Shakahari

As a social worker, I am expected to case note everything I do (phone calls, emails, client appointments) within 48 hours of the event occurring (but preferably immediately). This is for obvious reasons – the longer you leave it, the more likely you are to miss important details. Before I leave work in the evening I catch up on any notes from throughout the day that I haven’t yet had a chance to write up.

I only wish I could have such a sense of urgency with my blogging! This post dates back to March, and as a result, the details of the meal are kind of fuzzy. This meal took place as a celebration for me starting my first ‘real’ job, and so naturally I chose to have it at Shakahari.

Shakahari have long been one of my favourites – I’ve had many a ‘special occasion’ dinner here, in fact, it has always been one of my main go-to celebration meal place. Even with more and more amazing vegan eateries popping up all the time, Shakahari still holds a special place in my heart and continues to provide outstanding vegetarian food. I still remember drinking my first ever long island iced tea here on a birthday years back.

Shakahari have been dishing up amazing vegetarian dishes in Carlton since 1972, and have now expanded to open a second restaurant – Shakahari Too – in South Melbourne. They also hold the title of the longest running exclusively vegetarian restaurant in Australia – how cool is that?

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We got a couple of entrees to share to start us off, and found it difficult to select just three. This was the rainbow pate – I was definitely attracted to the colour in this dish. The pate was lovely, though we could have done with a couple more crackers to split between us.

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This is a terrible picture of the avocado magic – a sort of avocado tempura. I remember enjoying this one a few years back, and it didn’t disappoint this time either. The sauce is coriander based, and brings a wonderful strong flavor to the creamy avocado.

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Lastly, some delicious treats – I can’t remember what they are! I’m looking at the menu thinking it must be the mushroom agnolotti. Whatever it was, I do remember it was delicious.

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For my main, I ordered the ‘Legendary Satay Shakahari’. I can understand why it’s legendary – the satay sauce is the stickiest, creamiest, peanutiest satay sauce ever, and the differing textures of the tofu, seitan and vegetables work a treat.

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Other orders on the table included this dish, which again, I cannot remember – it had many components and from memory the zucchini bits were kind of pickled?

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A couple of people on the table went for the laksa, which was also full of amazing tofu, tempeh and seitan textures.

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Somebody else enjoyed this beautiful pesto pasta dish, topped with soy cheese and pine nuts.

I think there was another main, but it didn’t make the cut due to it’s non-veganness (totally a word).

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Finally, what meal at Shakahari is complete without a tofu crème caramel? ARGHYUMMM. This is a perfect dessert – silky tofu topped with crunchy pistachio toffee and drizzled with a sweet caramel sauce. Yaaaaayyy! I think most people on the table got this, though there were a few non-vegan options making an appearance too.

Phew, I bumbled my way through that one. Luckily, my blog is not going to ever be subpoenaed for court (I hope), so I guess the sketchy details don’t matter too much. Or the sketchy photos. Hmm. Lesson learnt – I think it’s time to try and cut through my backlog again. See you soon blog-world!

Shakahari
201-203 Faraday St, Carlton
Mon-Fri – 12pm – 3pm and 6pm – 9.30pm
Sat – 12pm – 3pm and 6pm – 10.30pm
Sun – 6pm – 10.30pm

Banquet at Gong De Lin

A while back, Veganopoulous posted about a banquet lunch at Gong De Lin which she had bought through an online deal on Scoopon. After noting the array of food, I promptly went online and bought one for myself too. Nothing like a vegan bargain!

The voucher sat in my inbox for months, until this weekend when I finally realised I only had a matter of days left to use it. So the bear and I took ourselves out to dinner last night so as not to let it go to waste.

Prior to Veganopoulous posting about Gong De Lin, I had never heard of the place. They’ve only been around for a year or so, and they are somewhat easy to miss – on the third floor of a building on Swanston Street, up near QV. I had a quick look on Urbanspoon before we went and noted quite a few reviews detailing rude, angry staff and food being reheated in the microwave. This perhaps set my expectations a little lower than usual, however we were pleasantly surprised. The friendly waitress seated us in a booth by the window and brought us some corn soup very promptly. I love getting to sit by the window, especially at such a height where you can look out onto the streets below.

ImageExcuse the crappy camera photos please.

The corn soup was pretty standard, similar to one we had in Box Hill last week – I kind of like it, while finding the texture very odd at the same time. It was certainly nice to sip on something warm after coming in from the cold.

The waitress was very attentive, and offered us a choice of jasmine tea or soft drink (as they were out of plum juice), as well as a choice between spicy chicken or mushrooms for our main. I was so stoked about being given the choice, and ordered the chicken without skipping a beat. She also brought some dipping sauces for our dumplings much to the bear’s delight – just try and keep his paws away from a jar of chilli oil!

ImageNext up – spring rolls. As Veganopoulous said, spring rolls are spring rolls! They were enjoyable and not too oily, accompanied by a chilli dipping sauce. The bear was too busy smothering his in a concoction he had made in his own bowl to notice this sauce until the end.

ImageThe dumplings came out at about the same time as the spring rolls. The skin looked quite thick and I feared it might be cardboard-y, but they were softer than I had expected. I always like it when dumplings, buns or spring rolls are filled with mixtures that have identifiable bits in them. These had little chunks of tofu among lots of greens. I enjoyed them.

ImageNext up a bean sprout salad. This was a little soggy, but I liked the juiciness to break up the entrees – it was quite a palate cleanser!

ImageThis was bear’s dish of the night – sweet and sour pork. I am constantly amazed by the different textures that mock-meat takes on these days – it really is fascinating. Just last week we had some vegan prawns at Vegie Hut (which I hated – too prawny would you believe?!) The sauce was really thick and the flavour spot on. We were given a bowl of rice each to accompany the mains.

ImageThe other main was the spicy chicken. The sauce itself was not overly spicy, but there were chillis scattered throughout the dish which certainly packed a punch. This dish also had water chestnuts (which I haven’t had in SO long!) and peanuts. I liked the stringy texture of the mock chicken.

ImageFinally, dessert. I’m not going to lie – I didn’t enjoy this. Little flavourless balls of dough in some sugar water. Neither of us finished it. By that point we were pretty full anyway, so it was no big loss.

So Gong De Lin is now on the radar – I’ll remember it if I’m looking for a sure-fire vegan Chinese option in the CBD. It was a good deal – $39 for the two of us for all that food, however I did not get a chance to browse the menu to see what the standard prices are. Maybe we’ll just have to come back and find out!

Gong De Lin
Level 3, 264 Swanston St Melbourne
Open 7 Days – 10am – 10pm

Eating right at Vegie Bar

This post goes back to a meal I had a couple of months ago now – where did the time go? Looking at the pictures I can remember exactly when these were from – the sun was shining and it was a couple of days before I started my new job (so we’re going back to mid-March here). The bear and I were wandering around Fitzroy picking up a few last things, and putting an order in for some reward-for-new-job boots at Vegan Wares.

At the time, I was in the middle of a detox and all the walking around was getting my tummy rumbling. I can start feeling hungry and hold onto that feeling for a while, but once I cross over my hunger threshold, I turn to grumpy VERY quickly. Luckily for us, we were just down from Vegie Bar and I knew I would be able to find something detox-suitable, while the bear could choose from a range of more substantial options.

ImageI ordered the colourful raw Living Stack, which consisted of layers of zucchini, carrot and tomato on top of a marinated mushroom, with a tomato beetroot puree. It had a fancy dehydrated slice of tomato on top, as well as some pretty micro-greens. I’m sure there were other things involved in the stack, but I can’t remember this far on. It was served with a great big green salad on the side, which was topped with some long cheesy kale chips. This was just what I needed – lots of vibrant and fresh ingredients. I loved the bold flavour of the puree in the stack, but I have to admit the marinated mushroom was a bit too much for me – I had to pass some of it on to the bear. I’m still working on pushing the boundaries of my mushroom eating. I have another threshold – the raw mushroom threshold, which I definitely crossed on this day. It’s one of those things that I need to keep working on.

ImageThe bear enjoyed a satay tofu wrap, which despite its anemic appearance in comparison to my colourful meal, packed a lot of flavour and he seemed satisfied. I even took a sneaky bite, just to make sure everything was in order. Confirmation acquired.

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Bear also ordered a purifier juice – apple, carrot, celery and ginger, a combination that you can never really go wrong with. Despite declaring that I did not want a drink when we ordered, I thoroughly enjoyed drinking most of this one. Oops.

Another enjoyable meal at Vegie Bar, consistent with the last two visits I’ve made since being back in Melbourne. You can find the details of those trips here and here.


Vegie Bar

380 Brunswick St, Fitzroy
Mon-Thurs – 11am – 10pm
Fri – 11am – 10.30pm
Sat – 9am – 10.30pm
Sun – 9am – 10pm

Loving Hut Northcote

The other week, the bear and I decided to go out to Northcote to see a comedy show as a part of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival that took over town for a few weeks. I haven’t really spent much time in Northcote – mostly because it used to be kind of far and out of the way for me, but living and working closer to the city now means it’s quite within reach. This is exciting news, given the experience we had at Loving Hut.

Loving Hut is an international chain of vegan restaurants, which focus on the provision of affordable, cruelty-free food. The Northcote restaurant has only been open for a few months, while there has been one in Richmond for some time now (incidentally it is RIGHT AROUND THE CORNER from my new place!). While I am yet to visit the Richmond one (I know, right?!), we popped by the one in Perth when we were in Western Australia, and thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

We decided to order a few dishes to share in order to make the most of the experience. First up, spring rolls.

ImageBilly really enjoyed these. I thought they were nice, but nothing out of the ordinary. A good, crispy spring roll.

ImageNext up we got some of the southern fried chicken. I had to try this after seeing it on Cindy and Michael’s blog, as well as over at Veganopoulous. It did not disappoint. The texture was amazing – a thick, crunchy batter with chewy, stringy insides…I honestly don’t know how they do it, it’s one of veganism’s mysteries. Served with a creamy spiced mayo, I enjoyed every bite.

ImageWe decided to get the rainbow salad to ensure we got some fresh veggies and not just a huge meal of mock meats. This was a good move. While the constituents of the salad were not particularly impressive, they provided a fresh, juicy break from the fried-ness of our other dishes. The two dressings were great, I particularly enjoyed the herb-y punch of the green one.

ImageWhile we were eating, I saw a specials board which had earlier gone unnoticed. On it was an entree item of fried silken tofu bites, which I knew immediately that I had to try. After ordering a serve, we were so glad that we did. These were hands down the most delicious things of the night. Perfect little golden crispy medallions that melted in your mouth when you bit into them. They were seasoned with herbs identical to those used on Grill’d chips, and served with a vegan tartare that was mind-blowingly spot on. I have no idea how they got it so creamy – another vegan miracle. The bear and I could not stop talking about these for days (possibly weeks?). Even the folks at the table next to us asked one of the staff members what was on our table and ordered themselves some. I am trying to come up with excuses to go back there, just so I can eat these little gems again.

All that only cost us around the $30 mark between us.

Completely satisfied, we wandered down to the social club to catch the comedy show, only to discover it had been cancelled. Not to worry, the night was still marked down as a success thanks to the delights of dinner.

With lovely staff, quick service and delicious meals, Loving Hut Northcote is definitely a winner.

Loving Hut
377-79 High St, Northcote
Mon – CLOSED
Tues-Sun – 5.30pm – 10pm
kitchen closes 30 mins prior to closing

Easter weekend

The last week or so has been HECTIC. I went from being sick off work for a few days, to coming back (which can be hectic enough just playing catch-ups), having a birthday, spending Good Friday packing up my room, saturday moving house and all the fun that comes with that, then the unpacking, Easter, and blah blah blah. Back at work yesterday and I’m totally spent.

But that’s not what I came here to talk about – I want do tell you about the wonderful things I did, not the draining ones.

Friday night I lured the bear over to my place to help me sort out a few things with the promise of pizza. And pizza we had! I made up the standard VWaV dough which we spread into four thin crust pizzas.

ImageFirst up, a lovely chilli, sun-dried tomato and olive pizza, with vegusto melty cheese and fresh basil and oregano.

ImageNext, supreme mushroom, capsicum, onion, garlic, pineapple and sun-dried tomato with a pesto swirl!

ImageAnd in case that swirl of pesto wasn’t enough, here’s a totally rad cheesy pesto-chilli-mushroom pizza, made with my delicious toasted sunflower seed pesto (recipe to come!)

ImageAnd lastly a classic supreme.

A pretty successful pizza party that managed to sustain us through Saturday’s move – we were up early to pick up a van, which due to all the holidays we could only have for a couple of hours, so it was a race against time carting everything from one place to the other. But we made it!

I didn’t get back to the new place til the evening, which meant we only had an hour or so to quickly build my bed before we rushed off to a comedy show we had bought tickets to a while back. We dashed out to see Steve Hughes, then stopped by Victoria St to grab some dinner before retiring to the newly made bed. My new place is in Abbotsford, just around the corner from Victoria St, so I anticipate there being many delicious adventures in the near future.

Sunday and Easter was upon us! Sadly, I didn’t have time to get very festive this year…I had the best intentions of making some hot cross buns and chocolates but never found the time. I hardly even ate much chocolate! Woe is me! I did find a few minutes to whip up a coconut salted caramel mix which i filled some chockies with, but only managed to do about eight before I ran out of time. Oh well. Who said making chocolates had to be just an easter thing?

While my Dad had prior engagements with his hockey team, my Mum came into Abbotsford and we went over to the Convent for lunch.

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I ordered the arancini balls and we also ordered a side salad to share. Arancini can go either way, and as the Bear pointed out, they often conjure images of crusty, dried out, been-sitting-in-the-window-forever food. This was not the case here though – the Arancini had a nice firm crust (I imagine it had been baked), yet was lovely and moist inside and mixed with lots of mushroom bits. It was topped with a rich napoli sauce and sitting on top of some lovely strips of zucchini and eggplant. All round delicious.

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After lunch we took a stroll around the grounds, enjoying the pleasant weather and the relaxed atmosphere. There were also some craft markets on, so we were able to browse the handmade wares.

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This patch of grass had been coloured in an incredible pattern. The kids around were LOVING it, running around on it screaming their little hearts out. It’s not every day you get to play on purple grass, I reckon it’s grounds for going troppo.

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The easter bunny even made an appearance! (?)

On monday, a lovely friend and I decided to take a little day trip out of the city to enjoy a lunch in Belgrave. We headed out there in the early afternoon, and it was lovely to breathe in the fresh autumn air, free of the big city smoke.

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We stopped in at the Grunge Cafe for a spot of lunch, and after deciding on a delicious item from the brekkie menu (scrambled tofu and mushrooms), I discovered even more vegan options in the display cabinet, including this vegan burger – served here with garlic bread and salad. Would you look at that thing?! – How could I resist?

This was hands down one of the best vegan burgers/patties that I have tried. It was jam packed with whole chickpeas and pumpkin seeds amongst other things, and served with a lovely chutney. My only complaint (and it would be a stretch!) would be that there wasn’t quite enough chutney to service the whole burger, but with a burger that delicious it really didn’t matter.

Extra points to the lovely staff member who must have seen the look on my face when she mentioned garlic bread, and asked me if I too would like some added to my meal…uh YES!!!!

Seriously, check this place out – it was worth the trip just for this lovely meal alone (don’t get me started on the rest of this pretty little town).

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After lunch we wandered around the main strip and then set off to go on a little forest walk. After a small amount of getting lost, we remembered that it would be getting dark soon, and that perhaps we should set off an adventure in the morning in one of the weeks to come, in order to avoid getting lost in the forest.

Happy with this new plan and the small (but delicious!) taste of Belgrave we had, we endeavoured to come back in a fortnight or so.

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And thus ends the Easter weekend!

Convent Bakery
Abbotsford Convent
1 Saint Helliers St, Abbotsford
Open 7 days, 7am – 5pm
Grunge Cafe
1696 Burwood Highway, Belgrave
Mon-Fri – 8am – 4.30pm
Sat-Sun – 9am – 4pm

Vegan Market Day

The Sunday before last, Billy and I visited the St Kilda Botanical gardens for the vegan market day organised by Animal Liberation Victoria. It was a beautiful day for it, with no better place to be than out in the sunshine in the gardens, with the smell of vegan food wafting through the air.

We had a little wander around the stalls, picking up some goodies as we went. The first we came across was a stall called ‘A Vegan Smiles’, which was doing cheese along with some other sweet treats like protein bites. By the time we had got there, they had sold out of all the cheese apart from one final pack, so we snapped it up to give it a try.

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This wasn’t bad – it was enjoyable spread on crackers. The consistency was more like a spread than a solid cheese, and it had a very nutritional yeast/garlic/oniony flavour. Because I find it quite easy to make a cheese of that description, I probably wouldn’t get this again. Great to have new local vegan products on the market though!

Next we picked up some sweeties – the lady at the stall we got this from informed us that these were the only smores supplies in Australia at the moment. How could we pass up them after hearing that information?!

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It was pretty yummy – I haven’t had marshmallow in sooooo long, and this wasn’t as sickly sweet as I had suspected it might be. I also got a bag of Dandies marshmallows, as I’ve never tried them.

mark3I know right?! What is this crazy chocolate bar I’ve never seen? I’ll tell you what it is – DELICIOUS. Lovely dark chocolate, with mini marshmallows scattered through it to give it a yummy chewy texture. How have I never seen this before?

Next we wandered over to the area where they had live music, food, and talks happening. Our intention was to get a sausage from the sausage sizzle (how often do I get to say that?) but when we got there they had run out of bread, and it was going to be half an hour until they got more. We had every intention of waiting, but then we wandered down to the other stalls and found some dosas on the go, so opted for them instead.

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These were lovely! Not quite as good as the smokey eggplant ones from Overdosa, but definitely did the job. They were filled with a lovely potato mix, and came with three different chutneys – a coconut based, a chilli, and something else that I can no longer remember (pumpkin?).

After our savoury stop-over, we were ready to tackle the bake sale.

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Unfortunately for us, it seemed that the bake sale had already been tackled – the table was almost bare! We did manage to snap up a profiterole to share, which had apparently won the bake-off. I thought the pastry was a bit heavy, but I loved the crunchy toffee bits.

While we were eating, somehow a plate of doughnuts appeared on the table. We managed to sneak one of the last ones before they disappeared (a matter of minutes)!

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It was lovely – I wish I had ten!

Our final stop was to the coconut ice-cream cart. I’d seen this cart somewhere else not too long ago, but for some reason didn’t indulge. Well I was not going to let that happen again.

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Funky packaging, with a little paddle to eat it with tucked inside the lid. The flavours all sounded amazing, and I managed to sway myself from the usual mint-choc chip (it wasn’t easy) to try something else…

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This was be-a-u-tiful! The flavour was amazing, and unlike some other coconut ice-creams i’ve tried that have been quite hard and icy, this was lovely and creamy. I will never walk past this cart without indulging again!

Finally, it was time to make our way home. The food didn’t end there though – we smooshed up on the couch with a bowl of Red Thai Tofu and Green Beans with Thai Basil from Appetite for Reduction – the perfect way to end our delicious day.

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Spud Bar and Nostralis Pizza

It’s amazing how quickly I’ve gone from being up to date with all my posts to having a backlog. Gah!

I have been pretty busy the last couple of weeks, completing my first fortnight of my new job. The stress and excitement of starting a new job couple with the travel time to and from work have left me feeling pretty tired by the time I get myself home. Hopefully as I start to get into a better rhythm things will start to balance out a little.

The other week Billy and I went to a show at the Corner, and I needed something to fill my tummy before hand. We went for a walk down Swan St and bumped into Spud Bar, which I have never been to before. I’ve heard lots of rave reviews about the place, and so I thought I’d give it a try.

I asked if they were able to do me a vegan potato, which was no problem at all. Spud Bar is sort of like Subway, but with potatoes – in that they have a range of ‘fillings’ and toppings on display, so you can pick and choose what you want. You can also choose between a potato or a sweet potato for your base.

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I just went with a the standard veggie spud topped with hummus and some tomato salsa. This was pretty good at satisfying my need for a simple, fresh meal. I wouldn’t say the flavour was AMAZING, but it was decent. I did slather it with tabasco sauce though to give it a bit of a kick. Mmm spicy.

Later on in the week, we decided to have a pizza and movie night and I was determined to finally try Nostralis Pizza. I have been wanting to try it for everrrr, particularly since Plush Pizza closed (boooo!). Nostralis do wholemeal, exclusively vegetarian pizzas, with stacks of vegan and gluten-free options. They’ve been in the business since 1981 which I thought was pretty darn impressive.

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My apologies for the shocking photos here. After the time it took us to get these pizzas home, there was no time for excellent lighting or production skills.

We ordered the first two pizzas on the list, just because they sounded interesting and different from the typical pizzas that vegans can access. This was the Nostralis Special, with tomato, bean shoots, capsicum, onion, olives, soy beans, pineapple, chili, garlic and herbs. Chaos!

I quite liked this one, though the structural integrity of each slice was seriously compromised by the thick layer of bean sprouts. This was definitely a two hands job. The others were not such big fans, saying it lacked flavour. I suppose with so many bean sprouts they kind of outshone the rest of the ingredients.

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We also got the Vindaloo pizza, which was described as having tomato, cheese, banglore beans, peppers, sultanas, hot spices, bananas, onions and vindaloo curry paste. I didn’t mind this, but I couldn’t find any banana or sultanas which was a little disappointing. Maybe they were blended into the paste? I’m not sure, I couldn’t taste them either. It wasn’t as spicy as I would have liked either.

Both these pizzas were good, but I had hoped for better. HOWEVER, I would love to go back and try some of the more traditional flavours, as I think they might be more suited to my pizza taste buds.  Also, living a fifteen-twenty minute trip from Nostralis meant our pizzas were no longer steaming fresh by the time we got them home, so next time I’d definitely like to dine in, or at least grab them and take them to a nearby park or something. I think they’d be rocking straight out of the oven.
Spud Bar
226 Swan St, Richmond (and various other locations)
Mon – Fri – 11.30am – 9.30pm
Sat – Sun – 11.30am – 9pm

Nostralis Pizza
55 Hawthorn Rd, Caulfield North
Mon – CLOSED
Tues-Sun – 5.30pm – 10pm(ish)

Berrissimo (for the last time)

Bummer to hear that Berrissimo has closed up shop.

And just when I started enjoying it!

Well, I sort of enjoyed it the first time but not as much as I had hoped I would. Yet Billy and I popped in last week to give it another go, this time opting to share a small one between us.

They had some different vegan flavours on offer this time – I think these were peach and strawberry, with those little delicious popping balls and some kind of truffle-y thing. And gosh darnit, they were delicious! Last time we couldn’t eat it all, this time we couldn’t get enough. So fruity, fresh and delicious.

Oh well, hopefully something wonderful will take its place.

Berrissimo CLOSED
2/360 Brunswick St, Fitzroy
Mon-Thurs – 1pm-9.30pm
Fri – 1pm-10.30pm
Sat – 12pm-10.30pm
Sun – 12pm-9.30pm

Afternoon stop-in at Vegie Bar

After a day of wandering around Fitzroy recently, we popped into Vegie Bar for a quick pick-me-up.

I was immediately attracted to a chocolatey dessert in the cabinet. You know, I’m pretty sure this is the FIRST dessert that I’ve had at Vegie Bar? I might have shared a slice of cake years ago, but more than often I come out of the other side of lunch/dinner to even THINK about sweets.

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(Excuse the speckles, it just started to rain)

I didn’t actually read what this was – I saw the V on the card, saw the chocolate/slice/cake and got it. I have to say, I was a little disappointed. Not for lack of flavour, but more because I thought it was a giant Twix and was expecting a biscuity crunchy layer in there.

That aside, this was really delicious. It was a raw dessert, with a rich chocolate fudgy centre. Definitely a great little treat to put a spring back in your step after an afternoon lull.

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And what better to accompany it than an ice coffee?

I actually cannot not order an ice coffee if I see a vegan one on a menu. I just have to have it.

This was definitely one of the better ones I’ve had. It was made with real coffee, and as a result was not sickening sweet like some that I’ve tried. The only sweetness came from the ice cream, which is the way I believe it should be. Yay ice coffee!

Definitely enjoying visiting this old favourite now that I’m back in Melbourne. Check out the last time I visited here.

Vegie Bar
380 Brunswick St, Fitzroy
Mon-Thurs – 11am – 10pm
Fri – 11am – 10.30pm
Sat – 9am – 10.30pm
Sun – 9am – 10pm

Three Bags Full, Abbotsford

A couple of weeks back my Aunty and I were out and about in Abbotsford, and decided to stop in at Three Bags Full for a spot of brunch. I left my Aunty to her own devices and went ahead to check the vegan-friendliness of the menu, and grab a coffee while I waited for her to do what she needed to do.

My first impression of the place was how friendly the staff were. The guy who I first spoke to was super helpful, going through the menu and showing me what I could alter to make it appropriate. This all sounded good, so I ordered a coffee and sat outside to wait for the Aunty. A couple of minutes after sitting down, the guy I initially spoke to came out with menus, and did a ‘re-cap’ of what I could order, which was really lovely and attentive. I felt very welcome.

ImageI went with the smashed avocado on toast with cherry tomatoes, shaved radish and black sesames, minus the Persian feta, because sometimes you just have a hankering for some avo on toast. I liked the addition of radish and black sesame, as the old smashed avo with feta and mint is becoming pretty commonplace among cafes at the moment (don’t get me wrong, I love avocado on toast, but y’know, nice to see a little twist). The second piece of toast was also very welcome. My pet hate is not having enough toast for the meal and having to ration it.

It was fresh, tangy and delicious. My only fault would be that the toast, albeit yum, was so crispy crunchy that I really had difficulties cutting it with knife and fork. Many times I just resorted to the old finger forks, as I couldn’t get through it any other way. No big deal though, I eat with my fingers all the time.

ImageWe also ordered a homemade soda each – mine was passionfruit, vanilla bean and mint and the other was something and rosewater. Both were deliciously light and refreshing.

Apparently there were vegan muffins on offer too, but the smashed avo was perfect for me. I really enjoyed my brunch there, particularly out in the sunshine. As I said, I was very impressed with the staff, who were lovely and attentive even when it got busy through the lunch rush. I’d definitely go back, although I did see on the menu that there are “strictly no changes to the menu on weekends”, which may make it a little more difficult for vegans to find something suitable. But for a mid-week stop-in, this was perfect!

Three Bags Full
Cnr Nicholson and Mollison Sts, Abbotsford
Mon-Fri – 7am – 4.30pm
Weekends & Public Holidays – 8am – 4.30pm