The Resident, Ashburton

Since moving to Tassie, a number of new little cafes have popped up in the suburbs around my parents’ house. The cool vibes of the inner suburbs are definitely making their way further out.

The Resident is a cute little cafe located in the Ashburton shopping strip of High st. It has a nice sunny courtyard out the back, giving the cafe more space than you first expect. It’s right near the train station and on a bike/walking path, making it the perfect stop after a morning stroll.

My mum, aunty and I popped in for brunch one morning, and managed to nab a table out in the sunshine. While there were not a lot of vegan options on the menu (well, none without slight alteration), the staff were very friendly and helpful in explaining what I could and couldn’t have (and checking with the chef when unsure). I ended up doing a mix and match breakfast, picking most of the available vegan options.

ImageIt was far better than I expected! I loved the addition of microgreens, and the mushrooms were beautiful. I’m not often in the mood for a ‘big breakfast’, but I really enjoyed all of this – though was pretty stuffed by the end.

They also do a mean coffee (and have Bonsoy on offer – yay!)

A few weeks later Mum and I went back for lunch. This time I selected from the lunch menu, as last time the person serving us mentioned that the wild rice salad could be made vegan. There is vegetarian bahn mi on the menu, but unfortunately (for me, anyway) they use a brioche bun…sad, because I loooove bahn mis!

Anyway, upon confirming that they could leave out the pomegranate labne, I ordered the wild rice salad with pumpkin, sun dried tomato, king brown mushroom, preserved lemon and fennel seed.

ImageThis was okay, but not amazing. I enjoyed the components, but I guess it was lacking without the pomegranate labne…it really needed just a bit more flavour. A dash of a replacement dressing or something would have been great. Instead I settled for some salt.

In saying that – it wasn’t bad, and I understand that I was the one who made adjustments to the dish so won’t be holding it against them. Until the menu changes though, I think I’ll stick with the brekkie items. I’m just glad there’s a go-to cafe with a bit of charisma in Ashburton now!

The Resident
246 High St, Ashburton
Sat – Thurs – 7am – 5pm
Fri – 7am – 4pm, then 6pm – late

Fitzroy eats: Overdosa and Vegie Bar

Oh my lordy….this is my second last ‘catch-up’ post, and then I will be completely UP TO DATE, for the first time in MONTHS. The excitement is killing me.

So a couple of weeks ago, Billy and I popped over to Fitzroy to visit Overdosa. While we were still traveling I had heard about this magical pop-up dosa place and I was keeping my fingers crossed that it would still be open for us when we returned. As luck would have it, it was – but not for long…this was its last day of business out of the Rose St location.

Unfortunately we weren’t as hungry as I’d hoped we would be for this adventure, but we still managed to sample some of the delights on offer.

ImageThere were three dosas to choose from – potato masala, smokey eggplant with peas and a spicy tamarind pumpkin. I was already set on the smokey eggplant, which we got with a side of coconut chutney and some carrot salad. After the first bite, I knew I’d made the right decision. The dosa was lovely and crispy, and the filling was perfect…just the right amount of smokiness.

ImageBilly ordered a serve of the lentil poppers, with some curd and dill chutney (not vegan). We also got a serve of the chilli chutney, because it was the only one we hadn’t chosen and I felt bad. And also, I love chilli.

These were crispy, fluffy, and super addictive, and perfect with a dunking of chilli.

We really enjoyed both of our choices,and we’re now pretty sold on Overdosa. As I said, unfortunately they are no longer at the Rose St location, but are frequently popping up around town at festivals and bars – keep an eye out on their facebook page to see where they’ll be next. Do yourself a favour and track them down!

Next up: Vegie Bar.

I met a couple of aunties for lunch here one day, as one of them conveniently works right on Brunswick st. We popped over to Vegie Bar to fill our tummies. It was very busy (as usual), but we managed to get a table tucked up the back in a dark little corner.

It’s been a while between visits for me, and the menu has many new and exciting offerings, while still retaining some of the old favourites like roti wraps and pizzas. We were pretty hungry, and everything was looking pretty good, so we decided to get a bunch of plates and share them all.

ImageWe started with some dim sims to snack on. These were super crispy little parcels that did a good job of warding off hunger as we waited for our mains.

ImageNext up, some black bean nachos with pine nut cream, guacamole and jalapenos. Admittedly, these don’t look amazing – but looks can be deceiving. These babies were delicious (plus, who can go past black beans in a Mexican dish…NOT ME).

ImageThis was the raw quiche, which had a really interesting crust that was surprisingly sweet – it had shredded coconut in it and was no doubt something similar to what you would use for a raw dessert. This was not at all what I was expecting, but it worked surprisingly well and it was enjoyed by all.

ImageLastly, the vegan risotto. This was made with a combination of wild and brown rice, and was packed with veggies like corn, sweet potato and red capsicum, and had a beautiful flavour from the ginger, coconut, lemongrass and kaffir lime. Delicious and very filling – I was glad to be sharing this one.

A good majority of Vegie Bar’s current menu is already vegan, with more of it able to be vegan on request. I’m loving the variety of dishes on offer now, with something for everyone. I’ll definitely be back to have a go at some more of the menu (and maybe a dessert!) soon, if I can get a seat.

Overdosa
Various locations around Melbourne – see website

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

Brunswick eats: The Cornish Arms and Tom Phat

A couple of weeks ago, I managed to cram two visits to Brunswick in the one week. Not one to miss a good vegan dining opportunity, I made the most of being over that side of town.

Firstly, I had a much overdue catch up with a lovely friend of mine for a few drinks. After working up our hunger over a few drinks, she recommended we head over to Tom Phat for a bite to eat. The smell when we walked in was amazing, and I was pretty excited to find multiple options clearly marked as vegan on the menu.

We decided to get two dishes and share them both. The first was Nasi Mesantan with tofu fritters, spiced red rice and chilli-tomato sambal.

ImageIt looks a bit like a mish mash of everything here, but let me tell you – these tofu balls were delicious – crispy on the outside, but really light and almost fluffy inside. Loved the spiced rice and sambal too.

ImageThe second dish was off the specials list, and it was a kind of satay tofu and tempeh salad, with strips of roti bread. The addition of roti bread was kind of strange, but very welcome – it was great to dip in the sauce. I loved the texture of the tofu in this one too, it was cooked in thin slabs and had a great chewiness to it.

These were both really substantial meals, and we couldn’t quite get through them both, but that had nothing to do with their tastiness. We both really enjoyed our meal. The service was fast and friendly, and to be honest, I was surprised they let us come in at 9.30-ish on a Sunday night (but totally glad!)

Next up was a visit to the Cornish Arms on one of those scorching summer days. It was one of the ones that was disgustingly hot all day, and then the skies opened in the evening for a downpour. Luckily, we managed to grab a seat outside, but undercover, and we got to watch the lightning show from the front row. It was a little dicey for a moment there as the pub lost power amongst the storminess and we thought our hopes of a feed there were lost, but luckily the outage only lasted five minutes or so.

As I said in my last post, I’m pretty stoked by the masses of vegan pub food appearing everywhere. I love being able to order a parmy and pot, or whatever else takes my fancy. This time, I decided to do something a bit different and order the beer battered fish and chips. This is different for me as I my memories of fish are not very fond, so I wasn’t at all sure whether I would like this or not. It was too novelty for me not to try though…

ImageThe meals here are not for the faint hearted. I was not SUPER hungry, but this was also A LOT of fried food. But that’s what we were there for! I was surprised at how the fish was served – I guess I was expecting flatter ‘fillets’ rather than big chunky balls. Nevertheless, I quite enjoyed it. The to-fish was wrapped in seaweed before being battered, and was accompanied with a convincing tartare sauce. While I found it pretty tasty, I only got through one piece of fish, with Billy taking two for the team and one lonely little guy being left behind.

ImageBilly went with the ‘steak’ sandwich, which consisted of duck seitan, facon, cheez along with some fillings. We swapped a few bites, and both found it thoroughly enjoyable. In my mind I had expected the eggplant chips to be more finger-like in shape, but I loved these crumbed rounds. I could have eaten a whole bowl of them!

This was one of those occasions where we had to let our tummies digest for some time before we even tried to stand up, and Billy declared that he “would never eat again!” As we know from other posts, this has turned out to be untrue, but you understand the sentiment.

The Cornish Arms is a great place for some solid vegan pub food. I’m definitely keen to try some of their other offerings, but I think next time I’ll try and work up a decent appetite before I tackle a whole meal.

Tom Phat
182-184 Sydney Rd, Brunswick
Weekdays – 11am – 10pm
Weekends – 8am – 10pm
Tues – CLOSED

The Cornish Arms
163A Sydney Rd, Brunswick
Kitchen hours (every day):
Lunch: 12pm – 3pm
Dinner: 6pm – 9.30pm
Pizza & Snacks available every day from 3pm – 9.30pm

A day of deliciousness: Admiral Cheng-Ho, Gelato Messina and Reverence Hotel

Yesterday was a good day. Not only did I get to have hangs with Billy and family and see some bands, we also got to eat some really delicious food. What more could I ask for? Good company + good music + good food = happy.

While trying to decide on somewhere to eat, my mum suggested Admiral Cheng-Ho, which she had read about online. I was only too happy with this decision as it was definitely on my ‘to-do’ list after reading about Cindy and Michael’s visit there a couple of weeks ago.

We wandered in for a late-ish lunch and were greeted and seated by the friendly staff there. Looking over the menu there was plenty of deliciousness, and the majority of it was already vegan (with much of the remainder having the option to be). They do an all-day breakfast (yay!) as well as a selection of sandwiches and salads for lunch.

I was pretty sold on the breakfast menu, and though I loved the sound of the quinoa pancakes I was definitely in the mood for something savoury. I (along with most of our party) went with ‘The Admiral’ – zucchini fritters with sauteed kale, seasonal vegetables, tangy beetroot relish and basil cashew cream.

ImageThis was exactly what I could have hoped for. The fritters were light and fluffy, and while they weren’t bursting with flavour on their own, the sides and balsamic drizzle were the perfect accompaniment, offering beautiful zestiness and creaminess. I was slightly apprehensive of the beetroot relish, seeing as though it is not my my most loved vegetable, however the tanginess did a great job at neutralising the sweetness – which is what I think I don’t like about beetroot in the first place. And oh my goodness, the basil cashew cream…whaaaaaat?! This is AMAZING. I need a tub of this to dip everything in. Seriously.

I didn’t grab snaps of the other dishes – the other two both went for the Umami mushrooms on pumpkin, spinach and sundried tomato polenta bread. They had the non-vegan option, which included goats cheese as well as thyme and red chili oil. It looked delicious and had a good reception from both.

While I would have loved to grab a coffee, I just couldn’t face it in the heat. Billy and Ellen had the guys whip them up a specialty iced chai, which was lovely and refreshing, and mum and dad both went for a glass of coconut water. We were all very happy customers, and I’ll no doubt be returning to give the rest of the menu a good try.

After lunch, we went over to Gelato Messina, which mum had been hanging out to go to for some time. There was a bit of a line when we arrived, but it moved fairly quickly and actually gave us a chance to look over the menu which was quite extensive. They had some really interesting flavour combinations, and while the vegan selection was limited to the sorbets, they had some flavours that were far from ordinary.

ImageI couldn’t resist getting three flavours to try, and I went with blood orange, salted coconut with mango salsa, and pear and white balsamic. The flavours were all beautiful, the salted coconut being a stand-out favourite. The balsamic pear was awesome too, tangy and packed with a pear punch.

ImageBilly went with a combo of the salted coconut, passionfruit and chocolate. The chocolate was amazingly rich, and the fruity passionfruit balanced it out nicely. Billy was stoked, claiming it to be the best gelato of his life and then declaring that it would be the last ice-cream he would ever eat, as there would be nowhere to go but down from there. We’ll see about that….

After wandering Smith St for a while, we headed over west to Footscray, as we were going to a show later in the evening. To kill some time, we headed over to the Reverence for a beer and to get out of the sun for a while. After our late lunch, we weren’t super hungry but looking over the menu we thought we had best sample at least something while we were on this side of the city. I am totally loving the surge of vegan pub food available in Melbourne right now. So many options! The menu at the Rev is Mexican-inspired, with a bunch of snack/small plates and larger meals, as well as a selection of pizzas (and a few desserts).

ImageWe went with some taquitos, which were stuffed with vegan chorizo, sweet potato and refried beans and topped with guacamole, lime and tomatillo sauce with a side of chipotle mayo. HOLY MOLY. These were SO FREAKING GOOD. It was like an explosion of delicious in my mouth. Neither of us had ever had a taquito before, but this will definitely not be the last. We raved about these allllll night. And even today. All we have been doing is planning our next feasible time to visit the Rev for more food.

ImageObviously we couldn’t have bar snacks without the spicy shoestring fries (with chipotle lime mayo). To be honest, neither of us could detect much chipotle or lime in the mayo, but we enjoyed the creaminess nonetheless. The fries were generously seasoned which I love. They were gone in a flash.

And so ends our day of delicious eats!


Admiral Cheng-Ho
325 Johnston St, Abbotsford
Mon-Fri – 6am – 4pm
Sat-Sun – 8am – 5pm

Gelato Messina
237 Smith St, Fitzroy
Sun-Thurs – 12pm – 11pm
Fri-Sat- 12pm – 11.30pm

Reverence Hotel
28 Napier St, Footscray
Kitchen Hours:
Mon – CLOSED
Tues – $3 Tacos only, from 6pm
Wed-Sat – 6pm – 10pm
Sun – from 3pm

A few more W.A. eats

I am fairly certain that this is the last in the backlog of Western Australia posts that I’ve got to catch up on (then it’s on to the Melbourne backlog…). This won’t be highly detailed as it’s been a while now, but I just wanted to give a quick mention to these two places that we ate at while over that side.

Firstly, we headed down to Dunsborough for a day trip with the hopes of heading to Samudra for breakfast. I’d been to Samudra the previous time I was down and was so impressed by the quality of food, not to mention the amazing range of vegan, raw and gluten-free options that were available. On top of that, Samudra contains a yoga studio, eco-clothing store and wellness centre, all nestled in a beautiful gardened area.

Unfortunately it was not meant to be, as we arrived to find it closed for renovations. This was the second time we were turned away, as last time I had tried to share the joys of the place with Billy, we were turned away due to a private function. Sighhhh. Oh well.

We wandered around until we found a little cafe called Rabbits Surf Cafe. While there was nothing vegan on the menu, the staff there advised us that we could mix and match a few things to make up a suitable breakfast, so we decided to do that. We both went with a cooked brekkie of toast, tomatoes, mushrooms, spinach and avocado.

dunsborough1

Billy really enjoyed this, and demolished it in no time at all. I have to admit that I was still a little disheartened by not getting to have breakfast at Samudra and that probably affected my enjoyment of the meal. Nothing about this was bad, but I had been prepping myself for some delightful buckwheat pancakes or raw muesli or something of the sort. This was pretty much the standard breakfast you get from a place that doesn’t have vegan options.

I shouldn’t be down on it though – we were accommodated really well and it was certainly a decent and filling breakfast. Billy had a coffee on the side, and I went with a green smoothie.

dunsborough2

This was tasty, but I wish places wouldn’t serve drinks in plastic cups when you are eating in – it seems wasteful. A glass would have been much preferable.

While in Mandurah we also went out to dinner to a place called Catch 22, which is on one of the wharfs. It has a little bit of a ‘fancier’ vibe to it, and prices to match.

We had a really friendly girl serving us, who was very helpful, cheerful and patient with us, and explained to me what could be altered on the menu to suit my requirements (I believe she was vegan as well). It even said at the bottom of the menu in fine print to advise staff of any dietary requirements so that they could assist us to the best of their ability, which was nice. For me, the best option seemed to be the vegetable stack. It sounded pretty delicious, so I was sold easily. Here is a terrible photo of it.

catch22
Okay, so the good…I loved the texture of the creamy potato, and the juicy flavour of the mushrooms topped with chives. I freaking love chives.

However, firstly, the dish was brought to me with feta cheese on top (as it is listed on the menu). I advised the waitress who apologised profusely and took it away. The dish came back with one mushroom removed from the top (the one with all the cheese on it). It was not replaced with another one, and there were still a few smidgens of cheese on the dish. I am not one to make a big deal, so I continued with my meal, however, if I was actually allergic…this may have been a problem.

I was one bite away from finishing what was a fairly tasty meal. I put the last mouthful in, only to chew down on a sharp piece of plastic, about 2cm long. Not the most pleasant surprise…it could have at least been a gold coin or something. This was really quite disappointing – I’ve never before found a plastic shard in a meal at a restaurant. I understand how easily this could have broken off a container, but still…not enjoyable.

Again, I advised the waitress who was even more apologetic, and came back with complimentary coffee. It was a nice gesture, and quite a decent meal, but I have to say I would probably not return. This is more to do with the fact that there was not much else suitable that appealed to me on the menu than the mistakes that were made (everybody makes mistakes!), but they definitely did impact on the experience.

Rabbits Surf Cafe
9/28 Dunn Bay Rd, Dunsborough W.A
Mon – Sun – 8am – 8.30pm

Catch 22 Restaurant
Unit 1/4 Zephyr Mews, Mandurah W.A
Mon – 10.30am – 5pm
Tues – Sat – 10.30am – 9pm
Sun – 8am – 9pm

Bunbury eats: Natural Temptation and The Plant Organic Cafe & Market

Another blast from the past post, jumping in the time machine and rewinding a few months back to when we passed through Bunbury.

After our drive back up from Albany with our brand spanking new (second hand) engine, I was keen to stop in at a new place I’d heard about called The Plant Organic Cafe and Market. As the name suggests, The Plant is a cafe that also offers a range of organic fresh produce and grocery items. It’s a neat and inviting little set up on the corner of an arcade, and there are a couple of funky little tables outside along the arcade.

When we arrived, we found out that it had only been open a week or two, and they didn’t have any lunch items on the menu yet. Never fear though, there was a selection of raw cakes and smoothies on offer that looked and sounded incredible, so we decided to go and grab lunch elsewhere and come back for the cake.

As I had spent quite a bit of time in Bunbury one year prior to this visit (while completing my uni placement), I was fairly familiar with the town and remembered that there was a place just up the road called Natural Temptation that had several vegan options on offer.

I’m going to be honest – I was more eating lunch out of maturity than anything else, because by now I just wanted to eat cake. Nevertheless, we found some raw wraps that sounded pretty good and Billy and I got one each.

Image
These were listed on the menu as being filled with lime slaw, beet and greens, and dressed with capsicum avocado guacamole. It sounded pretty good. Unfortunately, I couldn’t really determine the flavour of the lime slaw or the capsicum avocado guacamole – if they were in fact in there at all.

I enjoy raw food, but Billy usually has to be convinced by something particularly impressive, and this just didn’t make the cut. And I would have to agree that this was quite bland. Kind of the equivalent of a salad roll from the bakery. It’s salad, in a roll….not much more can be said. This was a bit of a shame, as the year before when we had visited I’m sure we had eaten something tasty.

It was also kind of disappointing to see it come out wrapped in plastic cling wrap. It kind of negates the biodegradable napkin underneath, and I don’t really think it’s a great way to serve something to customers who are dining in.

Edit 30/01/15: I was recently contacted by someone at Natural Temptation to advise that they have ditched the plastic wrapping and revised the dressings in the wrap. How good is that? I love when businesses take on board feedback from their customers, especially when it benefits the environment too. Way to go Natural Temptation 🙂

Aaanyway, after lunch we headed straight back to The Plant to get us some of that cake. There were three cakes on offer, so we immediately had to eliminate one from the mix.

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Billy immediate went for the white chocolate raspberry cheesecake, and can you blame him? Look at that beauty! And after much deliberation, I chose the nut free banana mousse cake.

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Now I have eaten many a raw cake in my time, but let me tell you this – these cakes have got to be some of the best. Seriously.

I was completely in love with the banana mousse…it was so light and silky for a raw dessert, and packed with banana-y goodness and flavour. Luckily for me, Billy liked his own cheesecake better and for once we didn’t end up having food envy of one another and swapping plates halfway through. That’s not to say I didn’t like the cheesecake – it was absolutely divine. But having cake so soon after lunch, the lighter banana mousse cake was just what I needed.

Billy also got a smoothie – I think of the banana description. It’s been so long I can barely remember. I remember it being good though.

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The service at the Plant was fantastic, the guys there are super friendly and willing to have a chat, and make you feel very welcome in the space. As we got up to leave, the one we had initially spoken to on the way in was packing us up a piece of the final cake (choc-coconut) for the road. He claimed it was because it was the end of the day and the cakes would get thrown out, but I suspect he is just a super nice person.

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I doubt I need to tell you how great this was, so I won’t go on….but I will tell you for your own good – if you are ever in the Bunbury area, go visit The Plant and taste their incredible cakes. You won’t be sorry!

I can’t wait to get back there and see what else they’re doing. Keep up the good work guys!

Natural Temptation
47 Stephen St, Bunbury W.A
Mon – Fri – 7.30am – 5.30pm (until 6.30pm on Thursdays)
Sat – 8am – 4pm

The Plant Organic Cafe & Market
Shop 1, 20 Stephen St, Bunbury W.A
Tues – Sat – 9am – 5pm (until 6pm on Thursdays)

Random eats around Melbourne

Treats that I have enjoyed since returning to Melbourne (a short summary)

1. Mister Nice Guy’s Bakery, Prahran

ImageI finally got to visit this place!

When I left Melbourne, I think Mister Nice Guy’s were operating only as cupcake stockists for other places like Las Vegan Bakery and the Radical Grocery. I was so excited when I found out they had extended into two of their own locations AND started doing savoury stuff too. I grabbed this BLT bagel to take home and toast, and it didn’t disappoint. I’m not even sure if I’ve had a bagel before, this may well have been my first one. I’ll definitely be back for another.

ImageObviously I couldn’t leave without taking a few cupcakes with me. I grabbed one of every mini one they had left that afternoon, and from memory I think these were along the lines of vanilla/lavendar, red velvet, white chocolate macadamia, orange and gingerbread. My surprise favourite would probably have to be the vanilla/lavendar…the icing was just divine, with such delicate flavour.

Image

A few days later when my Mum and were doing some Christmas organising, we stopped in at the Prahran markets and I couldn’t walk past without grabbing these minis, as they weren’t present on my first visit. Peanut butter choc and peppermint choc. Yum!


2. Botanical Cuisine 

ImageI had seen the Botanical Cuisine range start popping up left right and centre but was yet to try any, particularly as while living in the van we didn’t have the most reliable source of refrigeration. Finally the time came! The Tiramisu-ish was okay, but I think I was put off as the first jar I bought had gone off. I took it back and got it replaced, but I couldn’t get the initial fizzy flavour out of my brain or taste buds. The walnut cheese, on the other hand, was amazing and featured prominently in a couple of Christmas lunch dishes, as well as snacks.


3. Loving Earth

ImageAnother thing I had been hanging out to try – the new white chocolate caramel block! I’m not entirely sure why, as I never had a huge thing for white chocolate, but this just seemed exciting so I jumped on board. It was nice, but I definitely prefer the dark chocolate flavours – this one was just a bit too sweet. Doesn’t mean I won’t eat it again though…


4. Berrissimo

ImagePopped in here while wandering Brunswick st one day and got this banana split/chocolate mousse combo with strawberries. I was impressed by the five or so vegan flavours available here. First taste, I enjoyed it, however after a while I realised that I had bitten off more than I could chew, even with a small. That’s not to say it’s a bad thing – the size and price are quite generous, but I wish Billy and I shared one instead of getting one each as I couldn’t finish this and Billy only did so begrudgingly. Granted, we’d had lunch and beers not long before, so perhaps on an empty stomach we could put up a better fight.


5. Bokchoy Tang stall

ImageMy Mum and I stumbled upon a mini food festival in Fed square one weekend when we went into the city. Bokchoy Tang had a little stall, and were doing these veggie buns, of which we got a plate of four to share. What I loved about these was the fact that you could distinguish one part from the other in the filling – it wasn’t all unrecognisable mush. These were nice and fresh and packed with greens, and I loved the generous amount of sesame seeds in them.

We also shared some steamed edamame with chili salt from Chocolate Buddah, but I forgot to capture them.


6. Madecasse chocolate

ImageChocolate + spice. Need I say more?


7. Wedding

ImageImageImageI went to a beautiful friend’s lovely wedding, and was catered for so amazingly. I always feel like a bit of a burden at events like this, but this meal made me feel special, hehe.


8. ABC butter

ImageCh-ch-ch-ch-ch- h-check it out! My first nut butter in my new blender. This is almond, brazil nut and cashew and it is deeeeelicious!


9. Smoothie

ImageImageAnd of course, smoothies in the blender! This one is apple, pineapple, cucumber, kale, lime juice and cayenne pepper. It’s a wake up kick!


10. Grace Cafe

ImageImagePopped into a friend’s cafe for a coffee with my Aunty and my friend Liz from I Spy Plum Pie, and being late in the afternoon we pretty much had the whole place to ourselves. It was charming and cosy sitting outside in the opened out shipping container, and they even had a vegan chocolate zucchini cake on offer. How could I not?!


11. Raw Caramel Slice

ImageAnd lastly, I whipped another batch of my raw caramel slice because, well, it’s DELICIOUS. My whole family loves it, not to mention everybody I’ve given some to sample, so I think this one will definitely be on the repeat list. Mmmm caramel….

Mister Nice Guy’s Bakeshop
Stall 98B, Prahran Market
163 Commerical Road, South Yarra
Tues, Thurs, Fri & Sat – 9am-5pm
Sun – 10am-3pm
(Closed Mon, Wed and public holidays)

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

Grace Cafe
76 Rose St, Fitzroy
Mon-Fri – 7am-4pm
Sat-Sun – 8am-5pm

Playing catch-ups: Ravens Coffee and around Denmark, W.A

I have a bunch of food slash places that I want to share with you that we ate at back in Western Australia. I know, that was sooooo last year. But I’m going to start working my way through the backlog so that I can start being in the present again.

After our van troubles and our decision to NOT drive across the Nullabor, I was a bit sad at not getting to explore the bottom part of W.A, something I was so looking forward to. Luckily for me, when we sourced a new engine for the van, it happened to be located in Albany, which I reckon is close to being one of the most southern parts of W.A.

This meant a trip down there, a short stay, and a meandering journey back. It was really cool, because we got to drive through the town my mum was born in (Mt. Barker) and also spend a little bit of time in one of the towns my dad lived in as a child (Denmark). South Western Australia is so freaking beautiful, and while I’m bummed at the lack of time we got to spend there, I know I’ll be back.

We arrived in Denmark first thing in the morning, and I’d heard rumours of a great cafe called Ravens Coffee, who specialise in raw food as well as, well, coffee. I was so excited to eat some delicious food, and let me tell you, I was not let down.

ImageRavens Coffee has a really great vibe, with plenty of indoor and limited outdoor seating. It was a beeeaauutiful morning, so we jumped at the chance to sit out in the sunshine.

First up, coffees. There are a variety of non-dairy milks on offer here, so we decided to try something a little different from the regular soy and settled on hazelnut milk. I love the combination of hazelnut and coffee…what an aroma.

ImageWhile not exclusively vegan or even vegetarian, the majority of the menu is vegan (hoorah!) and we had a hard time choosing as there were so many tempting things on offer. In the end settled on two dishes to share.

First up, the buckies – an organic superfood cereal mix of activated buckwheat, pepitas and almonds, maca, mesquite,cinnamon, cacao, white mulberries, and dried fruit, with fruit compote on top and doused in hazelnut milk.

ImageI loved the presentation of this dish, it looked so beautiful with the swirl of compote and the sprig of mint that I almost didn’t want to spoil it by eating it. Almost.

The different textures in this were amazing, the chewiness of the fruits and the crunch of the nuts and seeds were a perfect combination. Textures, flavour, aesthetics…it was all there! The mint garnish tasted so good with it all that we ripped it into tiny pieces and spread it throughout.

ImageNext up the ‘fruit and sprinkles’ – a combination of seasonal fruits topped with organic spirulina crunchies, raw organic chocolate sauce and cacao crunchies.

Oh. My. God. That chocolate sauce….you have no idea.

Billy and I were raving about it the whole time we were eating it. It was quite possibly the best thing I’ve ever tasted.

I loved the idea of the spirulina crunchies – I’m not sure what the deal was there – potentially dehydrated? Whatever the case, they were great, and I’m such a fan of eating with my hands that I loved grabbing and dipping the fruit chunks.

I honestly could have stayed here all day, as there was a cabinet full of delicious treats like raw pizza, wraps, desserts, etc., but alas, we had to move on. We wandered around the gorgeous little town for a while before heading up the road to Greens Pool which is a must see when visiting Denmark.

ImageThe water was crystal clear and stunning. Again, we could have spent the day here, although this time it was the weather that sent us on our way. Hard to believe from these pictures, but not long after a windy stormlet (I say stormlet as it wasn’t quite big enough to be a full blown STORM) cruised in and sent everyone on the beach running.

ImageWe wanted to do the Valley of the Giants Treetop walk, but it was too wet by the time we got there so again, we resigned to doing it some other time. We still had a look around the area while we were there.

ImageAfter heading through Walpole, we went north towards Manjimup. While we didn’t get a chance to visit THE big tree in Pemberton, we found many others along the way.

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Ooh it’s getting late so I think I’ll leave it there for today, but I’ve got some more yumminess to share with you hopefully tomorrow. Until then! X

Ravens Coffee
1/7 South Coast Highway, Denmark W.A
Open 7 days – 8am – 6pm

Taste and Graze, Mandurah

After some time spent in Perth, we scooted off down south to Mandurah to stay with my Granny for a while. I lived with Granny for about four months last year while completing my uni placement, so it felt very much like coming home. I took up residence in ‘my’ room as though I’d never been gone!

I love Mandurah and all the memories from spending time down here as I grew up – walking or driving along the foreshore always bring them flooding back, even as the town transforms. One more recent addition to the foreshore is the Taste and Graze CafĂ© and Restaurant. Well, sort of. When I enquired about how long they had been in business, I was told that prior to being Taste and Graze, they were the Stiff Chilli and only occupied half the space they take up now. The recent renovations have seen them open right up with plenty of indoor as well as on-street dining.

Mandurah has never offered a huge range of options for vegan dining, so I wasn’t getting my hopes up upon entering the cafĂ© to peruse the menu. However, I was pleasantly surprised. While there was not a HEAP, there were certainly options (and potential ones with a few adjustments). We decided to stay for lunch.

I started with a green smoothie – can’t go wrong with that. I think it may have had peach or nectarine and passionfruit, but my memory fails me (boy, I need to start taking lunch notes or something!)

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Then after confirming its suitability, I ordered the quinoa salad with raisins, avocado, celery, tomato, carrot and baby spinach.

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We had a slight miscommunication – I was brought out the chicken and quinoa salad (different item on the menu) as opposed to the veg one, but this was very quickly rectified (impressively so!) and there were no hard feelings on my part.

This was a super filling lunch, without being too heavy. There wasn’t a strong flavoured dressing on the salad, but this allowed the sweetness of the raisins and the flavours of the vegetables to shine through. Nice, fresh, wholesome and crunchy. I really enjoyed it.

So much so, that about a week later we went back for another spot of lunch. Again, I had a green smoothie – this time with banana and mango.

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I followed with a light lunch – a warm green bean, asparagus and broad bean salad with toasted walnuts (minus the crumbled feta).

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This was lovely! I could see how feta would really work with this – I’d love to do it with a tofu or cashew cheese, but honestly it was delicious without too.  I can’t really fault it.

Wow, I just noticed how green all my meals were here – yum! We did grab a few little bliss balls to take away for afternoon tea too which aren’t pictured – they were yummy with a beautiful flavor from the toasted sesame seeds they were rolled in.

Taste and Graze is certainly a welcome addition to Mandurah, offering some great food that isn’t found anywhere else in this seafood dominated town. You can definitely see the Melbourne influence in this little cafĂ© (and it’s not a bad thing). It is on the pricier side of things, but I’m not completely sure if that’s just W.A. these days as everything seems to be getting more expensive (did I mention the $12 pint of beer I had?!).

I’d love to see what they keep doing here, hopefully a few more veg items circulate the menu as I’d be happy to come back and taste them next time I’m in Mandurah.

Taste and Graze Café and Restaurant
Shop 3/16 Mandurah Terrace, Mandurah WA
Wed – 9am-5pm
Thurs-Fri – 9am-late
Sat – 8am-late
Sun – 9am-5pm

Loving Hut, Victoria Park

Arghhh, just came on to do a new post and realised that this one was saved as a draft and never published. I’ll pop this up and another one will be very soon to come….

Before I continue on my backlog rampage, I just wanted to take a moment to say a big THANK YOU to all the folks who have nominated me for awards in the last couple of months. At this stage, I haven’t formally accepted any on my blog. As you can see, I’m having enough trouble just keeping up with my own posts at the moment! But I wanted to say how grateful I am to be nominated – I never thought when I started this blog earlier this year that I would have so many wonderful followerss from all over the world who would take the time to read my ramblings. ❤

Onto the next eats.

We had some time to kill while we had a window seal replaced on our van, and thought – what better way to kill it than with food? Enter Loving Hut.

Loving Hut is a chain of vegan restaurants, with locations all over the world! While offering mostly Asian style cuisine, each restaurant tends to have their own style and ‘specialties’, with the common goal of serving affordable food that encourages a peaceful and harmonious lifestyle.

We visited last year and enjoyed the raw mango wraps we had so much that we wanted to go back and try something else. They have a range of hot foods (curries, veg dishes, etc) and raw foods, but this time, Billy couldn’t resist the lure of a hot pie. He went with the ‘Aussie’.

ImageThis was a good mock up of a meaty pie, with a chewy tvp based filling. The top was kind of strange – not a flaky pastry but as though it had been cooked in a sandwich press – but still delicious! We are not entirely sure what the Aussie flavour of a pie is supposed to be – I kind of pictured egg and bacon, but there was none of that in sight. Regardless, it was yum.

I resisted my urge to get a pie too, as I had my eye on a piece of quiche in the cabinet.

ImageYum! This was a lovely version of a quiche, full of kale and topped with some tomato and a slice of Notzarella. The pastry was great too, and there was the option of having a gluten free crust if desired too.

Last visit, most dishes were offered with a side salad. This time, they had introduced a salad bar to the cafe, where there were about five or six different salads that you could choose from or mix and match. I’m not sure how I felt about this. I liked having the options of different salads, though I wished you could pick some to come out on your plate with your meal. Instead, you had to purchase a salad container which you could fill up as you pleased. I suppose there needs to be some kind of portion control. It sort of felt like being in the 90’s back at Sizzler or Pizza Hut, and the salad bar was in a strange position over near the window. Anyway…

ImageI can’t remember what each salad was, I got a little of everything. There was a pumpkin quinoa one, a pineapple and tempeh one, one with tofu and eggplant and I think some sort of chickpea kale salad. Anyway, they were all nice, and I have to admit I enjoyed being able to taste so many different salads rather than just a standard side green one.

Now, the moment we had been waiting for. We had spotted the sundaes on the menu on our way in, and there was no way these were going to escape our grasp. We ordered one berry and one cookies and cream one to share.

ImageI think our eyes were a bit bigger than our tummies here, and one would have really been enough. As much as I want to say we liked the berry one better, it was all about the cookies and cream, with the layer of crushed oreos. The berry one was okay, but the berries were all frozen – I think it would have been far nicer with fresh or at least thawed ones.

The softserve was great, the sauces were that cheap sugary style, and I wasn’t a huge fan of the sweet coconut whipped cream on top. It sure satisfied some sweet cravings, but it wasn’t the greatest sundae in the world. To each their own though!

I found it disappointing that they had reduced their already tiny mini-mart to only a few shelf items and a refrigerator/freezer. I had intended to pick up a few things, including some Cheezly, but they were no longer on offer. They have quite a few cold items – their own pies, Tofutti cream cheeses and icecreams, Sweet and Sara marshmallows (which I am still yet to try) and Notzarella, but it’s definitely less than last time. They didn’t disappoint with their range of cakes at the counter though, and while we intended to take some back to Nanna and Grandads for dessert, after our sundaes we couldn’t face another sweet thing.

Loving Hut is definitely worth a visit, the food is nice and the staff are nicer. They have a restaurant nearby in Vic Park which is open for dinners too, though I’ve never been. Will have to add it to the list for next time.

Loving Hut
366 Albany Highway, Victoria Park
Mon-Fri – 11.30am-2.30pm
Sat-Sun – 10am-4.30pm