Concrete Jungle opened quietly on April 3 as Chippendale's new 'green' cafe — from fitout to menu, owner Moe Mrad hopes to bring something a little different to the suburb's cafe scene.
As well as sounding mighty similar to Concrete Playground (hey, we were all thinking it), the name is a nod to the now iconic Central Park building around the corner, which successfully combines industrial and natural elements. Mrad has approached his fitout in a similar manner in order to embody the cafe's name — designed by Guru Projects, the concrete floors and exposed columns are broken up by bits of greenery, and suspended plants adorn the ceiling. Local artists will be encouraged to use the wall space as well.
On the food side, the team is staying green by serving a decidedly healthy and eco-conscious menu. "Sustainability regarding food is a big thing for us and a lot of our menu is plant-based, but with ethically sourced meat and fish elements on there as well," says sous chef Iain Haywood. Along with head chef Bryan O'Callaghan, the team even consulted with a nutritionist to ensure that their dishes provide as complete a package as possible — think in-house smoked salmon served with a decadently rich 64-degree egg, and pumpkin served with pan fried scallops and savoury granola. The most "health nut" item on the menu is probably the 'Nourish Bowl', which is a vegan dish of in-house fermented cabbage, beetroot humus, avocado and a special quinoa mix, all topped off with sesame dressing.
In the interest of remaining halal, Concrete Jungle will not be serving pork — but, halal or otherwise, meat isn't the focus here. "We do appreciate the ethical way the animals are butchered with halal, but meat isn't our main focus and our dishes aren't designed for just for vegans or healthy eaters, either," says Haywood. "We hope the menu is designed to be accessible to everyone, but also help people to care more about the food they're eating."
"We want this place to be a headquarters for your everyday Sydneysiders and act as a refuelling station," adds Mrad. For now, the space will be open for breakfast and lunch, with dinner on the far horizon.
WHERE: 58 Kensington Street, Chippendale
For more information: Visit here