Sarah started her working life as a mergers and acquisitions lawyer at a leading international law firm. When it became increasingly difficult for her to balance her demanding professional lifestyle with her focus on health and wellbeing and with her creative side, she moved her focus towards Matcha Maiden which she and her partner Nic started late last year as a side project. Having discovered matcha on several of their many overseas adventures, they were surprised to find Australia a little late to the matcha party and were unable to find a product that achieved the right balance between affordability and quality. So this match(a) made in heaven decided to start their own matcha mission and it’s been matcha madness since then! Outside of work, Sarah is a devout foodie known by loved ones as “the bottomless pit”. She and Nic are also helpless wanderlusters travelling the world at any opportunity and, of course, eating their way around every destination.
THE BEST WAY TO SPEND 24 HOURS IN MELBOURNE FOR THE WELLNESS MINDED TRAVELLER…
Anyone who has spent more than two minutes with me knows that I love food more than words can describe. I particularly adore going out for breakfast and start most of my days with a breakfast date – it’s just such a lovely way to set yourself up for a productive and energetic day and is a relatively small investment when compared to the joy it brings me. Because of my breakfast tendencies, there is absolutely no way I could choose just one place to recommend… But I do have several favourites – my life is an endless struggle between trying new and exciting things and being a creature of habit that sticks to the places that always deliver.
Since I have serious portion control issues, to counteract the sheer volume of what I eat I make increasingly healthy choices as I get older and busier with less time to exercise it all off. Luckily, there are so many places in Melbourne that combine “delicious” with “nutritious” and those tend to be my regulars. I would highly recommend the Nutrition Bomb at Serotonin Dealer, Melbourne’s happiness café, which is a delicious rainbow bowl of broccoli, alkalising greens, sprouts, roasted veggies, hummus and a poached egg. I also adore a superfood breakfast salad – Tall Timber’s Sautéed Kale, Asparagus & Green Beans with Poached Eggs and Barry’s Californian Superfood salad with tri-coloured quinoa, shredded kale, wild organic rice, charred corn, salted ricotta, black turtle beans, heirloom tomatoes, and lime are some of my favourites.
I am also a huge fan of sides (as many of my breakfast buddies will know), and I ADORE Palate’s paleo menu which allows you to build your own breakfast of ONLY sides with no space wasted on toast. The servings are huge and very health conscious – my favourite is chilli garlic prawns with roast mushrooms, pumpkin, asparagus and smashed avocado. Other wonderful healthy breakfast options that I frequent include Urban Projuice (Albert Park), LBSS Café (Richmond), Combi (Elwood), Touchwood (Richmond), Il Fornaio (St Kilda), Admiral Cheng Ho (Abbotsford), Monk Bodhi Dharma (Balaclava)… I could seriously go on forever!
I tend to be a double bruncher more than a luncher, so any of the above could also count as a favourite lunch spot. In fact, I often eat breakfast food for lunch anyway, since I love it so much and since Melbourne has so many wonderful options to offer. If I’m not doing the double brunch thang, I tend to make lunch at home – I’m a big fan of big substantial delicious salads or a simple protein + veg combo. I love seafood and roast veggies, so I eat a lot of both of those. If I’m on the run and want something healthy, quick and not too pricey, some Melbourne favourites are Thr1ve, Spudbar, Green Cup, Nutrition Bar, Feed Mee, anywhere Japanese (my favourite cuisine ever), or any DIY salad bar. When you’re eating alone, it’s often cheaper to buy out than to cook yourself! Ridiculous (but I’m not complaining – I love eating out!)
This is another serious toughie – I find dinner places are the hardest to shortlist because the options are so much broader than breakfast or lunch. Not only are there so many cuisines but also different levels of formality, size, ambiance, etc… I also tend to eat dinner at home more often than not, since I eat breakfast out so often… Oops! But there’s nothing I would rather invest in than nutrition!
In terms of casual healthy dining, my favourites for dinner would (again) be anywhere Japanese since it’s very easy to eat healthily or any other Asian cuisines – Vietnamese and Thai are also favourites of mine. Hanoi Hannah / Tokyo Tina / Saigon Sally are all delicious and include healthier options. I’m not vegan or vegetarian but occasionally enjoy eating at vegan / vegetarian places like Supercharger (Emporium) or Yong Green Food (Brunswick). If I’m in a rush, grilled fish and salad from Hooked or somewhere like that goes down well or, again, Spudbar / Feed Mee / Foxes Den for build your old salads or spuds.
Going up a level to the mid-range relatively-expensive-but-still-not-too-fancy places, my favourites are Coda, Chin Chin, Sake, Izakaya Den, Feast of Merit, and the like. There’s a much longer list, but not necessarily for the health conscious. Then of course, there’s super fine dining which is where at least in my books my #cleaneating goes out the window for the sake of the experience. Melbourne has so many once-in-a-lifetime incredible places that you have to indulge every now and then especially if you’re travelling – think Attica, Press Club, Vue de Monde, Brae – all absolutely divine! But budget-breakers so save those pennies!
Funnily enough, I’m not a huge sweet tooth – I much prefer savoury dishes to desserts. I know, I’m weird! But I love dense treats that aren’t overly sweet so healthier treats actually suit my palate better being free of refined sugars and artificial sweeteners (super convenient!) I love all the raw slices and treats from my dear friend Nutrition Darling available around Melbourne at various places. Pana Chocolate is super delicious whenever I randomly crave chocolate (but that’s not particularly often). I love Combi, Nutrition Bar, Street Organics and Fresh Organic Goods for bliss balls, slices, smoothies or other little snacksies. Or just hanging out in health food stores stocking up on almond butter to eat with a spoon! It’s my one addiction – I actually can’t control myself!
SHOPPING (FARMERS MARKETS/HEALTH FOOD STORES):
My FAVOURITE kind of shopping is food shopping. I’m not partial to any kind of shopping – uber healthy grassroots local store all the way through to massive commercial supermarkets, I love the whole food shopping experience no matter where it is. Farmers markets are a lot of fun especially because of all the little tasters, but they’re so early on Saturday mornings which is when we usually have tastings of our own for Matcha Maiden. Health food stores are bad news for me, as I always leave with far too much stuff that I don’t need. But it’s just SO much fun! Don’t let me go into a health food store without supervision!
ACTIVITIES (YOGA, EXERCISE, HIKING, WALKING, WORKSHOPS ECT):
I love yoga and visit quite a few different studios depending on where I am or how I feel. I love One Hot Yoga and One Hot Pilates especially their reformer classes – ohhhh the burn! I hit up Humming Puppy when I feel like a more rejuvenating experience because the studio is like going into a cocoon and hibernating to restore and refresh completely. I live very close to Happy Melon which has a wonderful range of classes and the Dynamic Fitness class strips me of my ability to walk for a few days – in a good way! Premium Performance in South Yarra is also a great one – if I feel like getting it all out and really sweating up a storm, their boxing or barre classes are amazing.
Melbourne also has so many beautiful places to just go for long walks from iconic trails like the 1000 steps or The Tan to just wandering along the beach or through suburbs. I love long walks and often walk as a means of transport choosing to leave the car at home (except in Winter – eugh!)
BEAUTY: (MASSAGES, FACIALS, SPAS):
I am a big fan of facials and massages – I don’t buy many clothes or other material things, I’m much more into experiences. And rewarding yourself for hard work with a little pampering every now and then does wonders for my stress levels and general wellbeing. I’ve been an Endota customer for a long time, they’re wonderful! I get facials probably every 6 weeks and massages every now and then. I also have been introduced to the world of mobile massage recently, which is WONDERFUL – I had no idea they existed! Some Matcha Maiden collaborations have opened up this wonderful world to us. I’d also highly recommend a short drive to Peninsula Springs or Daylesford for a pampering experience and some R&R for any visitors to Melbourne!