We had a short holiday down in Warrnambool, thanks to a gift voucher we received for some accommodation. Warrnambool is a former port city on the south-west coast of the state of Victoria and about a three hour drive from Melbourne. I haven’t been there since I was kid, about thirty years ago I’d say. Of course I did all my veganny research last week and was pretty pleased to see I’d have quite a few vegan friendly places to eat. A shout out goes to Natalie from the vegan blog Appetite Affliction for recommending places to try.
Let’s go Warrnambool!
52B KEPLER STREET
First up is Day Kitty. I can’t find a Facebook page for them but here’s an article. There was a bit of a queue which I was glad about because I was having trouble deciding what to get. There was a good amount of vegan/vegan option meals on the menu but fortunately at the last minute I noticed a little daily specials board on the counter with what is one of my favourite meals ever (no matter from where): crumbed tofu curry don. I didn’t need to look at the menu after that, but I did look at the desserts cabinet and chose the raw banana peanut mesquite cheesecake (there were about three raw vegan desserts if I remember correctly). The crumbed tofu was excellent and I decided I’d go there again and cross my fingers that they’d have this special running for the week. That’s the meal up there in the top photo. Really, really good. Warrnambool, we were off to a most excellent start!
I was a little dubious about the cheesecake and wondered if it had been in the cabinet a little too long, but it tasted great. I forgot to ask if the desserts were made on site or purchased from a supplier but regardless, this was delicious:
I went back a couple days later hoping I’d see the crumbed tofu curry don one last time but alas! Devastation. It was about 10:15am and I didn’t feel like anything that wasn’t more brunch-y (apart from the tofu curry don, which had been nice and light and not heavy at all). The only brunch option that appealed was the smashed avo on toast which I admit disappointed me a little. See, I’m a bit biased again smashed avo on toast lately. I kinda feel like it’s everywhere, you know? But I ordered it anyway because I was starving. There was a nice dollop of cashew cream and I was told it would be buttered with vegan butter. Nice! I noticed some Half Pint Vegan Dairy butter being sold there so perhaps it was that. Anyway, I really enjoyed this and have now done away with my smashed avo on toast bias. I think when it’s done well, it’s thoroughly enjoyable and Day Kitty did this really well:
I decided not to get a sweet treat. Aaaaand then I saw ‘vegan wagon wheels’. I never liked the well known marshmallow-chocolate of the same name but since becoming vegan I love the vegan versions of stuff I formerly hated. Like gravy. Anyways, I got myself one of these raw vegan wagon wheels.I was expecting it to have the marshmallow-jam filling like the famous round chocolate bar version, but it wasn’t. Fine with me, I don’t mind what it was because it was delicious!
Day Kitty stock a range of products catering to different dietary requirements and many ingredients common to my vegan pantry. The fridge section had Half Pint Vegan Dairy butter (Butter Me Up), tofu, tempeh, falafel and (I think) some coconut yoghurt. As well as a menu there were also other items in a cabinet like chia puddings, salads, noodle boxes and wraps. If I’m ever in Warrnambool again, I’m heading straight for Day Kitty. Service was great too.
157 LIEBIG STREET
For another brunch, I checked out Brightbird Espresso. The friendly staff there told me what could be veganised. I settled for the slow cooked white beans with toast. Great choice, this was incredibly filling and really tasty. I wanted to have a second visit to Brightbird but ran out of time. This dish rekindled my love of slow cooked white beans and I would happily order this again if I went back:
63 LIEBIG STREET
With a name like Fishtales Cafe, you’d be forgiven for thinking this sounds like a regular old school fish and chip seafood family restaurant kinda place. Except they have a big colourful board out the front boasting a huge vego, vegan and coeliac range. I’d heard about Fishtales Cafe from a few vegan sources and was confident it would be a good place to eat with the fam, where we’d all find something we like. We stood in the doorway for a while looking at the menu. There’s no set vegan menu (or vegetarian), so vegan options are peppered throughout the pages making it a little overwhelming (it would be better if everything veg*n was in one section). I gave up and decided to ask for help once we sat down. Staff were helpful with pointing out what I could have. I chose the veg satay and asked for tofu to be added and they were happy to do that. This came with rice underneath and was really tasty and quite a good serving size. Really enjoyable and a lesson not to judge a restaurant by its vegan unfriendly name!
Again I was impressed by another cafe offering raw vegan desserts in their cabinet. There were truffle/bliss balls, a mint chocolate cheesecake and this Snickers style cheesecake. Once more I forgot to ask if they make their own raw vegan desserts or get them in but I was too busy stuffing my face to care:
The family all enjoyed their meals and this would be our first stop to eat out as a family if we find ourselves in Warrnambool again.
BROWN GRAIN THAI
190 TIMOR STREET
I got to have dinner on my own because the fam went off to a pizza place. I’d heard that Brown Grain Thai can veganise meals for you and I was told by friendly stuff that the curries (red, green, jungle, Penang, yellow curries) were (or could be made, I don’t remember) vegan. I went with the Penang curry as I wasn’t in the mood for anything too hot. This was excellent and probably one of the nicest Thai restaurant meals I’ve had.
I tried to check out as many vegan friendly looking places as I could (by looking at menus in windows). I didn’t have a chance to eat at The Liebig at 76 Liebig Street, but here’s a photo of the menu in the window:
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We took a short day trip to Port Fairy. I had a list of places I’d found online that were listed as vegan friendly. Unfortunately they were all busts. If you’re going to advertise yourself as having vegan options, that should mean you have genuine vegan options. Not one lonely “we can remove the eggs” avo on toast meal where the staff seem surprised that you ask if something else is added in place of the eggs they will remove. So it was pretty disappointing to drive around to these ‘vegan friendly’ places only to see they didn’t have anything. Sad (and annoyed) face.
10 BANK STREET
Slitti Cafe did tell me they could make me a falafal wrap/sandwich which I would have ordered, had it not been for me eating falafel and hummus back at our holiday cabin. I love falafel, I love hummus, but I very quickly get hummus-falafel overload. Staff were friendly and pointed out which of their chocolates on display were vegan (dark chocs, chocolate bark with hazenuts) as well as being able to make me vegan hot chocolates. Tempting, but I went for the raw vegan mini chocolate covered Christmas pudding. This was so thick I could barely stick my fork through it but in a good way! Loved it and I would definitely stop in again if we pass through Port Fairy in the future.
The family had morning tea at Clonmara Tearoom. There wasn’t anything vegan available though I had done my research and ate beforehand. DeeW enjoyed a huge scone she proclaimed as “the greatest scone I’ve ever tasted” with raspberry jam (she’s vegetarian). Staff were really friendly and we browsed around the gift shop for a while. It’s a lovely little place (Johanna from Green Gourmet Giraffe has blogged about her visit there in 2013) with a small tearoom inside and courtyard seating out the back. I loved the garden view through the window. While the family I ate, I entertained myself by thinking up what I would serve in an all-vegan tearoom:
We did some of the touristy things in Warrnambool, like visiting the Flagstaff Hill Maritime Village and museum. We went on a weekday and there was nobody there so we had the 1870s (and ducks!) to ourselves.
We took a drive to Hopkins Falls Scenic Reserve:
and spent a bit of time at the beach. Beautiful sunny weather, a cool sea breeze and fortunately the awful weather started on the day we were leaving!
I was really pleased to see that Warrnambool has a number of vegan friendly places to eat so if you’re heading there, you’ll be alright if the above places appeal to you. Just check opening and closing times as Fishtales for example said they were open til late, but when we went out on a Thursday evening they were closing up before it was what we’d consider late. If we had more time there I would have contacted the Clovelly Restaurant in advance (as recommended by Natalie in her blog post mentioned above), gone to The Liebig Restaurant and Cactus Jam. There were a few pizza places too where I’d guess some of the pizza bases are vegan.
All in all, a nice holiday with lots of good vegan food!