3

Lunch At Dosa Plaza In Preston

HEADS UP: a couple of years ago there were dishes at Dosa Plaza being marked vegan, or staff insisting were vegan, but contained dairy. There were apparently some serious incidents involving allergy. I wasn’t aware of this when I hit publish ten minutes ago but have done a quick search in a Facebook group now. I did ask the Dosa Plaza staff to confirm vegan items and honestly, from the food I ate it didn’t seem not-vegan. It is possible that in the last two years, Dosa Plaza have taken more care with vegan foods. I hope this is the case… I have just learned that lentil balls/donuts often contain cheese and I ordered these (shown below) as they were marked vegan and I was told they’re vegan and don’t contain dairy. But I can’t offer any confident confirmation at this point.

 

I love dosa so it’s a bit embarrassing that I’ve only just been to Dosa Plaza in Preston, despite reading about it on Where’s the Beef? blog back in March 2017. I got to choose the Sunday lunch venue for our group of four, so Dosa Plaza it was.

Dosa Plaza is located on the pointy corner of High Street and Plenty Road and we parked in the nearby supermarket carpark. Once inside, we were a little overwhelmed by the menu which has a bajillion options, either vegetarian or clearly marked vegan. There are gluten free options too. The menu itself is an experience and takes a fair bit of time to work through (and exclaim over), with different sections such as Italo (yes, it’s pasta), Mumbai chaat, Tandoor & Curries, Sizzler and more.

The ordering system involves being given a little piece of notepaper to fill in, listing the menu item number and the quantity you want. So, to start with we got a serve of the onion bhaji:

I also chose the Pani puri, which are served with spiced potatoes, tamarind chutney and a mint dressing:

Our third entree was the Sambar vada (‘lentil donut dipped in lentil soup containing fine carrots, and garnished with coriander leaves’):

There was also a potato masala dosa on our table, which to our surprise was bigger than we anticipated so I added the fork in to give you an idea of size. Pretty sure the dosa I’ve had to date haven’t been this big!

My sister ordered the Mysore masala dosa (‘dosa stuffed with onion, tomato, capsicum and mint tomato chutney with tempered mashed potatoes’). I screwed up the focus on this photo sorry:

I took a leaf from the Where’s the Beef? book and ordered the spring roll dosa. Yes, this works! It had a really nice stir-fry taste to it. Photo at the top.

Another accompaniment we got was described as deep fried bread which I believe is M14 on the menu, but it doesn’t appear online:

I’m glad I finally tried Dosa Plaza. It’s nothing flash, but the food is good and nobody kicked us out even though we lingered for a bit after lunch (though only a few tables were occupied). We were stuffed, and all enjoyed our meals, two of which were vegetarian and got the nod of approval from those who ordered.

My advice would be to set aside the time to go through the menu. Seriously, if you look at the menu online I’m sure you’ll understand the overwhelm element. Still, it’s also fun looking at the different options such as the fusion dishes (American chop suey!). I believe only one dessert option is vegan, and that’s a sweet dosa, but as there was cake back at home I didn’t order it.

I think Dosa Plaza is definitely worth a return visit, even if only to try the Schezwan Sizzler which you can see on the Where’s the Beef? blog post!

Dosa Plaza are located in a few suburbs as well as Brisbane, Adelaide and New Zealand. Check the website to find what’s closest to you. And check out the menu online too, but be warned there’s a lot of it with little sub-menus!

http://www.dosaplaza.com.au/

2

Ubuntu Vegan Cafe In Hawthorn

Ubuntu Vegan Cafe is another one of Melbourne’s brand new all-vegan additions, this time on Burwood Road in Hawthorn. I’d seen a few photos of some lovely looking meals and today was the day, thanks to an Instagram photo of a hot chocolate. It’s cold and rainy today, therefore perfect for a good hot chocolate.

I was told the Wholesome French Toast ($20) wasn’t too sweet and that sounded good to me, so that’s what I went with plus the Mork hot chocolate with a house made blend of cashew and coconut milk:  

Both were excellent. The French toast is described as ‘thick cut brioche pan fried and topped with whipped mascarpone, berry compote, crushed pistachios and maple syrup’. I was tempted by the Big Breakfast ($24, ‘sunny side up or scrambled egg with smashed avo, haloumi, crispy tempeh, blanched kale, portobello mushroom stuffed with pistachio pane croccante, served with buttered sourdough’), though I’m not that keen on tempeh so French toast it was. The person next to me had the Big Breakfast and it looked beautiful.

There are gluten free options and all the desserts in the cabinet are raw and GF. The menu also boasts some Superfood Lattes such as the intriguing-sounding Butterfly Pea Flower Latte ($7, ‘butterfly pea flower (Blue Tea), maca, lucuma, monk fruit juice, natural dates, cinnamon and all spice’). Maybe next time, because today for me was all about that lovely hot chocolate.

The cafe is nice and bright with friendly and helpful staff. It’s a short walk from Glenferrie train station and the Victorian Telecommunications Museum which is open to the public on the last Wednesday of the month from 10-3. The museum is awesome, I suggest you visit then follow it up with a meal at Ubuntu for a good day out!

Ubuntu Vegan Cafe

460 Burwood Road

Hawthorn

https://www.facebook.com/ubuntuvegancafe/

http://www.ubuntuvegancafe.com

 

4

Excellent Sandwiches From Sandwitch

A couple of weeks ago I had planned to go to Coburg Farmers Market but didn’t end up going. I kicked myself later on when I saw an Instagram photo of a new stall called Sandwitch and how they had vegan options. Aaand how I had missed out because I stayed home. I checked out Sandwitch’s Facebook and Instagram: ‘enchanted plant based North African street food’ and kicked myself even more.

Well today Sandwitch were back at Coburg Farmers Market (which has now moved to the new location at Coburg Primary School on Bell Street) and I wasn’t going to miss out. The two pita-style sandwiches on display, both in ‘Moroccan style bread’ looked great and I went with the Hash-Burger ($12): ‘sliced warm eggplant and potato fritter, on a bed of slow-cooked red delish capsicum matbucha salad and fresh lettuce’, seeing as the description contained three of my favourite words (eggplant, potato and fritter).

This was fantastic and immediately rocked in to my top three favourite sandwiches/pita foods. I wish I’d taken the big camera to get better photos but I only had my phone on me today. Beautiful fresh flavours, perfect eggplant and bread. So, so good:

And because it was so good, it meant I had to go back and splurge on the Colli-sour sandwich: ‘crispy cauliflower between layers of pickles, green salad and topped with preserved lemon tahini’. Sure, it meant I ran out of money to buy, well, vegetables but hey I now have a new number one sandwich in my life. This was so freaking good:

… and while I was there, I tried the ‘sweet dessert delight ($8): coconut milk cream, flavoured with rosewater, topped with crushed nuts, coconut, 7 spices and hibiscus syrup’. Now, I don’t even like rosewater much but because the two sandwiches were so good, I wanted to try it. This was really good too, no overpowering rosewater and not too sweet either. I’m getting it again next time:

The hummus menu item ($10) is gluten free. There was some eggplant and salad sitting in the middle of a plate of hummus so perhaps it gets served with veggies like that. It looked pretty good! I also had a sample of a delicious lentil chickpea soup, which I’d like to have in the future.

Sandwitch are at farmers markets, so keep an eye on their Facebook and Instagram pages to learn where they’ll be next.

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Sandwitchau/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sandwitchau/

 

5

Lunch At Veggie On Board In Hawthorn

The first thing I do when I have an appointment is look up vegan food options in the area. I was in Hawthorn today and a few steps away from Veggie On Board. I’m not sure if I’ve heard of it before, there are loads of places I file away in my memory as soon as I hear of them, then I forget.

My son and I chose some sides from the menu, rather than bigger meals. They were all reasonably priced, around the $4 to $5 mark I think. First up, the popcorn mock chicken (son’s choice). This was good in that plain salty way:

Next, the (I think) deep fried bean curd which ended up being regular tofu deep fried. Which isn’t a problem but I thought it would be something else. No matter, it was still nice with the sauce and as my son has gone off tofu, I was glad to see him digging in to this:

I got the mock bbq pork mini burger. This was excellent, even if I did manage to eat all the filling in the first bite. I’d go back just for this:

And I’d also go back for this sesame sticky rice filled with mushroom. Absolutely delicious:

Of course I forgot to take a photo of the outside as usual, I was babbling on to my son about how much I enjoyed that meal and then lamenting that I’m never in this part of Melbourne.

Veggie on Board is only a few minutes walk from Glenferrie train station so at least it’s easy for me to get back to. What a gem this place is, with the vegan options clearly marked (otherwise the food is vegetarian) and not too expensive either.

Veggie On Board

397 Burwood Road, Hawthorn

https://www.facebook.com/veggieonboardmelbourne/

1

Return Visits To Zagame’s

My first visit to Zagame’s in Reservoir was a bit of an accident. I’d purchased one of those Cudo discount vouchers but hadn’t read the fine print about which days the voucher was valid for. No problem, we went anyway and I was very impressed with the new vegan menu. Zagame’s is one of those big family restaurant bistro places that typically, perhaps now in days gone by, were most vegan unfriendly with so-so vegetarian options too.

Not so with Zagame’s. I enjoyed that first dinner so much that when I found myself in Caulfield for a job one day, I was thrilled to see I was around the corner from Zagame’s Caulfield. The menu is the same at the different locations.

So, at Caulfield I decided to go for two entrees. First, the crispy corn and zucchini fritters with guacamole, lime and soya emulsion ($14, not marked as GF). I loved these. Fritters done perfectly! In fact, I loved them so much that when we went back to Zagame’s in Reservoir last week with our voucher, I ordered them again:

At Caulfield, I also got the cauliflower salad (shwarma maybe?), I don’t recall the exact title but it’s not on the menu now and seems to have been replaced with spring rolls. I’m not the biggest fan of cauliflower but I did enjoy this:

Back over to Resi. I was already full from the corn fritters and couldn’t finish this potati rosti with caponata ($22). I did my best because it was another good meal. The rosti was nice and crisp in parts, and the caponata was just right. A dish well done:

The only little let down was when I ordered the orange poppy seed cake at Caulfield. This came out with two warm orange poppy seed muffins on the plate and a kind of cream. The muffins were okay if you wanted muffins, but I wanted a nice piece of cake!

The service has been excellent each time. Last week my main hadn’t come out when the rest of the family got their meals and I had two wait staff come and ask me about it and chase it up. It wasn’t a big wait, only a few minutes but in those few minutes the staff were really on the ball.

Don’t let the whole family restaurant thing turn you off. Sure, it’s noisy (but so are other places that aren’t for families) and has the gambling/gaming areas and the big tv screens with bingo or whatever. But it was relatively quiet when we went and there were tables further away from the noisier areas. If you’re invited to a dinner there, don’t think gahhhhh family restaurant! The menu is pretty good and deserves a look.