The Merri Clan in Preston

The Merri Clan showed up on my radar thanks to an Instagram photo I saw of an amazing looking pile of poffertjes. Better yet was this pile of poffertjes being sortof down the road from me in Preston. I used to live in Amsterdam and haven’t had vegan versions of the famous Dutch little pancakes yet. I really need to get on to making my own recipe seeing as I lugged a cast iron poffertjes pan over on my final trip home.

So I did that thing where I didn’t read the entire menu because a) I had hungry kids with me and my youngest was already attacking those sachets of sugar on the table and b) as soon as I saw vegan nachos with black beans and the fully loaded option of the vegan poffertjes I really didn’t feel a need to read the whole menu. I was confident I chose well and choose well I did.

These nachos (vegan option $18.50) are hands down the best vegan nachos I’ve tried anywhere. It’s a big serve with loads of guacamole and really good black beans. Lovers of coriander, like me, will be happy but if you’re not a fan perhaps ask if they can leave it off. I loved everything about this dish. I can’t even remember the exact details and haven’t yet found the menu online, but from the ingredients alone I’d say it’s also gluten free:

My daughter ordered one of the vegan muffins on the counter, which were either berry vanilla or apple cinnamon. This is the berry muffin:

These fully loaded poffertjes (25 pieces, $18.00 I think) were excellent. The fully loaded option comes with all the toppings. There was a maple cashew cream, nutella style cream, candied pecans and berry compote. A fantastic option for vegan pancake meal lovers:

The Merri Clan is conveniently located right by a route #11 tram stop. Service was friendly and it’s nice and comfy inside with some armchair/couch seating towards the back. I didn’t get pics of the inside but we sat at a table by the front window.

I’m always happy to see kickass vegan options on menus where there has been clear thought put in to the offerings and where the vegan options are a standout. Both the nachos and poffertjes ticked those boxes.

The Merri Clan

15 Gilbert Road





Lunches At Loving Hut Richmond

I haven’t been to Loving Hut Richmond in AGES. A birthday lunch was on the same day as the Queen’s Birthday public holiday, so most places were closed. Not our faithful Loving Hut Richmond. A second bonus was that we found parking right away, just opposite. That’s never happened before. Thank you Your Majesty!

The Richmond menu is different to the Northcote Loving Hut, and for me each has some excellent dishes I’d return for.

First up were the fried spring rolls. My son likes fried entree things and these were your nice little regular fried spring rolls:

We also got some steamed dumplings for our entree. Nice and freshly made:

The menu has changed a little from when I last visited. My sister beat me to the Royal Rendang. This was excellent. Truthfully, I was a little nervous about the soy fillet ‘beef’ because when I bought some of the dried version myself and rehydrated it, it was awful and tasted heavily of soy. More a strong soy milk taste. This Loving Hut meal had none of the soy taste. A stand out:

My son ordered the Mongolian BBQ. This was also really good and wasn’t way sweet:

I chose the lemongrass chili tofu. I didn’t know what this would be like, other places have tofu cubes deep fried so it’s crispy. This dish was different though, with a much softer tofu and a lot of it. This is a great dish for sharing, I wouldn’t get it for myself again but for sharing, absolutely:

We got a fried rice to share which was also pretty good:

My son was apparently not able to fit the veggies in to his stomach but had no problem ordering the sundae, which had a three scoops option we shared. It’s the soy So Good icecream. I wished there was more sauce though:

Here are some pics of what I had the last time I went to Loving Hut Richmond aaaages ago. I don’t know if these dishes are still on the new menu: 

I used to be in Richmond every few weeks and would often stop at Loving Hut for a meal. I miss those days and although I’m way spoilt now with more vegan options closer to me, I still miss lunches at Loving Hut Richmond.

Loving Hut Richmond

10/242 Victoria Street




In My Kitchen May 2017

I haven’t done the last couple of IMK posts, and this one is a showcase of stuff that has been in my kitchen over the past few months.

Ben & Jerry’s released new vegan flavours last year some time, and four of those flavours have made it to Australia, with a way expensive price tag to boot. I’d gone to Prahran Convenience here in Melbourne to stock up on foods for Easter and these were the only two vegan Ben & Jerry’s flavours available. I had really wanted the peanut butter! The chunky monkey flavour is banana with choc chunks and walnut pieces. It was okay but really, I can make my own that tastes similar (dare I say better) and of course a fraction of the price: frozen banana nicecream with a little almond milk, toasted walnuts and some chocolate.

When I tried the chocolate fudge brownie flavour I wasn’t that impressed. I’m not usually a fan of chocolate, unless it’s something really good like the vegan chocolate flavours at Miinot Gelato in Pascoe Vale South. So this was a regret-purchase until I had a brainwave, and mixed in some PB2 powdered peanut butter. Then it was excellent:One of my purchases for Easter lunch was this awesome lemon dill cashew cheese made by Botanical Cuisine. This is just so good, I couldn’t take it home because I knew I’d finish it in a few hours. Love it and it’s very lemony too:

My other Easter lunch contribution was this Field Roast roast, which was quite nice:

Jerry’s Burgers have often had a stall at some events I’ve been to and I have always said I’ll buy a burger the next time I see the stall. This time I picked up these frozen patties from Prahran Convenience. These were nice plain-ish lentil based patties and I liked that they weren’t heavily flavoured because I had one more Mediterranean style, and another with Japanese sauces and gomasio:I’ve never tried any Suzy Spoon’s Vegetarian Butcher products, and a visit to Sydney would definitely include some purchases!I’ve bought this Viana veggie gyros before and liked it in a wrap souvlaki/gyros style. I’m not too big on buying mock meats but as a once in a while thing, this is okay:These sage and marjoram VegiDeli sausages were just okay, I’m sure I liked them much more in the past. Still good as a sausage sizzle though!Keeping it local with Zebra Dream’s peanut butter chocolate flavour. I love Zebra Dream icecream and this was really nice:Preston market (why do markets and supermarkets insist on cucumbers in plastic wrap?!). I’ll always get the hot jam donuts from the van at Preston market (100% plant based) so I probably took this photo while waiting for donuts 🙂

In My Kitchen is a monthly blog link up that is currently being hosted by Sherry at Sherry’s Pickings. I’m submitting this blog post of mine for May 2017. While not a vegan-specific event, anyone can join in and you can also discover new blogs, recipes, products, etc!


What I Ate: Greek Easter 2017 Edition

Easter Sunday lunch was a quiet affair at my Mum and Dad’s. Usually I like to make something special but this year I pretty much had zero energy to think of what I could make from scratch. Instead, I headed down to Prahran Convenience Store and came back home with a Field Roast and I put in a request for my sister to buy some Funky Pies when she went to (the store formerly known as) Global Green Vegetarian Food Mart in Braybrook.

Mum made her usual roast potatoes and pumpkin and of course, gigantes (Greek baked beans. You can find my recipe here):

My plate has a distinct lack of green. We had tossed up making a salad (boom tish) but decided mehhh, we had enough food already. I had the Mexican flavoured Funky Pie and the Field Roast:

For dessert, Mum made the vegan version of kourabiethes, which is pretty much a Greek shortbread made with almonds. I really need to blog this recipe but I’m terrible with shaping the crescent shapes, so I’ll have to wait til I go to Mum’s so I can photograph the process (and wash my tea cup properly):

Preston Market had a Greek Festival Day the week before Easter, with some food stalls, music and dancing. One of the stalls was Honeydee Loukoumades. Loukoumades/loukoumathes, or Greek donuts, are traditionally finished with honey and walnuts but Honeydee responded to customers asking about vegan options and provide a cinnamon sugar option. These were delicious:

Some pics of the dancing with traditional Greek costumes: No visit to Preston Market is complete without the hot jam donuts, but I was likely too busy stuffing my face to take a proper photo.


New Vegan Menu At The Pancake Parlour

The Pancake Parlour is a long time (since 1965) family restaurant chain and one of those places etched in to the memories of many a Melburnian. Nothing on the menu was vegan, until now. The Pancake Parlour management has listened to customer feedback, as well as feedback from staff who were telling head office people kept coming in asking for vegan options.

Alas, the pancakes are not vegan and while I don’t miss any pre-vegan foods, if Pancake Parlour made a vegan version of their pancakes, I’d be all over it. Perhaps that’s due to a fair bit of nostalgia because PP was a very special treat when I was growing up. On our few trips to the city during the year, Mum would take us to lunch and I’d always get the Alice in Wonderland (a pancake with icecream, chocolate syrup and sprinkles).

During my vegan years, I never went along to the PP when there were family meals there because there was nothing satisfactory I could have or veganise easily enough, so I’d stay home. So it’s good to know that I can go along and get a meal too.

One of my favourite treats in the pre-vegan days was the Swiss Mountain Milk Malt and I was really happy to see this is on the vegan menu. The milk options are almond or soy, so my son and I shared a soy version with the chocolate flavour (the other flavour was espresso). I love malt but couldn’t really taste it at all, and it was pretty sweet. At $11.20 this is a pricey beverage but I’ve been waiting years for vegan options at the PP and was happy to splash out the cash! Yes, that’s my doppelganger on the glass:For a meal, I got the Strawberry Plantcrepe ($16.90). The filling is made up of fresh strawberries with organic strawberry jam and vanilla soy ice cream is included. I really wasn’t sure what to expect as some of the vegan crepes I’ve had elsewhere haven’t been that flash, but this crepe was really well done.Other vegan crepe options include the Chocnana Crunch Plantcrepe (banana, peanut butter, chocolate, $15.90), Bavarian Apple Plantcrepe (spiced apple filling, $15.90), two plain Plantcrepes with ice cream ($12.60) and the Jamaican Banana Plantcrepe (grilled banana, $15.90). All served with vanilla soy ice cream.

There’s the Superfood Salad too (gluten free: kale, quinoa, lentils, black beans, corn, mixed lettuce, hommus, other fresh mixed veg dressed with lemon infused olive oil, $15.90). Vegan chickpea tuna is an optional extra for $4.

There’s a Berry Power Smoothie and a Super Green Power Smoothie, both $9.50 and gluten free.

I am pretty impressed at the chickpea tuna offering, because that shows some research has been done. From what I have seen and heard, the PP have really made an effort to develop this vegan menu and hopefully there will be even more. I’m hoping for a vegan version of the cottage fries!

I’m always happy when restaurants include decent vegan options or better, develop a new vegan menu in response to customer requests. A big name like PP introducing a vegan menu is pretty great.

We had lunch at the Melbourne Central restaurant. The full vegan menu is available here, Doncaster and Malvern East only. The smoothies, malt shake and salad options are available at all the PP restaurants.