I walked into the restaurant and instantly felt at home. Confluence Kombucha, a gluten-free gastroLAB, located in the Grove area of St. Louis is absolutely phenomenal. The flavors, the atmosphere, the staff had my heart. The menu is odd, in a curious way. I had not heard of, let alone tasted, half the things I was eating. That’s pretty unusual for me considering I’m whipping out cucamelons and medlars for all my friends to try! The vibe of the restaurant is so comforting with crystals galore, plants, and wood. It’s truly an earthy feel.
We were lucky enough to encounter William Pauley, the owner and head chef. He got into this restaurant by chance. He was suffering from a bleeding ulcer, which put him into the ICU. He didn’t have any health insurance so he discovered the way food could heal and truly nourish the body. This got him into drinking kombucha and shortly after, brewing it himself. His fascination of fermentation is prominent and he is more than happy to share his knowledge as you dine in this flavorful restaurant. He’s even fermenting garlic in honey at the moment! I think I’ll have to try this experiment next.
My friend Maria and I sat down for dinner, which was a treat in and of itself because I hadn’t gotten to see her in quite some time. Connecting with old friends is a true blessing. Maria is an outstanding artist so she was quickly drawn to the artwork hanging throughout the gastroLAB. Pauley asked us if we wanted to see the SCOBY room. We were able to walk down the hall of artwork and look through the window where all the kombucha was brewing. You should see how many batches Pauley is concocting! Aloe plants, black tourmaline crystals, and amethyst sprinkled the window ledge just adding to the good vibes.
There were eight types of kombucha on the menu and we could order a flight so we’d be able to taste each flavor. Naturally, Maria and I decided to get the flight over an individual glass. We would cheers before tasting each one and split them right in half. The flavors were so peculiar. We had Golden Beet Chamomile, Citra Hops, King and Queen, Kukicha and Golden Berry, Golden Kiwi and Moujean Tea, Aronia Berry, Mugwort and Valerian, and Cran-a-granate. They were all so good. I couldn’t even tell you which was my favorite. However, right as we were about to leave, Roasted Dandelion and Eucalyptus was put on tap. I had to taste it and loved it so much that I went home with a full growler. It barely lasted me the week!
Now the food was totally on the same page as the wild kombucha flavors. I kept looking at the dishes wondering what the heck I was eating yet excited about every bite. Maria said we must order the tea egg with the black lava salt. I’m a sucker for eggs so as these rolled on the table, I couldn’t get my eyes off these groovy eggs, let alone my fork. I ordered the Chaga Smoked Trout with squash, mustard greens, niter kibbeh, crispy skin, and hummus. It was cooked to perfection and the skin was a crispy delight. Maria had the Thai Green Curry Soup with kabocha, peppers, coconut, nori, and sticky brown rice. Although, she debated for a while between this and the celery pancakes. The way these dishes were presented was art in and of itself. I have been craving that roasted dandelion and eucalyptus kombucha since I had the last drop. I guess that means I’ll have to make my way back to STL just for Confluence Kombucha, a hidden gem.
Monday – Saturday 11 – 9
Sunday 11 – 3
4507 Manchester Avenue
St. Louis, MO