In search of life satisfaction, well-being at Pistachio Cafe
A short ride on the Flying Dolphin Ferry will take you from the Greek port of Piraeus to the island of Aegina, said to grow the best pistachios in the world.
More expensive than other nuts, the pistachio is bright green, tinged with purple, and has a sweet, exotic flavour.
Pistachio-flavoured ice cream and French macarons are often a vivid dark green, but the decor at Pistachio Cafe and Restaurant in Sam Levy’s Village in Borrowdale is a delicately muted shade of green.
Whether I’m visiting my Internet Service Provider, the bank or the supermarket, my route always takes me past Pistachio, and I can’t help casting envious glances at contented-looking patrons, comfortably seated and sipping long drinks, while the general populace, engaged in menial tasks, scurries past.
Last week the tables were turned; I made an advance booking, and George and I arrived for lunch on the verandah at Pistachio.
Open Monday to Saturday at 7.30 am, but never on Sundays, Pistachio offers interesting options for breakfast, such as Magic Mushrooms onCiabatta, and Mexican burritos, with scrambled egg, corn, salsa, beans and feta.
Lunch time choices include attractively presented wraps, toasties, burgers and Vietnamese rolls, served with chips and salad.
If you’ve taken on the annual Veganuary challenge and are not eating any animal products for the month of January, you can opt for a lunch of vegan Black Bean and Zucchini Bunless Burger with chips, a roasted vegetable wrap, or a teriyaki salmon bowl.
An important element missing from an otherwise appealing menu were the prices.
Price is always a consideration when choosing a dish from a menu, and while our waiter insisted he could provide the information for every item listed, it seemed too laboursome to put him to the test.
So I took the plunge, and ordered an Abundance Salad Bowl with roasted farm vegetables, avocado, seeds and nuts, on micro sprouts and lettuce ($15). While awaiting the arrival of this ultra-healthy Mediterranean-style creation of vegetable and fibre, I sipped on Immune Me, a cocktail of pineapple, carrot, orange and ginger juices ($4). Based on recent research in Australian universities, a higher fruit and vegetable intake can bring increased happiness, life satisfaction and well-being.
Not only would one feel energised and ready to take on the world the day after eating a breakfast of pawpaw and bananas, and a lunch of peanut butter rice and okra, but foundations would be laid for health benefits in later years. The high hopes I had for Pistachio’s Abundance Salad Bowl were never realised.
The ‘farm vegetables’ were over cooked and heavily seasoned with a flavour at odds with the concept of a fresh, crisp salad bowl. While the promised micro greens were few and far between, the preponderance of lettuce leaves would have been a challenge for even the hungriest of hamsters.
A clumsily-executed avocado rose made with rolled slices of avocado, placed on top of the salad, looked like a distraction, failing to tie in with the other elements in the bowl. A shooter glass of Green Goddess dressing failed to improve the salad, a reminder that vegetable intake does not guarantee happiness and life satisfaction.
Great attention is paid to detail at Pistachio. Glassware and crockery are attractive, and paper napkins are substantial.
Alongside my salad bowl was a small arrangement of tiny rose buds, lettuce leaves and spring onions, artfully encircled by cucumber ribbons.
To be eaten, or simply admired? Most roses buds are said to be edible, but having abandoned my salad and its decorations, I staved off hunger pains by sharing George’s fried chips.
The generously-stuffed chicken and halloumi wrap, served with salad and chips ($13), was moderately well-received by George, who awarded the dish six stars out of ten. Apart from the attractive decor and pale green newly-planted flower pots at Pistachio, there was little reference to the highly-prized pistachio nut that flourishes on the island of Aegina.
A quick glance at the glass display case inside revealed a variety of cakes, but nowhere was there a flash of the exotic green and purple of these super healthy nuts, popular in so many dishes. Although the Abundance Salad Bowl failed to hit the spot, I’ll be on the lookout for great vegan dishes, especially the ones that bring life satisfaction and a sense of well-being.