SAHA. In Arabic this four-letter word means ‘health,’ and what a truly healthy – in all senses of the word – café it is. Located just outside of the city, this all-day breakfast brunch and lunch spot caters to both your physical and mental health, providing balanced, salubrious and insta-worthy foods with a plentiful dose of familiarity and warmth.
Upon walking into the ‘flipped’ house, you will be greeted by the delightful Jina before offered a coffee made by her husband, and co-owner, Abs. The café’s layout is unique; an old-style family home transformed into a social eating place with each room offering a strikingly renewed and refined vibe.
We were lucky enough to be treated by the chef who had picked out a menu specifically for us! To be perfectly honest, I could have tried anything and would have left with the same feeling of contentedness and warmth.
To start the morning, we sampled some of their drinks. Now, I don’t normally reflect on beverages because they’re usually pretty similar in most cafés… Not here! We tried two smoothies; the Summer – apple, mango, pineapple, watermelon – and Green Aladdin – avocado, baby spinach, pineapple, apple, banana, lemon, mint – and loved them both. With such a wacky combination of fruits and veg, I thought that the Genie himself must have been in the building…
The Vegetarian is both vegan and gluten-free, comprising of delicately grilled broccolini, sautéed spinach and mushrooms, a generous scoop of avocado and feta topped with black sesame seeds, two delightfully crispy yet moist falafel, tahini sauce, the most colourful Lebanese pickles I have ever seen and Baba Ganoush, all served (usually) on rye toast. This is probably one of the healthiest Big Vegetarian Breakfasts I have been served and every element was cooked perfectly. Nothing to fault!
Up next was the Kibbe Salad. We decided to stick with the traditional Kibbe (casings of ground and crushed wheat filled with finely minced meat, onion and spices) however there is the option to have Vegan Kibbes if you so desire! These Kibbes were new to me and something I’ll definitely be trying to cook up myself at home. The filling was plentiful, well-seasoned and neither too dry nor too moist. Moreover, the Fattoush salad underneath these blissful balls was to die for! Every mouthful held zing and bite, whether you were lucky enough to have a piece of cucumber, celery, pickle or lettuce leaf. The crispy Lebanese bread bites were genuinely fun to bite into and effectively balanced the dish.
Perhaps the healthiest dish of the day was the SAHA Lebanese Breakfast. Consisting of free-range eggs (cooked however way you choose), house labneh topped with olive oil and sesame seeds, green and black olives, tomatoes, cucumber, the same colourful Lebanese pickles and Lebanese flatbread, I felt healthier just looking at it! I experienced ‘the moment’ when cutting open the poached eggs and we finished off the olives in no time at all. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to taste the sausage… because my co-foodie ate them all before I could! Just kidding – it was juicy, flavourful and paired perfectly with a piece of pickle.
As the Fatoush Salad was just so good, we couldn’t help but have another dish based around it. I’ll do into some more detail for you here though! The loaded salad is vegetarian; filled with salad greens, tomato, cucumber, capsicum, mint, parsley, crisp Lebanese bread, sumac, pomegranate molasses, lemon, garlic and olive oil. Personally, I adore pomegranate molasses and think they make any dish. I was also pleasantly surprised by the lightness of the lemon, garlic and oil dressing. This is another dish that I will be endeavouring to recreate in my little kitchen!
The Sweet Potato Fries were crispy, fresh – surprisingly plump – and frankly, what meal isn’t improved by their presence?? Furthermore, the accompanying morish aioli turned a bowl of fries into… my bowl of fries‼!
Did you really go to a Lebanese restaurant if you didn’t sample their hummus? Well, we went that one step further, delving into the SAHA Smalls section of the menu with the Mixed Dips which are vegan and optionally gluten-free option. The trio of house-made dips include Hummus, Baba Ghanoush and Labneh, all served with the lightest Lebanese flatbread you’ll find in Adelaide. While I’m usually a hummus girl, I was head-over-heels for the Baba Ghanoush! The smokiness of the eggplant shone through, and I loved the super creamy consistency. Both the Hummus and Labneh were equally desirable, and each of the dips was beautifully presented.
This beautiful café is technically SAHA #2, the first SAHA being tragically burnt down in its old location at Beulah Park. Nevertheless, their welcoming and wholesome attitude means that all their old clients are back at their tables, and new regulars are making appearances.
If you’re looking for something smaller to eat – perhaps some traditional coffee and cake – the front counter is filled with delicious treats such as Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake Slice (vegan, gluten-free, raw), Fig Nut and Grain Bars (dairy-free, gluten-free) and even Gingerbread men.
I’d highly recommend popping in for breakfast, brunch, lunch or a coffee any day of the week! Just be sure to have some time on your hands… you’ll want to stay! Perhaps, you’ll even see a food blogger or two as I bet this café is on their agenda!
Words by EG Mills of E-cup Gastronomy
WHERE: 215 Magill Rd, Maylands