press team has a wholefoods store on Giles St, it’s the cafe on the lake (corner of Eastlake Parade and Giles St) that you'll want to visit this summer. Water views, delicious organic wholefoods, and a menu that’s completely unrefined, unprocessed and free of unnecessary additives and preservatives - what more could an ethical foodie want!? Relying on seasonal and local produce, the Local Press menu features dishes like jackfruit tacos on blue maize tortillas, veggie bowls, and lamb and chickpea salad.
It’s not just the food that’ll leave you feeling good either - Local Press Cafe and Wholefoods also have a number of sustainability initiatives on the go. They offer Green Caffeen reusable cups to discourage the use of single-use takeaway coffee cups and offer discounts when you BYO cup. They collect and recycle everything from batteries to electronic waste - a real ‘two birds, one stone’ setup if you want to recycle on your morning coffee run - and they’re part of the RSPCA Choose Wisely program, using free range, pasture fed and chemical and hormone-free animal protein in their dishes. Did we mention their food is amazing?
A sustainably minded restaurant lives by the Brisbane River in the West End - and if you’re paying a visit to the city, it’s the place to go. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, Grown’s seasonal, plant-based menu uses produce from several local farmers and producers. But plant-based doesn’t mean missing out, with tasty options like Cauliflower Mac n’ Cheese, Avo & Herb Smash, and Almond Satay Tempeh.
Even their beverage list is curated to showcase vegan-friendly, locally produced and sustainably packaged options, like Unico Zelo, Yokel, and Koerner wines, and house blend coffee roasted by Brisbane locals, Bear Bones Roster.
Taking sustainable steps is all part of Grown’s MO, which makes dining here that much sweeter. Their coffee packaging is plastic-free, they use fresh ingredients with minimal packaging, and they work hard to support local producers using traditional regenerative farming methods, who are pesticide free.
One of the organisations they partner with is Loop Growers, a farm in Samford who operate a ‘closed loop’ compost system. Food waste from Grown gets taken back to the farm after sorting, then turned into compost that goes straight back to their gardens, where they grow their produce.
Parcs on Little Collins St is utterly driven by a goal to reduce food waste, starting with the name, which is ‘scrap’ spelled backwards. Their motto? Scrap is not a dirty word - and that’s music to our ears!
Parcs rescues off-cuts from restaurants and imperfect fruit and veg from markets, before fermenting to give them a second - and very tasty - life on their menu. Some of the latest dishes include oysters with mango kombucha aged in bees’ wax, wok tossed greens with fermented ramps relish and ‘scrap sauce’, and brioche miso ice cream with poached banana.
The restaurant is only small - just 20-odd seats - but the size ensures they work with what’s available. Bound largely by their low waste ethos, even their wine list serves minimal intervention options, and cocktails mixed and muddled with the same principles.
Less than 30 minutes from Adelaide’s CBD, nestled in the grounds of Newman's Nursery, is the lush Topiary restaurant. Tree-house vibes, beautiful dishes, and sustainable menus are all part of the experience here, and with a reasonable price tag to boot.
The sole ethos at Topiary is to operate in a similar way to our ancestors 100 years ago. That means everything is made from scratch, the team works with entire vegetables and animals, and they keep waste to an absolute minimum. Running breakfast, lunch and dinner services, a majority of Topiary’s produce is from the venue’s very own edible garden. Whatever they don’t grow themselves, they source from local, likeminded SA suppliers.
Breakfast has everything from crispy brassica to apple crumble crumpets, while their foragers menu features items like local asparagus with cauliflower polenta, fish carpaccio with pickled fennel, and rosemary crème brulee. They also offer a completely plant-based menu with favourites such as woody herb hash and short pasta with broccoli tips, mushroom XO, and bread ends.
Formerly ‘The Raw Kitchen’, this Fremantle food hub is built on the mission of inspiring healthy and sustainable living. A plant-based food and wine bar, Mother cooks with unprocessed, unrefined and preservative-free ingredients. Their menu changes with each new season, dishing up delicious Mediterranean-inspired food and vegan wine.
Take their spring menu, for example - who could go past plates like beetroot tartare, braised wild mushrooms, and cacao pasta with portobello, silverbeet, and green pea puree? With summer well and truly underway, we can’t wait to see what this season brings to their menu!
And it’s more than just feel-good food at family-owned Mother. Their restaurant actively works to minimise food waste, uses biodegradable packaging, redirects scraps into home compost, and offers loyalty programs to reward people with BYO coffee cups and containers. Even the loyalty cards they use are made with old menu paper to give them an extra lifecycle! Add this one to your WA bucket list.
It started as an idea to use locally produced gin and uniquely Territory ingredients in cocktails, but now Charlie’s of Darwin has grown into something even bigger. Is it a bar, a restaurant, or a distillery? Well, depending on what mood you’re in, it’s all three.
Enjoy bar snacks like NT crocodile dumplings and wild mushroom arancini on their Raintree Terrace, while sipping on a signature Rosella Cosmopolitan made with local Palmerston Rosellas and Karama calamansi Limes. Or settle into their restaurant and indulge in head chef Fendi Bong’s ‘Feed Me’ menu, which showcases the freshest local produce, from charred king prawns to watermelon sorbet.
Across the whole operation, sustainability is at their core. Charlie’s is committed to using native ingredients like Kakadu Plum and Native Lemongrass that are sustainably harvested within a three hour drive of their Darwin distillery, while their recent partnership with GoodFish ensures they only use the best local, sustainably sourced seafood on their menu.
It’s an ethical night out with a hyper local food menu, but if cocktails are your jam, then send Charlie’s to the top of your ‘must-see’ NT list.
An Aboriginal food business and tour company, Palawa Kipli might not be the usual spot for a meal in Tassie - but it should be. Palawa Kipli translates to mean the food of Tasmanian Aboriginal people, with their entire mission celebrating the origins of sustainable food culture.
Kitana Mansell, project manager for the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre, steers the Palawa mission, hoping to teach people that “Australian food is Aboriginal food”, with their kipli takara tours a core way of showcasing native food. On a food walk at Risdon Cove, participants taste seasonal native plants, learn how these ingredients work in modern cooking, and finish the tour with a unique tasting catered by Palawi Kipli.
Inspired by their ‘edible history’, their menu comes stacked with native plants, fresh seafood, and protein like wallaby and mutton bird, a well-known Tasmanian Aboriginal meat. One of Kitana’s recent dressings heroed the fruity flavours of native pepper berry and blue-gum honey, which was then paired with sustainably sourced oysters.
Kitana and her team are working on other sustainable initiatives too, guided by Aboriginal customs that respect the land’s natural resources. Their native community garden is one such project, not only supplying ingredients locally, but forming the basis of a regenerative program that will see many native species return to the area. Less reliance on mainland produce will also reduce food miles in their cooking, while supporting small local businesses in the process.
We've found some incredible spots for you yo try over the holidays, you might even pick up a few new recipes to try yourself at home!