From the vegan sisters who delivered 4101 its own Greenhouse Canteen, now blooms Flora, a cosy cafe and deli serving up hearty vegan meals and bringing locals together one tofu scramble at a time.
Five years ago, plant-based sisters Charlie and Natalie Evans became fed up with struggling to find a vegan friendly place for dinner and drinks. “That’s why we opened Greenhouse Canteen,” said Charlie. “Now everything we do is 100 per cent vegan — even the staff we hire are vegan.” Soon after came modern rejuvenation space, The Bathhouse in Burleigh Heads.
Serving only dinner, Greenhouse Canteen locations in Miami, Brisbane and Coolangatta were already booming with success, but customers wanted more. “People started asking if we were going to bring out breakfasts and lunches,” said Charlie. The demand was soon met with Flora, Greenhouse Canteen’s bright daytime concept, which sprung to life in Miami at the start of 2018. While it started as a ‘grab and go’ cafe, the girls wanted Brisbane’s Flora to be more ‘a la carte’ — a place where you could feel at home.
Framed pages of vintage magazines and cookbooks hang on the pastel pink and green walls of Flora. Mixed with the 1980s styled sofas and lush green fauna in every nook and cranny, it is the ultimate cosy living room vibe every diner needs as a side to their breakfast. “We always wanted it to be here in West End,” said Charlie. “We fell in love with the timber floors, lofty ceilings and charming slant.”
The 100-year old heritage listed building quickly became home to the 4101’s newest vegan hangout, with many locals showing support from day one. “I think it’s really cool that the vegan community has jumped on board with Greenhouse and Flora coming to Brisbane,” said Charlie.
It did not take long for the family owned business to make connections in the area. “It’s really nice that we see familiar faces from the restaurant here, like that table over there,” said Charlie, directing her eyes at a table of regulars.
Flora’s produce is predominantly locally and organically sourced, including coffee from East Brisbane’s Allpress Coffee — the organic blend said to pair nicely with a dairy milk substitute. The sisters feel privileged to not only run a company with their beloved mum, who happens to be their head chef, but have the opportunity to partner with likeminded people who believe in their vision. “Business isn’t always easy,” said Charlie. “But with passion and purpose pushing us forward daily, we believe in what we do and want to offer that to the community.”
The girls are nostalgic when it comes to the menu, with many of the dishes being what they ate as kids. Favourites include breakfast muffins, tofu scramble burritos, loaded croissants and more. “Whatever anyone else can do, we want to do plant based,” said Charlie.
The future of Greenhouse is looking bright, with enquiries from Sydney and Melbourne already pouring in. “Whenever a Greenhouse opens, a Flora and Bathhouse will potentially follow,” said Charlie. There has never been a better time to be plant based in 4101 — and even if you are not, who can resist a loaded croissant?
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