Vegetables were the first superfoods I was ever introduced to back in the 1970s while still a little tacker. Mother would always tell me to eat them; it didn’t seem to matter what they were but there was always a promise that they would do wonders for me – the secret to a long life… Then a short while later there were fresh fruit campaigns galore – fruit was now THE superfood. Then in my late teenage years it was trendy to eat healthy salads; voila! all of a sudden salad foods were superfoods. Then things started to get really interesting.
No longer was it food group – per se – that were considered superfoods, but anything with anti-oxidants to chase away the free radicals and built up toxins… and certain foods were deemed to have all these magical properties: Goji berries, black tea, green tea, white tea, fish rich in Omega-3 oils, then Omega 6 – and the ubiquitous kale. Even nuts were meant to be good for you. My my, how times change.
But what if you mix all these superfoods-from-the-ages together… would that make it the ultimate in superfood consumption…?
That very scenario presented itself to me as I visited Six Tanks Brewing Co. for lunch recently. Located in the middle of the nightclub strip in the Darwin CBD, the cafe / restaurant / boutique brewery not only offers some mouth watering menu items, but also a range of its own craft beers.
Walking in off the street you are faced with a huge cold and breezy void which acts as the main dining area. Beyond the TV’s and other brewing paraphenalia on the walls there is an upper seating area further back in the building, and a small outside alfresco kerbside eating area. My hand notes referred to it at the time as ‘looking very steampunk’. All up there is probably room for up to 120 – 140 guests at any time – seated. To one side of the dining area is the main counter which also acts as a bit of a bar, adjacent to a number of large stainless steel vats (the six tanks..?).
I wandered in at the end of the usual lunch rush and found the kitchen still open – long after other cafes in the area had shut down their service. I can’t say that the staff were particularly friendly, apart from one who was willing to offer table service and take my order. There is no indication whether table service is standard, or whether it operates as a typical pay-before-eating cafe.
The menu is largely made up of typical cafe items, with a lot of choice. Salads, pizzas, share dishes, steaks, etc… The pricing seemed reasonable for a place such as this; for such a set up and atmosphere and ‘vibe’, you would expect to pay a little more than other cafes. Not wanting a particularly heavy meal I settled on the curiously named Mixed Greens and Kale. This seemed like a straightforward salad, on first glance, but after reading it again I got the impression this was going to be more than met my eyes.
Despite being the only table in service at the time, and a couple of chaps drinking at the bar, I thought that the meal took an extraordinarily long time to arrive. When it did arrive, it simply took my breath away – colourful, textural, and well laid out, this was one outstanding looking dish!
True to the menu, soft creamy goats chees and sweet pickled onions were tossed through a medley of green leaves, featuring our current superfoods – kale. This was a large bowl! The tangy apple matchsticks were a welcomed crunch and lifted the dish. I struggled to find any of their house made dressing in the salad…
And then I hit the candied pecans, like stumbling across gold nuggets in the dirt. Toffee encrusted roasted pecans in the salad also seemed a little out of place. There was already crunchy apple and sweet pickled onion – so why the pecans in toffee?
And more pecans. and more… and even more!!!! My goodness, after I moved aside the greenery there was half a bowl full of toffee pecans. At the end of the meal my jaw literally ached after crunching away on hard toffee for so long. It was simply a matter of proportions. Sure they were nice, and I understand the humorous and playful dimension of the nuts, but a third (or even a quarter) of the amount would have satisfied!
A rather different take on a salad that took me by surprise. Light, tangy, healthy and delicious. Mind the nuts. This is obviously their take on a signature dish.
At the end of the day this was not only a value meal that needed some refining, but also a great reminder (or a nostalgic look) of the changing attitudes to superfoods over the decades.
Apart from the goji berries, they were all there….