As healthy as Hercules

Cafes, Coffee, Drinks, FoodLeave a Comment

When you think of health food and clean eating, Greek isn’t necessarily the cuisine that comes to mind. More likely it conjures up images of fatty, delicious lamb, creamy tzatziki or sticky baklava.

However, if anyone is going to push the boundaries of marrying these two concepts, it is the great George Columbaris. And this is precisely what he has done with his latest venture, Mastic.

Trading Plates had a chat with the general manager, Kieran Spiteri, previously of café royalty Two Birds One Stone in South Yarra and Top Paddock in Richmond, so he knows a thing or two!

Chia seed pudding

Poached eggs and heirloom tomatoes

Spiteri says that the concept for Mastic was born out of the George Columbaris’ immense weight loss.

“He wanted to set up a café when you could go and eat clean, wholefoods, so that is where the basis of the idea came from.

“It is a very new venture for him because they are traditionally restaurant guys, not café, so it is something different. They wanted somewhere they could go and eat knowing that it was whole and healthy.”

The menu at Mastic is constantly evolving and was created by a team of people.

“The majority of dishes are George’s ideas while the team helps him put them together,” says Spiteri.

Greek food is what Columbaris and his do very well, so the presence of Greek items and influences on the Mastic menu is a must.

The relationship between Greek cuisine and clean eating isn’t as big of a leap as some would imagine. According to Spiteri, the basis of any health food is just using clean, wholefoods, which can really be adapted from any region of the world.

Chia seed pudding with fresh fruit

Chia seed pudding with fresh fruit

“I guess it can be challenging but you can adapt and change for anything. There is a place in Greece called Ikaria and has the most centenarians in the world. So you can say Greek food isn’t healthy but there is a little island with a lot of people running around there in their nineties and older. They must be doing something right?”

Spiteri says at Mastic they are conscious of not overcomplicating the idea of eating healthily.

“The basis of eating healthy is just eating whole, clean foods and not overcomplicating it. That is what we are trying to do. You don’t want to be too niche because then you only accommodate a certain demographic and we want to be broad.”

Kieran Spiteri’s recommended dishes on the current menu are the Breakfast Salad or the Wild Greens (a particular favourite of his that he often whips up at home!). To drink, the green smoothie is a must.

26 Cotham Rd Kew,

Mastic on Urbanspoon

This article was originally published in March 2015.

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