Raw Trader

Jane Holroyd
'Super-charged' granola served with house-made almond milk on the side.
'Super-charged' granola served with house-made almond milk on the side. Photo: Anu Kumar/Getty Images

10 Sutherland Street Melbourne, Victoria 3000

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Opening hours Tues-Thurs 7.30am-8.30pm; Fri 7.30am-10pm; Sat 10am-10pm; Sun 10am-4pm
Features Gluten-free options, Vegetarian friendly
Prices Cheap (mains under $20)
Chef Emily Samyue
Phone 0478 692 008

Get rid of dairy, wheat, eggs, meat, processed sugar and grains and where does that leave you? If you're thinking "hungry", you're wrong. If you were correct, Emily Samyue would be broke by now. Samyue is the owner and cook at Raw Trader, as far as we know the CBD's first cafe specialising in uncooked, organic, vegan, sugar-free, gluten-free and dairy-free fare.

The business, tucked away in a laneway off Little Lonsdale, just up the hill from Elizabeth Street, has been steadily increasing its custom since opening at the end of July. While it's drawing those with dietary intolerances there are also a lot of city workers popping in because they're curious.

Samyue, who has a background in food science and previously worked for multinationals including Coca Cola, says she became drawn to raw and vegan food because of its simplicity.

Inside Raw Trader cafe.
Inside Raw Trader cafe. Photo: Anu Kumar/Getty Images

"If you walk into the bakery section at a supermarket, all the products list many, many ingredients. If I look at what I produce there's no more thanĀ  seven to 10 ingredients in any one recipe; it's going back to whole and basic food."

Raw Trader is a cafe crossed with a dessert bar. Samyue does not do savoury; there are a few breakfast offerings, but it's mainly about sweet treats and coffee.

For breakfast there are two styles of raw granola, a fruity chia seed pudding topped with shredded coconut and nuts and a dense protein bar ($6) - good for those who need to eat on the run.

Chia pudding topped with shredded coconut and nuts.
Chia pudding topped with shredded coconut and nuts. Photo: Anu Kumar/Getty Images

The granolas are a crunchy satisfying mix of buckwheat, chia seeds, organic dried fruit, nuts, seeds and coconut oil - with coconut nectar for sweetening. The "super-charged" version includes maca powder, organic goji berries, blueberries and inca berries. They come served with a little bottle of Samyue's own blend of almond milk, sweetened slightly with dates.

Almond milk features in much of Raw Trader's menu. Samyue makes it twice weekly and is currently producing 100 litres per week. It's available to take away in 250ml ($2.50) or one litre ($7.50) bottles.

It lends a sweetness to the Fairtrade house blend coffee supplied by Port Melbourne's Red Star Roaster, but for those not going nutty there's also soy milk or dairy, plus a range of herbal teas, hot chocolate and organic juices and smoothies ($8.50-$9.50) - promising everything from immunity to improved complexion.

While Samyue does nearly all the cooking herself (with a bit of help from her mum and sister), staff need to be well-versed, because there's a lot of questions fired at them about how Raw Trader's many "guilt-free" goodies ($4 - $10) are made.

Samyue does a range of slices including caramel, cherry, choc-orange and choc-peppermint and the at the more complicated end, a chocolate banana "cream" cake and deconstructed lime mousse tart.

"It's very creative because you are trying to use very simple ingredients to replicate traditional, often very complex desserts."

Samyue follows a gluten-free diet but is not strictly raw or vegan. She believes everything can be enjoyed in moderation and for that you need variety. "People deserve choice and all I do is offer people a different choice from what is out there."