The Freedom Hub looks like you’ve happened into someone’s hip wedding reception. Set amidst concrete office cubes on a featureless Waterloo street, this light-filled, airy warehouse is a resplendent white oasis that looks ready to host a special celebration at a moment's notice. Thousands of fairy lights hang aloft and clusters of dried flowers are sprinkled throughout from floor to ceiling. Ivory white French lounges give the industrial interiors a dose of swank. It's all so pretty that it's only when the friendly barista asks you what you're having today that you realise that this isn't someone's private party, and that you're more than welcome to come inside. It might be all dressed up, but there are plenty of armchairs and French sofas for lounging, long picnic-style tables for big crowds, and a white teepee for the little ones.
The menu is broad in scope. Tradies pop in for a bacon, egg, and haloumi roll; active-wearers order acai and granola bowls. There’s a big brekky and corn fritters, made with little flourishes like house chutney, or lemon and tahini dressing. The avocado fancy is an old favourite fancied up with quinoa, tomato salsa, mint, goat’s cheese, and a tangy balsamic glaze.
With an emphasis on fresh and healthy, you'll leave this place feeling cared for and good inside. But that’s nothing on the good karma boost you get from knowing that your meal helped to pave the way for somebody else's freedom. Modern slavery is a pressing issue with an estimated 4,300 people living in conditions of slavery in Australia. The Freedom Hub is committed to ending it. One-hundred percent of the café’s profits directly support The Survivor School, a safe-house that provides long-term support for survivors of human slavery in overcoming trauma and becoming 'life-ready'. Each time you dine at the cafe, you could be helping to pay for a survivor's TAFE course, or the Opal Card that they badly need to attend classes; or it could be power, linen, and other day-to-day needs.
After all that talk of weddings, the good news is you actually can have your special occasion there: the venue is available for hire, and they have a range of ethical and cruelty-free suppliers on the books, from caterers to florists and photographers.