Zula Vegetarian Paradise
Liat Solomon is a woman on a holistic mission, her company Down to Earth reflecting her fervent belief in vegetarianism, natural lifestyle and the regenerative power of healthy cuisine. What started as a one woman operation supplying vegetarian food to outlets around Bali now employs a community of 45 people who Liat describes as “Sharing the Dream.”
These days Down to Earth includes a cooking school, offering courses that include ‘Cures in the Kitchen’ and ‘Food and Emotion’, and two popular cafes, Zula Vegetarian Paradise and Earth. Zula is a Middle Eastern term translating as ‘hospitable home’ and this bright, colourful café in Seminyak is high on the feel good factor with a cheery vibe, and organic whole foods that nurture the body and the soul. Nothing with a face or a mother is the catchphrase, and the menu is designed on macrobiotic principles that include all the nutrients, vitamins, minerals and fibres necessary to maintain wellbeing. Macrobiotics is a philosophy, not a diet and literally means the art of creating a big life, promoting the use of vegetables, whole grains and beans, while eschewing refined sugars and flour, eggs and animal products. The [Planet Platter] is a classic example, offering a selection of brown rice, seitan, tempe, tofu or beans, mineral rich seaweed, pickles and greens. A strong Arabic influence can be found in authentic [Falafel], [Moroccan Red Pepper Salad] and a [Mediterranean Platter]; there are also imaginative salads, hearty soups and innovative dishes such as the [Seitan Schnitzel], [Nachos with Tofu Cheese] and [Quinoa coconut curry.] The fridge is stacked with a range of tempting sweets that taste good as well as being good for you, think walnut carob balls, goji berry balls and cashew custard. The [Bali Boost] has achieved legendary status on the island due to its seriously uplifting blend of nutrients, vitamins, mood elevators and brain stimulators. It tastes like a nutty chocolate milkshake and includes raw cacao, maca root and bee pollen. You can also buy it by the jar and mix your own boosting breakfast shake at home. Various tonics relieve certain ailments try the [Lift on a difficult day], [Nervous System Nourishing] or [Bone Builder Smoothie].
Liat admits that healthy food is her passion, she apprenticed with Macrobiotics master Michio Kushi in New York, and went on to work at the Cancer Institute preparing a medicinal diet for patients. A trained nutritionist and vegetarian chef she has also cooked for various celebrities including Kevin Costner. She started Down to Earth because, “There was no decent place for me to eat around,” the concept was expanded with the opening of Zula in 2002, and followed four years later with Earth Cafe because “I needed more room to express myself.” Earth offers a similarly chilled ambience, whole foods, great books for browsing and a range of health products. Highlights include the [Tofu Rosemary Sandwich], [Quiono Pilau] and the rather divine [Sprouted Wheatberry Salad] the menu description says it all “A salad of wonder and healthy promise….”
Down to Earth may be a business, but it is operated with huge integrity and an environmental conscience. Cottage industries and local farming traditions are supported; staff are treated like family; care for the environment is promoted and food is prepared with genuine thought and consideration – and also infused with love and humour. For Liat the most rewarding thing is seeing people happy about the food, “I want people to feel safe and cared for, because everything has been carefully chosen and prepared. I would like to see Down to Earth, Earth Cafe and Zula continue to educate people about their bodies, health , vegetarianism and global awareness.”
Earth Cafe Jalan Kayu Aya 99, Oberoi, Seminyak
Zula Vegetarian Paradise Jalan Abimanyu 5, Seminyak