PROFILE BY BEST RESTAURANTS
Soul Food has been one of the whole-foodier-than-thou fixtures of Smith Street for many years. The grocery is well-known for its range of grains, spices, groceries and organic produce. Right next door is the cafe, a renovated space with a food counter with coffee machine and display cabinet at the front.
This is a casual, easy-going place with a blackboard menu listing the specials, usually positioned under the pin-board that holds notices of everything from health services to music gigs. There are some tables at the front and a great area towards that back with tables, chairs, comfy couches, low tables and soft lighting. The food is seriously vegetarian with lots of pulses and whole grains. A shepherd's pie, for example, is made with lentils rather than meat – wholesome and filling at low prices – but there is real effort to make the food attractive, and the hearty gluten-free chocolate cake is a nice afternoon or evening pick-me-up. At lunchtime the place can get very crowded, so try off-peak hours for a solitary or companionable relax over good fair trade coffee.