One of Melbourne’s most simple, yet ingenious café concepts; Happiness. A feeling that no-one can get enough of. Serotonin Eatery’s menu is based around ingredients that contain the amino acid tryptophan, which converts in the brain to Serotonin. Serotonin is a chemical created by our bodies that regulates anxiety, happiness, and mood. After experiencing trying circumstances during adolescence, Emily sought a holistic route to happiness. The game changer for her was foods high serotonin. Combined with her love of Japanese design, she has no created one of Melbourne’s most sought after brunch destinations, bringing more happiness into the city of Melbourne. We sat down with Emily to find out more.
Mon & Tue: Closed
Wed – Fri: 8am – 3.30pm
Sat & Sun: 8.30am – 4pm
$ $ $
From when I was 16 I wanted to own a café. In my final year at Swinburne, I picked up a business subject and for the assignment we had to design our own business. I chose to do a business plan for here (Serotonin) and I did it on this exact location which wasn’t even for lease at that point. I chose it because I wanted it be central so people can get here from the south and north side. I loved that it was opposite a park and it was near a train station, freeway exits, a tram stop and a bike path. It just had everything I wanted and then I drove past one day it was for lease!
So what was your vision for the café?
I actually had a vision board for the café. And everything on the vision board came true.
I just thought about what makes me happy. 1 ) Nature; so we are across the road from a park. 2) Kids; the park has a playground which was moved to our end when we opened up
3) Rainbows; the sunlight refracts through the windows shooting rainbows into the café which slowly move as the sun moves across the sky. 4) Swings; which is probably what we are most well-known for now! We have included these in the courtyard and our new indoor section also!
How did you come up with the name Serotonin?
Serotonin is a chemical created by our bodies that regulates anxiety, happiness, and mood. When I was 16 I went through mood funks which turned into a little bit of depression. I went to the doctor and was put on antidepressants. That night I started researching anti depressants and I realised I definitely didn’t want to go on them. So I started researching natural happiness… and that’s where I found the word serotonin
How is the menu designed?
Chefs care about food, but they care about cream, salt, butter and flavour. Our number one is nutritional ingredients and the quality of these ingredients. A new dish created by our chefs 21 steps to make it onto the menu… E.g. sugar free, dairy free, rainbow of colour, certain nutritional content, instagram worthy and the list goes on.
What inspired this type of menu?
I was always wanted to open a Japanese café and I’d always been working on that business plan but then my diet changed. I went Frutarian, then vegan and then I started eating foods high in tryptophan. When you eat foods with tryptophan they converts in your brain to serotonin. It’s a mood stabilising food. All the food here has naturally occurring serotonin, so all the food is actually mood stabilising food. That’s why people always leave here so calm… that’s my customer service secret!
What are serotonin foods?
Serotonin foods are basically complex carbohydrates like sweet potato and all the complex grains like amaranth, quinoa, freekeh and brown rice…
How did this type of diet effect your life?
When I started eating this diet myself, I worked out what foods were high in serotonin and the whole make up of my brain literally changed and my whole body changed, every cell felt different and from there I knew I had to share this with everyone!
What keeps Melbournians coming back?
I have made sure our meals are so healthy you can eat them every day for the rest of your life without getting bored.
What is your favourite meal on the menu?
The acai bowl is amazing but the nutrition bomb is my life – it has everything – carbohydrates, fats and proteins”