Little Big Sugar Salt is a small cafe in Abbotsford, a fish out of water in amongst Vietnamese dominated Victoria Street.
It hides in a corner building and feels like someone’s house, with three small white-washed rooms with artworks, books in the fireplaces and felt cushioned shipping pallets as bench seating.
Now it stands out even more as its revamped approach delivers interesting, healthy and one could even say somewhat faddish elements into its cafe menu. The reason for their change of heart? They say ‘rather than serving you buttery, gluteny, rich meals…our new menu focuses as much on health as it does on flavour.’
Speaking of which, the pun-tastic menu is like a wheel of fortune. Basically you pick a quadrant to choose food of a small size, a big meal, something sweet or something savoury. I like the idea and I get the reason for the circular format but to be honest it was difficult to negotiate with my sleep-addled brain.
I was invited to try out their new menu and after turning that card around and around in my hands we finally landed on Freekakes ($17) and Guilt-free Hot Mess ($17) along with some spiced kombucha and house-made almond milk.
The drinks were both delicious over ice – in fact, the almond milk was almost like a peanut butter milkshake! It’s not normally on the drinks menu but ask for it if you like nutty milk.
The freekakes consisted of four freekeh, sweet potato and currant fritters with cashew cream, chilli jam, wilted kale and two fried eggs. While visually it didn’t look fantastic it was a taste sensation, particularly with the chilli jam lifting the flavours beyond the potentially bland.
In contrast, the Guilt-free Hot Mess (for your Gluten-free Girlfriend was the subtitle) looked gorgeous but did not deliver in terms of texture. The tower of mini gluten-free almond pancakes were much too dry and crumbly, almost like eating baked cottage cheese.
I had a chat to the manager about the pancakes and he explained that they were still experimenting with using gluten-free ingredients to make just-like-gluten fluffy pancakes, so I hope they advance beyond almond meal. The accompaniments were great – coconut dairy-free ice cream, a pool of berry compote and sugar-free date syrup finished off with a pretty perimeter of fresh tropical fruit.
As a final test of their ‘sweet’ side we tried the full-of-gluten-and-dairy crumpets ($10). There’s a rotating roster of flavours and on our visit there was honey with roasted banana and a gorgeous plum marmalade that I could have eaten by the jar.
Little Big Sugar Salt is a worthwhile destination for food that’s virtuous and delicious. With a couple of tweaks in the kitchen (and please, all menu text written in one direction!) it could be a real winner, especially for those who have food intolerances.