Heavenly Plate @ Applecross

An intriguing little French-chic cafe sits along Canning Highway in Applecross. Adjacent to this is a little homeware and florist shop. Both the cafe and the shop are owned by a friendly Indonesian couple who’s primary purpose, I would say, is to introduce Perth to a different kind of vegetarian and vegan dining experience.

The cafe is homely decorated with cream and pastel blue adorned with chandeliers and chairs that you would typically find in a European garden setting. There are plenty of pillow cushions on the couch too and, for a good second, I swear I could drift into a deep sleep (not that this was a bad thing) with 90′s music softly playing in the background.

I’m not quite sure what I was to expect with this cafe. Decor looks French but the menu looks Asian. I can only deduce that this is a fusion restaurant at best.

Mind you, even though they have things like “fish”, “burger” and “chicken”, Heavenly Plate serves purely vegetarian (and some vegan) food. This means that the “meat” is made from a variety of soy products or products other than animals.  They have different textures and flavours close enough to taste like real meat. It was really hard to choose what to order since everything on the menu looked interesting yet weird all at the same time.

For starters, the mango bruschetta caught my eye so I convinced K to share it with me. Not a bad choice, I must say. This was one of the best things I have ever put into my mouth with a burst of flavours waking up all my taste buds. It had tomatoes, mangoes, mint leaf sprigs and parmesan cheese with a very tasty and tangy dressing atop a slice of bread (that is to die for) finished off with balsamic vinegar reduction. I can’t quite make out what the bread is; it was crusty on the outside and also deceivingly crusty inside but it’s actually soft to the bite with a crunch. It’s definitely not like the sourdough or Italian bread you usually get from other restaurants. I wouldn’t mind coming here just to eat this mango bruschetta.

Now for mains, I had the Japanese burger with wedges. This is, apparently, one of their most popular items. My burger had Japanese rice as the buns and inside it had a teriyaki “steak”, lettuce, tomatoes, pickle, tomato sauce and mayo. For someone who’s on  a diet this was carbs overload. The “buns” were really filling given that the rice was firmly packed so they could hold their shape. The teriyaki “steak” was very steak-like and taste was spot on. The “meat” wasn’t the doughy kind; it’s made in such a way that when you slice it you get to see strands of “meat”. The only complaint was that there was a bit too much mayo.

K had the spaghetti with Thai green curry sauce, veggies and “seafood”. The flavours of the curry were very pungent. A bit too strong for my liking but otherwise good. According to my dining buddy, she said that it was something different and she couldn’t decide yet whether she liked the food or not. Note that she actually said that she does not like fusion food because it is confusing. She’s more of the authentic food type of eater like Chinese food should taste Chinese, French food cooked the French way.

We finished off the night with some sweets. I am really not supposed to be eating sweets but I had to save room for dessert because the words “homemade cakes” made me want to try their cakes so badly. Again, cakes are mostly vegan friendly. The owner said one of his favourites is the berry cheesecake but we opted for the peach upside down cake. The cake was not spongy, mostly moist and dense and not too sweet. Actually, there was only a hint of sweetness. This was decorated with cinnamon.

And finally, drinks. For a small cafe, Heavenly Plate has quite an extensive drinks menu - not the alcoholic kind but rather teas, coffees, smoothies, milkshakes..etc. Choices are very diverse but it was their hot chocolate range that intrigued me.

So much to choose from I don’t know where to start. Well I finally chose the tiramisu chocolate after a bout of eenie-meenie-miney-mo. I was half expecting a Koko Black-like hot chocolate that is tiramisu flavoured but I was in for a big surprise. It’s not Belgian hot chocolate nor is it Spanish hot chocolate. Rather, it’s Italian hot chocolate I was told. The cafe uses Fraus hot chocolate. The drink was thick and sticky. It’s not the same kind of thickness as Spanish hot chocolate and the sitckiness is like a melted mochi kind of sticky. K was quickly turned off by it because the texture was really strange but I pressed on to finish it and after a few bites (yes, bites because sipping it would be too weird) it did not taste so strange anymore. There was definitely that hint of tiramisu taste but it wasn’t like dark chocolate rich rich. Perhaps I’d go for the smoothies next time.

Heavenly Plate is defintely a place to try if you’re looking for that something different. This is where vegetarianism and veganism go beyond steamed veggies and salads. Although service is quite slow (food takes a while to be served even though the cafe is small) I’d give kudos to the owners for their hospitality. They are happy to entertain and answer questions about their food from vego noobs like me and K.

My rating: 6.5/10
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