Date Visited: Jul 30 2015
What I ate:
*I was invited to come and try out the products but all thoughts are of my own*
I was invited by Angela (co-owner of MELU) to come and test out their products. It’s only been a week since their opening but they already have a steady flow of regular customers and a huge Instagram following.
Melissa and Angela started planning MELU (the name of the shop comes from their names combined) around two years ago and you can tell right when you walk into their cute shop that they have put lots of thought and care into every single detail. Melissa started experimenting with healthy products when she started having pregnancy cravings for chocolate cake every day. She has a background in culinary which helped her come up with these amazing recipes. She started to make healthier indulgences and they were a hit with their friends and family so they decided to make it into a business with which they could share with the public.
The main focus of their juice and health bar is of course the juice. They have eight types of juices, 4 kinds of nut blends and a few detox waters. MELU also offers smoothies and salads which we’ll get to later.
So let’s get down to the cold pressed juices
What’s different about their juices and the juices you make at home that are from regular juices?
Well, cold press juices are made with no heat. Everything is pressed slowly and generally takes around 45 minutes to an hour. This no-heat process helps maintain all the vitamins and nutrients that will get lost from just regular juicing. The slow process is more beneficial towards your health and you get more nutrients from the fruits and vegetables.
Radical Detox – cucumber, pear, radish, kale, bell pepper
- This one was interesting because of the bell pepper – there was hints of it at the back of the palate
- Definitely one of the more refreshing ones because of the cucumber
- My only complaint was that notes of the radish were somewhat lost
The Hulk – apple, romaine lettuce, jicama, lemon, kale, mint, ginger
- This juice has a very strong kale and ginger flavour with a minty aftertaste
- It’s great for kale lovers and people who are looking for a low calorie, weight loss inhibiting and immune boosting
- Interesting use of romaine lettuce (which gave it a bit of bitterness) and jicama
Easy Green – Pear, Grapefruit, cucumber, kale, celery, parsley
- The pear was somewhat lost in this one
- The aftertaste was mostly of grapefruit – you get that slight bitterness
- The celery and parsley flavour was also quite prominent so beware if you don’t like celery and parsley
- This one is recommended for first time juicers because it isn’t too strong and has some sweetness in it
Winter wonderland – winter melon, apple, kale, spinach, celery
- This one was definitely sweeter and slightly fresher because of the winter melon and apple
- The kale is kind of an after taste that’s like “oh yeah I think there is some kale in here” but as a green juice it didn’t taste like a green juice but just more like a faint version
- So it’s great for people who want something sweeter but still be able to get in your daily intake of kale
Grapefruit heartbeet – apple, grapefruit, beetroot, lemon, mint
- This one of the our favourite ones
- The beetroot and grapefruit combination is pretty good
- I like the added apple to bring in some sweetness to balance off the grapefruit bitterness
- The aftertaste of mint is also very refreshing and brightens up the beetroot taste
Orange glow – carrot, apple, pineapple, tomato, ginger
- I enjoyed the hints of pineapple in this one
- The main focus of this juice is more the ginger and carrot
- It’s not too strong on the ginger side (in fact I personally prefer a stronger ginger flavour- I guess it’s the Asian in me)
Berry Beetiful – apple, tomato, beetroot, strawberry
- The combination of tomato, beetroot and strawberry was very interesting
- I liked the combination – it wasn’t too heavy but had a nice mouth feel
- The tomato in this drink was quite strong and in fact it might have even masked the beetroot a little too much for my liking
- The strawberry didn’t really come out in the flavours but more so in the texture of the juice
Black magic – activated bamboo charcoal, cayenne, lemon, Malayan pink salt, agave, pure filtered water
- This one was definitely an interesting drink and very creative
- It’s great for people who are looking for a flatter tummy and to detox but for a daily drink I might go for something that is on the sweeter side
- It leaves a very sandy aftertaste but hey if it’s good for you, I’ll drink it
- Apparently its good for cleansing especially after you’ve had some alcoholic drinks
- This one gets points for creativity
The juices will keep for around three days in the fridge and because it’s cold pressed none of the flavours or nutrients will be influenced by the slight delay in consumption.
MELU Also offers juice cleanses for 1,3 and 5 days. It’s great that they offer options for people who are looking for a juice cleanse that’s delicious and filling.
Cacao Monkey – Activated cashes, banana, raw cacao, chia seeds, Himalayan pink salt
- This is the only nut mylk we tried and it tasted somewhat like a milkshake
- For all their nut mylks they churn the nuts themselves and it becomes very thick when added to the chia seeds
- It tastes like a banana chocolate milkshake but with slight hints of nuttiness
- Overall just the right amount of sweetness for me
For each of the juices, smoothies and nut mylks there’s a little chart on the stickers that tells you what it’s good for. For example the Black magic cold pressed juice is great for tummy flattening and detoxifying. Each one also aims for a certain effect. All of them have good benefits which makes it even harder for me to choose which ones my favourite.
On the back it doesn’t tell you how many calories each drink has because they don’t want you to focus on the amount of calories but instead MELU emphasis on which ingredients are good for you and what effects it will have on your body.
Frosty the Carrot cake – carrot, dates, walnut, cashews, coconut oil, Agave, lemon, Himalayan pink salt
- The carrot cake was plenty carroty for me – but for carrot cake lovers I think this would be just right
- It wasn’t too sweet and the main carrot flavour shines through the cluster of nuts (cashews, walnuts)
- I had some problems with the texture of the top part- it was very grainy and lumpy which I didn’t really like. I wish it was slightly smoother and creamier
Lemon Razz – lemon, coconut, coconut butter, almonds, dates, agave nectar, pink salt, lemon rind
- This was definitely one of our favourites because we prefer sour flavours and this one was definitely very lemony and zesty
- The tartness was well contrasted with the sweetness of the dates and agave nectar
- My only complaint was that the bottom “crust” or bar part broke too easily and might make it difficult to eat
Mangolicious – mango, walnuts, almond, coconut, dates, cashews, agave nectar
- Just the right amount of sweetness to it – good combination of textures
- The mango was kind of lost in the walnut almond coconut mix
- When you eat the piece of mango on top sure there’s mango flavour but within the bar there wasn’t much of it – it might have been better if it was more infused within the batter maybe
Kind of a Fig Deal – raspberries, mission figs, coconut oil, pecans, oats, dates, pink salt
- I really like the name for this one – its catchy and fun
- Beware of the fig seeds – they can be off putting at first but after a while it gives it a slight crunch which can be pleasant if they don’t get stuck in your teeth
- Unfortunately the raspberries get slightly lost in the mix
So Fudging Good – avocado, coconut, coconut oil, cocoa, Pecans, dates, agave, pink salt
- This is one of their most popular ones and I can see why
- It’s not too sweet but you get that richness from it
- At the same time you know it’s healthy yet you can still feel like you’re having a great treat
- The avocado makes the texture of this bar very thick and luscious
- The chocolate on top is very smooth and rich
Cocao Banana Split – Banana, cashews, walnuts, coconut oil, coconut dates, cocao, pink salt
- The banana is the middle layer and the cocao butter is on the top making it like a cocao banana sandwich with the nut mix at the bottom
- This one didn’t really stand out for me but it was still pretty good – not too sweet and good textures
These health bars are great because they are packed full with protein which is beneficial for people who are working out and need foods with lots of protein. It tastes good and you don’t have to feel guilty because all the ingredients they use are good for you. They don’t use any additives or processed sugar. All the fruits are real and fresh. They have many different flavours and lots of variety so you can choose your favourite. The health bars keep in the fridge for a day but can also be stored in the freezer for up to a week if you plan on eating it later.
MELU also offers salads – Undercover curried rice (the rice is actually cauliflower) and undercover spaghetti and meatballs (the spaghetti is actually zucchini noodles). They also have a transitional salad that changes every day.
Everything is Gluten-Free and raw-vegan which means it gives people with gluten allergies, vegans, healthy people another option. It also demonstrates to people who are skeptical of healthy food, how food which is good for you can also be delicious. I think MELU is going to be a great addition not only to the Coal Harbour neighbourhood but also to Vancouver as a whole. They have lots of variety and will definitely grow to be something amazing. The flavours are pretty good so far. MELU just opened so they do have some kinks to work out still but so far I think they are doing great and definitely have tons of space to grow. Don’t go too late in the day because they sometimes run out of their most popular flavours which means you won’t get to try the ones your looking forward to! I’m excited to see what they have in store for the future.
Address: 1110 West Pender Street, Vancouver
Type of Restaurant: Beverages, desserts, healthy, gluten free, vegan
Recommended: Grapefruit heartbeet, lemon razz bar
Price Range: $$
Will come back? Yes – if I’m in the neighbourhood and want to come around for a healthy and delicious drink (also I’m quite curious about the cold Brewhaha which is a nut mylk they have that consists of West End coffee and almond milk)
Summary: MELU is the newest addition to the juicing community in Vancouver. They have healthy yet very delicious juices and bars which other competitors might not offer. I would definitely recommend you to come and check out their bars which aren’t only Instagram worthy but also scrumptious. The owners are really knowledgeable and friendly. The shop is relaxing and cute. What’s stopping you from stopping by and picking up a little treat for yourself?