Two women and a bowl

March 3, 2022 BY

Sam Learmonth and Tash Chamberlain are grateful and excited that customers have embraced the fresh and nutritious fare at Bowlz in Gilbert Street. Photo: PETER MARSHALL

Friends Sam Learmonth and Tash Chamberlain had a shared vision to create a special space on the Surf Coast where healthy eating was at the heart of what they do.

Their business dream came to fruition in October last year with the opening of their cafe, Bowlz, where they proudly provide a nutritious, homemade “fast food” option to Torquay.

Bowlz is already a local favourite as customers embrace the delicious menu of freshly made acai bowls, salads, smoothies, juices, healthy treats and weekly specials.

Also winning hearts is their Dimmatina organic coffee, the aroma filling the Gilbert Street cafe which is the only provider of Dimmatina on the Surf Coast.

“People are saying they are craving our coffee, our smoothie bowls and salads,” Sam says, with a warm smile.
“This is what we wanted for people, to become addicted to healthy food and to crave it.

“It’s fuelling people’s body, how good is that? It’s the best thing that could happen for us – that people would want this food and tell us they can’t wait to have it again tomorrow.

“Also, it was about educating the local community that there is a choice that is ‘fast food’ but healthy fast food that can be turned over reasonably quickly.”

Stepping inside Bowlz, it evokes the feeling of a cosy living room and that’s exactly what its owners intended, with their shared vision achieved with help from their supportive partners, tradies Adrian Stapleton from Stapes SurfCoast Handyman Services and Ben Chamberlain from Aframe Carpentry.

A welcoming tan leather sofa, rendered walls, and polished concrete floors softened by patterned rugs and cushions all contribute to the warm ambience of the eatery.

Plants hang from the ceiling and coastal fine art prints by award-winning local photographer Tal Lemmens are the perfect complement.

“We always talked about going into business. Tash has got yoga and meditation in her background and I was a personal trainer,” Sam says.

“We were like, ‘what should we do?’, we were both living down this way and we were looking around for something different,” Tash adds.

Five months on, the ever-evolving menu features a range of tempting fare including the North Shore classic acai bowl (a favourite), the Pink Ocean smoothie bowl, and a range of salads such as the homemade Cajun chicken Buddha bowl to name just a few.

Protein balls made inhouse using Amazon Power acai and cacao balls using Sacred cacao are a new addition and the autumn menu includes a soup, new salads and savoury options such as tempting wraps. Slow-cooked meals and warm salads for winter are also on their way.

Supporting local businesses is a top priority, with their supplier list including Dusty Bulk Foods, Moorish Preserves and Spices, Surf Coast Quality Meats, Nardi, and Inglenook Dairy among others.

Sustainability is a focus and includes the use of coconut bowls, bamboo cups and a five per cent “eco discount” for customers using their own bowl, cup or take-away container.

Walked deliveries with a discount to fellow retailers in Gilbert Street is a new initiative.

Looking to the future, Sam and Tash have plans for artists to perform in the space and possibly hire out the space for low-key events.

They have also applied for a liquor licence so customers can enjoy a quality glass of wine to complement a bowl of soup, perhaps while soaking up the tunes of an aspiring musician.

There is also a new smoothie bowl they are excited to introduce.

“Tash and I get so excited when we are in our creative space and designing things – that’s where we get our buzz,” Sam says. “We hope customers will love it as much as we do.”

Bowlz Torquay is located at 24 Gilbert Street. During March opening hours are Monday to Thursday from 7.30am to 3pm, Friday 7.30am to 4pm, weekends 8am to 4pm. Head to their website or follow on Instagram @bowlz.torquay.