Tag Archives: restaurants

Smith St Lunches

I am in Hobart right now, it’s not the most vegan friendly place on earth, but good food can be found, which I will post about later. At the moment I miss the food in Melbourne, so I will post about the last two lunches I had there before I left.

Friends of the Earth

For $6 between 12 and 4, for lunch is a delicious selection of healthy, organic dishes, including a variety of salads which are mostly vegan. When I went, there was a quinoa, orange and carrot salad which was especially nice. Friends of the Earth is a not for profit organisation doing important work around the world.

312 Smith St, Collingwood
They also serve coffees and cakes from 10-6, along with bulk wholefoods and natural health products.

Also on Smith St is a place where everything is vegan. I walk out of this cafe feeling healthy every time and really wish they had better opening hours. Las Vegan Nirvana make an excellent schnitzel burger with organic salad and mayonnaise. Their tofu and tempeh salad with satay sauce is also very good, as is the chili bean calzone. They make delicious muffins and I really should have tried more from their menu, but the burger keeps bringing me back, probably the best fake meat in Melbourne, it tastes much healthier than the other stuff out there.

Las Vegan Nirvana are open from 11-4 I think, Tuesday to Friday. They are at 22 Smith St, and lunch is usually around $8.50.


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Casa Del Gelato

Following a delicious meal at Ganesh, we headed to Lygon St to eat gelato. After receiving bad customer service further down the road (she didn’t offer to check ingredients), we wandered up the road, to find Casa Del Gelato at 163 Lygon St.

On the back wall of Casa Del Gelato is a list of their soy gelato flavours, which are also sweetened with fructose, and definitely ok for vegans!

I tried the pistachio, bacio and chocolate. Nom city!

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Lentils as Anything – Hit & Miss

While I thought curry platters were a standard item on the menu at the Abbotsford convent, I went there recently expecting some of their delicious cabbage curry. I was wrong.

On this occasion there was only one vegan item on the menu, which consisted of potatoes in a tomato sauce. While it tasted fairly good (the potatoes were delicious, but there was too much crap garlic), It’s really not a nutritious or filling main meal.

To add to the experience, the background music was really loud rap music! Rap is known for being sexist and violent, I don’t think it’s such a great thing to be playing in a place so opposed to these things.

At least the ‘pay what you feel’ system makes it less of a disappointment.

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Grumpy’s Green

This place seem to be doing the right thing sustainably, taking responsibility for their own water collection, and all their food ingredients and beers sourced from Victoria. It’s been open for nearly a month now, and the other night I got to see what they were like.

I tried the sauteéd mushrooms, the tofu skewers and the chickpea battered vegetables. Shared between three, these were a nice size for a light meal. The vegetables had so much flavour, and the cooking really brought out the best in them. I would really appreciate more vegan options on the menu, it is sad to see a delicious sounding veggie burger that I can’t eat! The mushrooms weren’t labeled on the menu as vegan, but only needed to have the butter changed for oil, so maybe this is the case with some of their other dishes.

On tap the Holgate pilsner was delicious, I have emailed the brewery and all of their beers are suitable for vegans. The raspberry beer in bottles was quite nice, and they make a good vodka and raspberry too.

The service was not grumpy at all, and the atmosphere was really nice and relaxed, with an excellent beer garden, and plenty of different spaces to sit in.


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Mr Natural Vegetarian Pizza

Pictured is the Vegan, and the Broccolini. Nom.

Their website isn’t working at the moment, so I will tell you about their pizza bases. The pizza bases are made of wholemeal wheat flour and are really nice. They have heaps of different pizzas on the menu, which can be seen on this slow-loading website: http://www.menulog.com.au/mr_natural_vegetarian_pizza

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Melbourne Loses a Great Chef

Forest Mushroom Risotto

Special vegan forest mushroom risotto, made by Jessika. This was full of flavour and perfectly cooked, I hope she will cook for me again someday.

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For a ‘pay what you feel like’ place they sure don’t shove their politics down your throat 🙂  The service was respectful and friendly.

Ganesh use organic ingredients where possible, with their menu changing all the time for what is seasonal.  The food tasted very healthy, with the organic veggies given the chance to show their flavour.  The stir fry was particularly good.  It is BYO-all-alcohols with a bottleshop being just past the merry creek north of Ganesh.  It is definitely worth a visit.  Really nice atmosphere, suitable to all kinds of occasions.

376 St Georges Rd, North Fitzroy

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Fitz Curry Cafe

44 Johnston St, Fitzroy

This has to be the best Indian take away I’ve had. I tried the pumpkin masala (usually made with dairy, but they were happy to make it without) and the mushroom mutter. The vegetables were organic and perfectly cooked. The curries were full of vegetables, with a good amount of sauce. The spices were freshly crushed – not powder, and the curries stood up to twenty minutes of walking, to be served at a good temperature.

Their vegetarian selection is impressive with 12 mains and 6 entrées, including some dishes I haven’t seen anywhere else. The prices are reasonable, with all vegetarian mains being $10, it looked like quite a nice place to eat in as well, with a few beers to choose from and BYO wine available.

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Curry in Melbourne

Finding decent curry in Melbourne seems to be a lot harder than it looks. With more and more Indian restaurants and take aways appearing all over Melbourne, I did not expect the dissatisfaction that I have had.

Since moving here a few months ago there have been more times that I’ve wished I’d eaten baked beans at home, than times when I’ve been honestly satisfied with the food. It seems to be normal to use poor quality ingredients and heaps of oil.

Bangla Sweets & Curry Cafe
I suspect that this Aloo Muttar came from one of those $2 packet curries. More sauce than vegetables, and bland and sickly at that, it was possibly the most horrible curry I have ever had. Pakoras were dry and bland, and I was never quite clear if they were lying about animal products. Very rude service, and the first place I have encountered that usually add cream to their Aloo Mattar. Avoid.

Funky Curry
I think the name says it all. Out of a bain marie with the only flavour being cheapo chili powder.

Tandoori Times
This place seems a bit hit and miss, with there only being one time when it was actually really good.

Lentils as anything at St Kilda and Abbotsford
Spot on with their flavours. And finally – quality, organic ingredients. Once I went and it was mostly greasy sauce, but the other times have been great.

I’ve already written about this place, well worth going for lolz and the fantastic naan and aloo gobi. Edit: Dishes on the menu are not well described, and the waiter’s inability to speak english gets frustrating, also their beer is not cold enough. That garlic naan, and the aloo gobi is enough reason to return though.

Wild Yak Tibetan Restaurant
Not Indian, but delicious, healthy tasting curry with an excellent balance of flavours. The steamed Tsel Momo with hot sauce are especially delicious, as is the Shoko Tema Curry. Fair prices, and well worth the trip out to Northcote. Heaps of vegan options and excellent service.

Fitz Curry Cafe
This has to be the best Indian take away I’ve had. I tried the pumpkin masala (usually made with dairy, but they were happy to make it without) and the mushroom mutter. The vegetables were organic and perfectly cooked. The curries were full of vegetables, with a good amount of sauce.

Ganesh, St Georges Rd, North Fitzroy

Very nice atmosphere, organic, seasonal ingredients and lovely service – without their politics being shoved down your throat.  BYO everything, there is a bottleshop just past the nearby merry creek.  All vegan except for the lassi as of 3/1/09.

Places I have yet to try:
There is some all veggie place in Preston that’s really cheap
Vegetarian Nirvana Cafe on Bridge Rd

Please comment if you know of anywhere good!

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Camy Shanghai Dumpling House Tattersalls Lane, Melbourne

Walking past Gaylord’s indian restaurant, giggling like the silly children we are, I expected some really good dumplings, and crazy service. Arriving through these doors, we are greeted with not just stressed, but hateful staff! The crazy man shouted “FOUR” and pointed at a group of two, hanging in one of the booths, forcing them to move so we could sit there.

We had a look through the sticky pages of the menu, and the beer list laminated to the table with very funny photos of the scary man, with beers superimposed on to his hand, and speech bubbles urging you to try such and such beer. Unable to decide, we ordered way too much: 2 bowls of dumpling soup, 1 crab and pork thing for the meat enthusiast, a plate of 20 dumplings, pumpkin cakes, taro cake and fake duck. First to arrive were the dumplings and the soup, quite some time later, the other dishes were gradually brought out, much to our horror.

There was some questioning of the hygiene of this place, in my mind. Everything seemed a bit dirty, and there was a constant fear that they had snuck something unhealthy into my food, other than the gallons of grease used to cook most of it! The flavour of it all was a bit funny, kind of bland, kind of unenjoyable, yet still, I ate, because I hate wasting food.

Towards the end of the evening, the soundtrack of the cheesiest love songs of all time, was interrupted with a recording of ‘happy birthday’, straight from a John Waters film. More and more I began to realise how classic this atmosphere was, with crazy man running around, barking things at customers, running in and out of the kitchen. After drawing on our food with the red sauce and arranging the dumplings into shapes, crazy man came back and barked: “HOW MANY?” 2? at our beers. When paying, he ordered at the meat enthusiast “1? TOMMOROW 2!!!”.

Leaving the venue in high spirits, with aching stomachs, we laughed and laughed about crazy man and his music and grotty little place, wishing slightly that we had gone to the New Kum Den.

New Kum Den Heffernan Lane, Melbourne
There is actually a “Kum Den” up the road, so I guess this means the original Kum Den wasn’t closed town for dodgy ingredients. New Kum Den has lots of nasty sounding non-vegan things on the menu. The novelty of eating there is enough to go though, they have a vegan soup there (mixed veggie or something), and that was pretty good.

GAYLORD Tattersalls Lane, Melbourne
ZOMG VEGAN NAAN. Yes, they have so many breads that are vegan there it is exciting. The Aloo Gobi is excellent, perfect flavour combinations and heat. The second time I went the waiter could barely speak english, so I wasn’t able to find out whether another dish was vegan. Well worth going for that garlic naan and aloo gobi and lolz.

Hofbräuhaus Market Lane, Melbourne
Not the best service, but they were able to make a vegan meal. The red cabbage is delicious and they serve awesome giant beers.

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