A great healthy meal for You and I

Youeni Inside ShelfI need to be honest. The first time I tried the food at Youeni I thought it tasted far too delicious to be healthy. But I think that’s the point, with a philosophy of ‘Eat Well, Live Whole, Enjoy Life’ they aim to get people thinking about where their food comes from, and if they want to encourage a healthier lifestyle, it has to be appealing. And to that end, they certainly succeed, with food so fresh that their full flavours burst with every mouthful, and the clever combination of ingredients makes you believe that healthy food can actually taste amazing.

Pronounced ‘You en I’ (a take on ‘You and I’), the Castle Hill store opened in January 2013 on the bustling corner of Cecil Avenue and Old Northern Road, after previous success with two other stores in Darlinghurst and Surry Hills. The busy location can make it initially hard to locate parking, but there is actually plenty of free parking underneath Dan Murphy’s next door which can be accessed from Cecil Avenue or Barwell Avenue. Inside you’ll find what can be best described as an industrialised fresh food market feel with smiling wait staff and barristers, ready to find you a table and take your order at the counter.

Don't leave without trying something from the dessert counterOwner Chris Starke trained as a chef whilst still only a teenager, and after working in restaurants like Banc and Marque, founded the Youeni concept in his early 20s. His focus is on quality ingredients and sustainable food with meat served minimally on the menu, as it is viewed as an accompaniment to a meal filled with herbs and vegetables. Portion sizes are created to leave you satisfied and refreshed rather than over-full, and much of the menu is made in-house.

Their menu highlights ‘Vegan Friendly’ options and states, “This menu has been specifically designed around enhancing your health
by offering well thought-out, nutritional, healthy meals. We have food options which cover most dietary needs and much of what we use is a mix of organic and conventional products without forgetting the carnivores
.”

Items from the Vegan menu include All Day Breakfast like Baked Mushrooms with roasted tomato, relish, kale, roasted garlic, seeds nuts and sprouts; Toasted Museli of nuts, seeds, apple, vanilla coconut yoghurt and stewed rhubarb; or the Village Salad of grated carrot, beetroot, mung beans, alfalfa, turmeric chickpeas, split peas, chia, flaxseed, currents, quinoa, rocket, greens, radish, broccoli, activated nuts, lemon, and mixed herbs. My absolute favourite however is the Buckwheat Pancake with vanilla bean spiced cashew ricotta, fresh berries, stewed fruits and Canadian maple syrup. Every delicious bite leaves you discovering a new flavour or texture – from the spices in the ricotta to the sprinkling of seeds, and the maple syrup is served on the side to add as needed. These would be close to the best pancakes I’ve ever tried because they are crispy, sweet, fruity and tasty but don’t leave you feeling bloated afterwards.

Youeni Eggs with a side of Bacon

Eggs on toast are offered either poached or scrambled and you’re encouraged to include additions of bacon, salmon or avocado if you’d like. The eggs are cooked with the yokes only slightly running and the bacon tastes like it came directly from the farm. The last time I remember bacon tasting that good – I was a little girl!

Being the active carnivore that I am, I can highly recommend the Roasted Lamb Sandwich. A completely satisfying meal of lamb roasted for over 5 hours, with slivers of roast potato, and tzatziki coated rocket all layered on five-grain sourdough. An absolute delight in every bite!

lamb roasted for over 5 hours, with slivers of roast potato, and tzatziki coated rocket all layered on five-grain sourdough

No use of refined sugarThe coffee is excellent, but I have to recommend trying the Chocolate Smoothie. Blending raw chocolate, banana, cashews, dates and almond milk, my chocoholic senses were ignited by this divine beverage. Although the texture is unusual, slightly thin with remnants of nuts and dates, the flavour is power packed rich with chocolate and not overly sweet.

Fresh juices are also available along with Cold Brew coffee, a wide range of teas and a small range of alcoholic beverages.

I confess that I find it hard to leave without taking home something
from the dessert counter – usually the chocolate brownie which again satisfies my chocolate cravings without being too sweet.

With a lovely ambience, friendly and helpful staff and deliciously unique healthy food, Youeni is a great place to meet up with friend for breakfast or lunch.

Youeni
2/250-254 Old Northern Road
Castle Hill NSW 2154
P: 9680 8885
E: castlehill@youeni.com
W: www.youenifoodstore.com
Open: Monday to Sunday 7:30 am – 5:00 pm (kitchen closes 3:30pm)