You’re lucky to catch Tenzin Butt and his partner Emily King, they haven’t really stopped for a breath since they opened Boneless Vegetarian Café in Bermagui on March 20.
Their eatery is a bright and colourful space where the old Corky’s stood, high on the main street looking over the beautiful sapphire sea towards Guluga mountain.
I couldn’t believe my eyes when I perused the menu to find a vegan Tex-Mex Chilli Dog with all the trimmings and didn’t it turn out to be the prettiest looking plate of deliciousness!? Crunchy corn chips with salsa garnish alongside a substantial hot dog roll, with a good-looking vegan-dog, adorned with a mountain of jalapenos and pico di gallo, mustards, and micro-herbs.
My friend and co-diner was busy tucking into a vegan version of the Japanese pancake Okonomiyaki, made with gluten-free besan flour, mushrooms, and cabbage, topped with hoysin mayo and a tickle of green onion and nori. I had a dose of food envy after he shared some with me.
Filling, tasty, and good value, our meals were well presented with obvious attention to detail.
We sat up at the front bar overlooking the bay, chatting to passers-by, people from other tables asking if I’d like to photograph their meals. Everyone seems impressed by the obvious acumen of this young couple’s venture.
There is a Mexican/Aztec feel to the interior fit-out, with a great feature mural by Emily and Tenzin’s friend David Cragg from Wollongong. Colourful birds and cactus adorn the walls, and geometric fabrics soften the banquette seating, but then their Grandmother’s good green dining chairs and mismatched 60s crockery. It’s eclectic and fun.
Tenzin grew up in Central Tilba and always wanted to live in Bermagui, whilst travelling in Canada he met his soul mate Emily from Sydney’s Northern Beaches. Together they undertook schooling at the legendary Veet’s Cuisine Cooking School at Mullumbimby in 2016. After completing the course they worked with Veet’s catering business for health retreats around Byron Bay. Emily also taught cookery sessions with the Veet’s Cooking School.
“We then started our own catering business up on the Gold Coast and cooking home meals for clients,” says Emily, “but we’ve always dreamt of having our own cafe. Last year was when we decided to really go for it.”
Now they are here living the dream in Bermi, serving up the good stuff. Emily in the kitchen creating healthy and tasty meals, Tenzin out the front, looking after staff and customers.
“We really wanted to find a space in Bermi, down here really feels like home for us.”
One of the main features of their great menu is the clever ‘Healthy Hemp Hub’.
Loads of hemp smoothies (and a few hemp products) are available, all designed to utilise the nutritious, healing power of hemp seeds, oils, and protein. A Pinacolada Hemp Smoothie or Peanut Buttercup perhaps?
“Using hemp totally aligns with our values. We strongly believe that the world would be a better place if hemp was more available and utilised. It is the most incredible plant!”
It’s not all vegan at Boneless, the award-winning Meredith goat cheese makes an appearance, and real eggs for breakfast, but they just enhance a fundamentally vegetarian and vegan menu. And they serve Redbrick Coffee from Canberra.
“We love the challenge of creating full flavoured, wholesome vegetarian food, something even the keenest of meat eaters will enjoy,” Emily says.
“We love to support local businesses which includes local produce and ethically sourced coffee.
“We also compost all of our green waste and take whatever steps we can to be ethical in all aspects of our business.”
And now a word of warning: do not order the Boneless Snickers Bar, unless you don’t mind becoming addicted! These are the best I’ve had. There is a secret in the biscuit layer, the caramel is thick and rich, the chocolate thin and crunchy all topped with nutty pops… be very afraid!
Overall this young couple has hit the ground running – an excellent establishment serving simple food, done well. Another great addition to the blossoming Bermagui food scene.
Boneless Vegetarian Café
Breakfast 8 am – 11 pm, Lunch 11 pm – 2 pm, with an all-day menu and kids Menu.
Lamont Street, Bermagui, Open 8 am to 3 pm Tuesday to Sunday. Closed Mondays.
Editors note: Lisa Herbert dines at her own expense. Reviews are honest and not based on a commercial relationship.