Soul Kitchen on the Beach- Banana Bread and Prawn Salad

The peloton of cyclists came and went, and Michael, the owner of the newly minted Soul Kitchen on the Beach, is still on the grind. He's been at it since 6:00am fueling weekend bicyclists with coffee and there's no slack in his brilliant blue eyes. The scene outside Soul Kitchen on the Beach is akin to Critical Mass, and the crowd would continue to swell and diversify to include St. Kilda's beachcombers throughout the day.

The sand-colored building on Marine Parade was home to Cafe Racer, the biggest cyclist cafe in Victoria. It was the most frequented stop by cyclists riding along the bay. Some would even say it was the destination.

Michael, who was the manager at Cafe Racer for twelve years, took up the head-honcho post last year and continues the locale's legacy today. Number 15 Marine Parade is now known as Soul Kitchen on the Beach, the newest addition to Michael Ibrahim's Soul Kitchen brand.

Blackboard special of the week: Prawn Salad. Gluten-free and Dairy-free. 

Soul Kitchen. You know the brand well, I am sure.

Soul Kitchen is best known for being the first food truck of its kind in Melbourne- a customized truck with a wood-fired oven operating at 400C degrees to make Napolitana-style pizzas. Their gourmet pizza on wheels can be found outside the Arts Centre, as well as mobile coffee vans at festivals and sporting events. 

The cafe, Soul Kitchen on the Beach, is the grounded counterpart of Michael's omnipresent mobile food trucks. Coffee is the same great formula featured in their coffee trucks; a custom Soul Kitchen Blend. From there though, the cafe offerings distinguish itself from the pizza truck. 

Banana Bread on gluten-free toast with Maple Syrup. Gluten-free and Dairy-free. 

The cafe's menu is a combination of classic breakfasts and casual beach eats, such as salads and hamburgers. "We're not trying to be at Heston's level," Michael jokes. "We have good, fresh, well presented food and an interactive space," he adds. That would be a humble summation of the yummy food coming out of the kitchen.

While Soul Kitchen does not specialize in gluten-free food, dishes can be catered for food intolerance. Gluten-free bread by FreeFrom can be subbed for sandwiches and eggs-and-toast type food. Gluten-free snacks include granola bars, Emma & Tom raw life bars and Whoopies Cookies flourless range.

The space, you'll notice, is half cafe and half art gallery. Paintings and mixed-media art works by Melbournian Artist, Eleni, depicting tribal and Native American subjects adorn the walls. The effect is colorful and engaging; the feed for conversations going around.

With upbeat world music to throwback funk bouncing off Eleni's canvases, the vibe of the cafe can be described as expressive and, yet, relaxed; an extension of the easy-going and vibrant personality of Michael and Eleni. "It's the balance of the whole lot coming together: food, service and the experience of being here," says Michael.

As the saying goes, "Surround yourself with positive people." At Soul Kitchen on the Beach, you will certainly get a good dose of positivity from doing that.

Soul Kitchen is located at 15 Marine Parade, St. Kilda, Melbourne.

Soul Kitchen On The Beach Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato</ Their website:
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Want more of Eleni? Visit her at: Eleni Gallery