A vegetarian in Melbourne
Melbourne would have to be Australia’s most cosmopolitan and multicultural city, and is famous for its wide breadth of cuisines. Streets and alleyways throughout Melbourne are crammed with eateries, restaurants, cafés and bakeries, all boasting a never-ending list of choices – Vietnamese, Italian, Greek, Lebanese, Chinese, Indian…The list goes on! As much as Melbourne is famous for gastronomical experiences, there are plenty of destinations throughout town that happily welcome vegetarians and vegans whether exclusively or alongside meat-based menus. Melbourne offers an endless list of destinations for anyone embarking on a vegetarian foodie tour, no matter what time of day or night.
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Head to the outer fringes of Melbourne to The Dandenongs and arrive at Earthly Pleasures in Belgrave. Dine on a generous serve of scrambled tofu within this converted bluestone heritage house. Closer to the inner city, there’s Red Robyn in bustling Camberwell. Enjoy items from a seasonal menu such as a hearty bowl of savoury quinoa with polenta chips or fluffy pancakes topped by rhubarb stew. Another must-try is the all-day breakfast menu at Bear Café in Fitzroy. Opt for The Big Bear Breakfast and a cup of their outstanding coffee to power you through your travelling day.
A long list of menu choices await back in Camberwell at A Caterpillar’s Dream – salad wraps, burgers, Chinese inspired hot dishes and all-day breakfast items that can double up as lunch. Make sure to leave a spot in the tummy for a sweet choice from their desserts cabinet like a vanilla slice or cupcake. Head north of the border to Collingwood where Mexican haunt Trippy Taco dishes out burritos, quesadillas and tacos in a flash. If it’s a cold, rainy afternoon and you’re in search of a pub meal and beer, then The Cornish Arms in Brunswick is a sure belly-warmer. Australian pub-food classics come with a mock meat twist here – “chicken” parmagianas and “fish” and chips, served with a decent pint of Coopers Pale Ale will fill up the weariest of travellers. A serve of moreish eggplant chips can’t be overlooked.
Melbourne vegetarian institution Shakahari is a must for any Melbourne vegetarian foodie. Choices are abundant, from satay skewers to filling salads and hot pots, while their dessert menu aims to please. The Zen Celadon Claypot and Tofu Crème Caramel is a delicious two-course combination. The Reverence Hotelin Footscray is another cosy pub location with a Mexican-inspired menu. Squeeze in a burrito and chocolate empanadas then linger into the later hours for live, underground music. Smith & Daughters in Fitzroy is another big-hitter on Melbourne’s Mexican/Spanish culinary front, though be sure to book ahead. If you’re tempted by raw food, then Shokuiku’s set dinner-menu nights are a real treat. Their Japanese-influenced meals change monthly, so take a friend and order one of everything to try! Yong Green Food in Fitzroy is another esteemed destination offering raw choices. For more surprises, join the queue early to get a table at Moroccan Soup Bar. Moroccan stews and dips are served randomly, so you never know what you’re going to get on any night of the week. Their mint tea and Turkish delights are divine.
Sweets, Treats and In-Between Snacks
Any traveller must take the lead of the locals and try as many sweets and treats as possible. Pana Chocolate in Richmond sells its famed raw chocolate bars as well as a cabinet of delectable desserts to calm the mid-afternoon sugar cravings. For more sweets, catch a tram into South Yarra for towers of cupcakes at Mr Nice Guy. A range of treats, baked fresh daily, can be found such as the ever-classic chocolate babka. La Panella Bakery in Preston churns out the essentials in Australian baked goods – vanilla slices, hot jam doughnuts, lamingtons and savoury pies. Gelato connoisseurs can get scoops of cool love at Gelato Messina in Collingwood – voted Australia’s best gelato. Almost a third of their innovative flavours are vegan so be sure to try their signature flavours such as Pandan and Coconut. Bellisimo!