If you’re looking to try keto, it will be helpful to know a few local cafes and restaurants in Melbourne that can cater to your new lifestyle.
Being diagnosed with depression wasn’t really a shock to me.
I was feeling a sense of existential dread and an overall lack of mental energy for the better part of a year. I would have no willpower to get out of bed and when I eventually did, I would limp along through the day with intrusive thoughts crowding my mind. I had tried exercise and meditation which seemed to help the symptoms a little, but in reality, I only had one or two ‘good days’ every week.
I desperately wanted to get better and was praying that my doctor would prescribe me with some sort of antidepressants to help me out. That didn’t happen though so I decided to do some online research to see if there were any other ways I could help my situation. I eventually stumbled upon the ketogenic diet. There were a few people who were sharing their anecdotal evidence of their depression being alleviated after starting the diet. So I thought, ‘what the hell’ and gave it a go.
I didn’t give it a timestamp or name like ‘30 day challenge’ or ‘New Years Resolution.’ From previous ventures, I know that I am more likely to stick with something if I don’t have the stress of completion or failure looming in my mind.
The diet was kind of difficult to get used to – there were a lot of questions in the beginning, but after a couple of weeks I had more of an understanding and funnily enough, my depression completely lifted. It’s been over three months now and thankfully it hasn’t returned.
Early on with my depression, I found cooking an overwhelming task. Knowing that I could eat out in the first few weeks would have helped me out significantly. These are places that I’ve tried, tested and recommend. Give them a go and let me know what you think.
252 Clarendon St, South Melbourne
Let’s take a minute to talk about my parents. To put it in the nicest way possible, they aren’t the easiest to please when it comes to food, but since taking them to my local Hunky Dory for a feed, they’ve fallen in love with the place and have gone back almost every week! The place looks visually stunning, it’s filled with warm vibes from the dark timbers but still feels like a great place for a casual feed. I always find the marinated chargrilled calamari to be super tasty and when you pair it with a classic greek salad with olive oil instead of dressing, you can’t go wrong. There are a bunch of other keto options on the menu like the grilled seafood and salad which includes a good variety of fish, including calamari and prawns. There are also three grilled skewer packs – choose from lamb, chicken or prawns and set it on top of a greek or garden salad. Delicious!
177/183 Lonsdale St, Melbourne
After a few weeks on keto, my girlfriend decided to give it a go. One month later it was her birthday so I wanted to find a nice dine-in keto experience for both of us. The kebab place around the corner was our weekly take out, but not really the right atmosphere for the occasion! After some extensive exploring on Google Maps, I re-discovered the well known Melbourne icon Stalactites. I’d eaten some hot chips here after some late night clubbing in my non-keto days but had never tried anything else on the menu. After some at-home premeditated menu inspecting we went for the ‘meat platter for two’ which has so many well cooked delicious types of meat: marinated lamb and chicken fillet skewers; lamb and chicken giro; lamb cutlets; pork hot sausages and homemade Greek biftekia (Greek style burger).
This has definitely been one of my favourite dine-in experiences. The service was efficient and the waiter helped us decide on some homemade mixed dips to add more variety of flavours to the meat.
Stalactites is open 24/7 for dine-in and takeaway so if you’re looking for a midnight meat fix or trying to impress your keto SO on a date, this restaurant will surely satisfy.
4/41-45 Edgewater Blvd, Maribyrnong
A recent discovery of mine is St. Burgs. Right after creating my keto Instagram account ‘Happy With Fat’, I stumbled across a photo of their lettuce wrapped burger. It’s been a little difficult to find burger places that do a lettuce wrap on request. Some will add lettuce underneath, which is great if you want to eat like a princess with a knife and fork, but you can’t really call that a burger. So with The Double D burger eyeing me out on my Instagram feed, I just knew it had to be my feed for dinner that night.
The location is a little strange, sitting under a tall apartment building it’s quite hidden away, but don’t let this scare you as once you’re inside the atmosphere is casual and warm. I’ve never had a ‘smashed styled beef patty’ before, so when I took the first bite it was pretty euphoric. Most lettuce wrap burgers end up being really soft and mushy due to there being no bread to absorb the sauce and juices, but these patties were so crispy and still had enough fat inside to add a tonne of flavour. It added some amazing texture to a lettuce wrap burger that I finally realised I was missing. There’s no going back to a regular patty after you’ve tried it. Sorry Maccas!
Guzman y Gomez
289-299 Swanston St, Melbourne
GYG has been my favourite Mexican chain for years now. Ever since grabbing my first burrito there while studying in the city, it has never failed to disappoint. I’ve taken all of my friends here whether they wanted to or not and all of them seem to have enjoyed it. The Swanston St store is super inviting, with fast service and great vibes.
Now for the food. The burritos. The nachos. The tacos. But how can I eat all this goodness and still be true to keto you ask? Well, you can’t. Carbs are on almost every one of the menu items, so unless you’re looking for a cheat meal, I’d suggest that you dig into a Mexican grilled chicken salad. Their Chicken Guerrero Marinade has authentic Mexican flavours and you can also choose from 5 other meat options on the menu – pulled pork, grilled steak, slow cooked beef, ground beef and pan seared barramundi.
Just remember to leave out the corn and add in a serving of their fresh smashed avo for a good fat boost. Get it spicy if you want a nod of approval from the cashier, or stick with mild and save the burn for when the lid of your chili spice jar falls off during a light shake on your home cooked meal!
The Daily Grind
8 Pratt St, Moonee Ponds
My first adventure here was when I had just moved into my apartment not too long ago. At the time I didn’t have any cooking utensils or even a fridge and needed a good breakfast to satiate me before a long day at work. The Daily Grind is located on a small corner just off Puckle Street. For a small and cute little cafe, their menu has a good range of keto breakfast options including their delicious chorizo omelette. It’s filled with spinach, mushroom and bocconcini cheese and then topped with cherry tomatoes and spicy chorizo. I love that you’re not paying for a slice of toast that you’re not actually going to eat.
You could also go for their eggs benedict and leave out the English muffin. If you’re looking for a more standard lunch option, take a look at their ample range of salads and make any keto adjustments you like. Their garden salad with beef steak is what I’m typically ordering as the feta olive oil dressing always wins me over.
Ask for a long black or iced long black with a dash of pouring cream and most cafes can usually accommodate. If it fails, they also have a great range of T2 teas which will make you feel right at home.
Not a fan of eating out?
Sometimes eating out might not be an option. We all get busy and the ease of eating at home or having keto food in the cupboard is what we need. A friend of mine recently told me about a cool service called Real Keto Box where you can get a box of Keto food products, recipes and guides delivered to your door each month. I love the idea of this. It’s like a little keto support group of your very own. I’m looking forward to trying it out!