Serotonin Dealer

Happy days: The 'dreamy porridge'.
Happy days: The 'dreamy porridge'. Photo: Craig Sillitoe

52 Madden Grove Burnley, Victoria 3121

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Opening hours Wed-Fri 7am-3pm; Sat-Sun 7am-3pm
Features Outdoor seating, Gluten-free options, Vegetarian friendly
Prices Moderate (mains $20-$40)
Payments Mastercard, Visa, eftpos
Phone 03 9428 8256

It's not just a cafe. Serotonin Dealer is a "happiness educational institution" with a three-pronged attack on blah. There is the eatery with its colourful, health-focused vegetarian food. There is exercise: trainers in the adjacent studio would love the opportunity to turn your body into a toned temple. And coming soon, there will be seminars offering tools to smooth the path to happiness.

You can't knock the project, especially when the cafe is so bright and shiny, with exuberant yellow flowers, sunny cushions, la-la-land swing seats along one window and gleaming gold cutlery. The waiters are similarly beaming. You'll think I'm making it up but, while I was there, the sun refracted through the windows and covered everyone in rainbows. Karma, hey?

The menu is based on the purported healing and happy-making properties of eating well. If you're avoiding gluten or garlic or general grossness, there are plenty of dishes to suit. Ingredients keep it real and are mostly organic though not avowedly seasonal or local. Think zucchini linguine, the requisite ancient grains, a chilli avocado smash and "smiling pizza".

Serotonin Dealer is bright and shiny with cheery yellow accents.
Serotonin Dealer is bright and shiny with cheery yellow accents. Photo: Craig Sillitoe

The big breakfast comes with fried or poached eggs, dark rye toast, spinach, roasted tomatoes, mushrooms and beetroot relish. It's nice but I was looking around for salt and butter which probably says as much about my bludgeoned palate as the clean eating approach here.

Same deal with the lunchy "nutrition bomb", a big bowl piled with kale, broccoli, roasted vegetables, "powerkraut" and poached egg. My biorhythms probably said  "yay" but my taste buds didn't swoon.

For drinks, frothy nut-milk drinks include a winning "golden latte" with turmeric, ginger and pepper, and smoothies have major superfood cred.

The 'nutrition bomb' includes 'powerkraut'.
The 'nutrition bomb' includes 'powerkraut'. Photo: Wayne Taylor

I like Serotonin Dealer. The aim is true, the space is upbeat and, when the food is as zoomy as the people eating it, please deal me in.

Rating: Three and a half stars (out of five)