Royale ap­proach is sus­tain­able

The Tribune (NZ) - - SAVOUR -

Plant-based food is sus­tain­ing the world and Cafe Royale owner Robert Win­ters wants to play his part by pro­vid­ing the very best dishes from lo­cal free-range and or­ganic pro­duc­ers.

Robert firmly be­lieves that, for our globe to have a sus­tain­able fu­ture, we must max­imise the food that’s grown from crops. It’s the only way a 50 per cent in­crease in the world’s pop­u­la­tion by 2050 can be fed.

Robert is doing his bit by of­fer­ing a com­pre­hen­sive menu of plant-based dishes at Cafe Royale, which is now well es­tab­lished in The Square Edge Arts Cen­tre. His point of dif­fer­ence is his com­mit­ment to lo­cal pro­duc­ers, whether they’re sup­pli­ers of free range eggs, or­ganic wheat, her­itage breed sausages and chorizo from Horowhenua, sauces from Feild­ing or milk from Manawatu or­ganic farms.

Robert uses qual­ity in­gre­di­ents to make his own bread, pizza dough and pas­tries with­out un­nec­es­sary ad­di­tives. He even makes his own peanut but­ter.

‘‘We make ev­ery­thing from scratch and the metic­u­lous care we give to our dishes and black­board food, pro­vides the dis­tinc­tive taste,’’ he says. ‘‘We make our food ab­so­lutely delectable through our prepa­ra­tion and the use of nat­u­ral sauces, herbs and spices.’’

Two pop­u­lar dishes are a wal­nut and mush­room pizza and jack­fruit burg­ers. Robert ex­plains that jack­fruit is a small trop­i­cal, tasty fruit which ab­sorbs and en­hances other flavours such as barbecue and Ja­maican jerk.

In want­ing the world to be sus­tain­able, Robert is en­cour­ag­ing his sup­pli­ers to em­brace the same phi­los­o­phy and be more sus­tain­able them­selves.

Three years ago Robert came home after win­ning the Scot­tish Eatery of the Year in 2012 for his or­ganic bakery busi­ness. He’s now es­tab­lished the same rep­u­ta­tion for dis­tinc­tive, qual­ity food in Palmer­ston North.

Ev­ery day Robert tries to achieve a del­i­cate bal­ance. A third of his food is veg­e­tar­ian, a third is ve­gan and the other third are meals that fea­ture lo­cally sourced meat and fish.

‘‘We don’t do com­mod­ity stuff. We make a greater ef­fort in pro­duc­ing food that is dif­fer­ent, de­li­cious and healthy.’’

His com­mit­ment to qual­ity is en­joyed by a great loyal bunch of reg­u­lars.

And Robert has a 104-year-old as­set up his sleeve or at his fin­ger­tips. He’s re­stored a 1913 vin­tage Whit­mee flame cof­fee roaster that he brought back from Scot­land. The cof­fee beans, which he im­ports, are tum­bled di­rectly through a flame which gives them a dis­tinc­tive toasty char­ac­ter. Robert be­lieves his ma­chine is the only one of its kind work­ing in the world and prom­ises that the taste of his eth­ni­cally sourced cof­fee is dif­fer­ent from any­thing else his cus­tomers have tried.

With New Zealand Mu­sic Month ap­proach­ing in May, Cafe Royale is seek­ing lo­cal mu­si­cians will­ing to per­form. They can ei­ther con­tact Robert or Rachel in the cafe. Ex-Palmy vo­cal­ist Laura Collins, who’s per­formed for the Pope, is a blues and honky tonk singer, backed by the Back Porch Blues Band. Laura per­forms at a spe­cial tick­eted event on May 19.

Cafe Royale is fully li­censed and open seven days a week for break­fasts and lunches and on Thurs­day to Satur­day evenings too.

Robert Win­ters is so com­mit­ted to fresh, or­ganic food that he grows hisown veg­eta­bles and herbs in a plot at the back of Cafe Royale.

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