Dural blocks are big. While still located inside the Sydney metropolitan area, the suburb has managed to keep a semi-rural feel, and with it, an increased sense of space. Picturing this in my head, I’m surprised to find Google Maps directing us into a soulless mixed industrial park for our breakfast. Rolling down the windows drowns the vehicle in saturated fats emanating from the centre’s KFC. Hills Organics sits on the sunnier side of the complex, with its windows drinking in the morning sun.
“We’re all about the good fats here,” our waitress laughs when I express my surprise, before going on to explain what MCT oil is. It means medium-chain triglycerides and it is a saturated fatty acid that apparently helps your brain, which is why they stick it in their Bullett Coffee ($5) alongside grass-fed butter. It sounds a bit hardcore for my first drink of the day.
My question should clue you in that I am a little out of place here. There’s also the fact that nearly everyone else is wearing active wear - boot camp training hoodies and Adidas shoes abound.
And don't even get me started about the overhead collection of wellness books written by mostly by blonde, long-haired women, topped off with two tomes from the scientifically disparaged, medically unqualified, paleo-proponent, Pete Evans.
The only news here is Limited – Hills Organics only provide the Daily Telegraph & the Weekend Australian as free reading matter for their weekend diners. There’s also an AstroTurf kids play area in the sunny front window, and a health food store in the rear.
After placing my order, I take a wander though the well-stocked aisles, and am impressed with the range. For the omnivores there’s organic bone broth in either chicken or beef sourced from Byron Bay, and for the vegans there are three different types of almond milk to choose from.
Drinks lure me back to the table. Iced Coffee ($8) makes use of their Cocowhip machine. It pumps out a frothy cloud of coconut water, organic bio-fermented coconut powder and vegetable sourced stabilisers that make it vegan, gluten and dairy free with some bonus probiotics chucked in. In the drink it sits on top of a robust coffee blend from White Horse Coffee, coconut ice cream, whatever milk your heart desires (we chose cow) and ice, under a dusting of cocoa nibs. It isn’t bad, though I prefer my barely sweet, on-tap Oh Mojito Kombucha ($7) in lime and mint. Check out the on-counter pumps for their current flavours.
From the all-day breakfast menu, we opt for The Big Healthy Brekky ($22). It’s a fully loaded and well-presented plate that carries everything from scrambled eggs to fresh baby spinach and cherry tomatoes. While I’m reasonably sure cavemen didn’t make sausages, I did enjoy the super-lean ‘grass-fed paleo sausage’. The plate’s other highlight for me was the organic marinated black beans – they were one of the best black bean renditions I’ve tried. The mushrooms were very well handled, and I didn’t even mind the healthier touches like sprouts, shoots, smashed avocado and 'cashew cheese’.
Which is kind of lucky, because you’ll also find more of the sprouts, shoots, smashed avocado and the 'cashew cheese’ on the Smashed Avo Sensation ($17). Produce quality is high across both plates; especially the chalky goats cheese feta, and they've gone the extra mile with presentation. With less ingredients, this dish gives up more flavour from the vivid yellow turmeric sauce that encircled both plates.
Lunch menu items, like the Soul Love Burger ($20), also riff off the same ingredients. While I liked the thick organic lentil, sweet potato and quinoa patty, and thought it worked well against avocado, turmeric sauce and ‘smoky cashew cheese’, the in-house gluten-free buns were for me a fail. The bottom went soggy immediately, making it a knife and fork burger. I lifted off the top bun too, and it didn't compel me to return to it. The side salad however was terrific, particularly the crunchy Indian-inspired toppings.
While I wouldn’t say I’m now a health and wellbeing convert, I can certainly see the appeal of Hills Organics. If I was local, I’d shop here, and I’d definitely rather anyone ate here over eating the rubbish put out by the neighbouring McDonalds and KFC.
Shop 12, 286-288 New Line Road, Dural
Ph: (02) 9651 1078