Time Out says
Mastic is what happens when a MasterChef takes the healthy road. But fear not: this is no grim cuisine of denial
UPDATE: Mastic will be re-locating in Mornington Peninsula in 2018.
The space next door to the Kew instalment of Hellenic Republic was originally slated to be a Greek dessert bar. But then George Calombaris saw the light, and shed 20 kilograms with a wholefoods diet big on pulses and grains and green leafy things. And thus the Greco-sweets were abandoned and Mastic was born.
It’s a likeable café, the name swirled on the red-brick wall in a decent imitation of a 1950s advertising slogan. There’s more than a touch of that decade guiding the design, from the communal ping-pong tables to the soda fountain feel of the high seats around the bar which give a birds’-eye view of the endless stream of kale and spinach smoothies being churned out. They’re good, too – a slight, health-giving whiff of eau-de-pond offset by the crunchy little nubs of chia seed. Coffee is a suitably nutty blend by Will and Co, with coconut or almond milk for the dairy-averse; fermented drinks cover the kombucha and kefir bases, and there’s a small selection of booze including the Mountain Goat organic ale.
Mastic could be seen as the yin to Jimmy Grants’ yang – the Made Establishment’s all-conquering modern souva joints - but the two are not mutually exclusive. That super-popular superfood, quinoa, gives a gritty shove to good old felafel, served up on the same puffy souva bread that makes Jimmy Grants so damn good. Pickled beetroot and tahini yoghurt come along for the ride. Kim chi scrambled eggs are precisely that, the ubiquitous fermented cabbage giving wholesome crunch to the soft eggy peaks on toasted sourdough. Beetroot cured ocean trout on a wholemeal koulouri (think: Greek bagel) has a great, semi-sticky texture. Like plenty of things on the Mastic menu it comes with poached eggs; smoked yoghurt gives a lick of sophistication as it jumps the brunch divide.
There’s plenty of edible righteousness on display. Chia pudding! Buckwheat porridge! Zoodles! (FYI: zucchini noodles, the gluten-free green answer to pasta). Sound too right-on? The Mastic menu pulls a surprising amount of punch from its wholefood repertoire. And it’s not all vego or vegan, either, with things like the bunless burger giving the man meat but taking away his carbs. Give and take – yep, that’s what it’s all about.