6

Cheap Lunches At Divine Realm Vegie Delight In The City

Divine Realm Vegie Delight Melbourne

Divine Realm Vegie Delight is one of those places that has been around for a while now, but quite a few veg*ns express surprise when they hear about it. Things like “no way, I work near there and had no idea!” kinda sentiments.

It’s located in a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it dingy divey looking mini food court on Little Collins Street. On my most recent visit, a few of the other stalls were closed either for good or some renovation work. There’s a board outside advertising Divine Realm but it’s not really obvious and even though I was looking for the place, I ended up walking right past it, despite having been there before.

Still, it’s a pretty good option for cheap and cheerful takeaway/food court food that I used to enjoy before I was vegan. Every now and then I get a craving for this kind of food, with the fried rice and all. For $7.50 you get the large serve, which is made up of rice (possibly noodles as the alternative) and three of the main dishes on offer. Shown here are the tofu veg curry (quite nice, I always enjoy this but I wish they’d dish up more tofu), black bean chicken and veg and the roast duck (bean curd) with sweet sauce.Divine Realm Vegie Delight Melbourne

Be sure to take note of opening times. Divine Realm is open during business hours for the lunch period and close around 3pm. Any leftover food is put in to containers and sold for a few bucks. I’m not sure if the menu rotates according to days of the week but I’ve seen photos of different meals such as the vegan chicken and rice special, or some house made sweets. On my last visit, a long time ago, I had the same roast duck and the tofu veg curry. There are also made to order items, with pictures up on display but I’ve never ordered those.Divine Realm Vegie Delight MelbourneDivine Realm Vegie Delight Melbourne

Service is always friendly and the Facebook page description says “the humble take-away vegan cafe in town! We are freshly open every day and we serve vegan Singapore recipes from our hearts. Burp with safisfaction!” The food court area may be a candidate for an extreme food court makeover, but for these low prices and tasty food, I’m happy to go back.Divine Realm Vegie Delight Melbourne

Divine Realm Vegie Delight

422 Little Collins Street (go through the big doors in to the food court area and walk through)

Melbourne CBD

http://www.facebook.com/Divinerealmvegiedelight/?fref=ts

3

Lunches At Tadka Boom! In The City

Tadka Boom Melbourne city

I first heard of Tadka Boom! back in September 2014 when I read about it on Melbourne vegan blog The Lentil Institution. I often catch trams right around the Goldsborough Lane area and hadn’t seen anything vegan friendly around there. So quite a few months back now, I finally made it there for lunch.

Tadka Boom! is located inside the covered strip of cafes and restaurants in Goldsborough Lane, between Bourke Street and Lt. Bourke Street, near King Street and William Street. There’s a decent amount of seating inside and outside, though I haven’t been during the busier lunch rush hours.

Tadka Boom Melbourne city

On my first visit, the available vegan options included the lentil dhal (complimentary with the two-curry meal purchase), pea and potato curry, a spicy chickpea curry and coconut peas for $11.90:

Tadka Boom Melbourne city

On my second visit, there was an eggplant curry with the same chickpea curry and complimentary lentil dhal again for the two-curry meal ($11.90). I was offered some salad on the side but said no. I knew from last time that this was quite a filling dish and I wasn’t super hungry.

Tadka Boom Melbourne city

I asked what other vegan options were available and this is pretty much it, though the samosas on the menu are listed as vegan. However when I asked, one staff member said the samosa wasn’t vegan but later said yes it was when I asked about the ‘VG’ on the menu (vegetarian dishes are labelled with a V). So best to confirm again when you visit. Same with the veg falafel, it’s listed as VG on the menu but when I asked if any of the wraps were vegan I was told no. Perhaps they meant what was remaining in the display.

Staff were helpful when I asked about the vegan options. There are the two vegan curries available daily with a choice of white or brown rice and the lentil dhal is complimentary. Just ask which meals are vegan and they’ll show you in the serving area.

At $11.90 for a filling meal, I’m pretty happy to have an option for tasty vegan Indian food in a part of the city that doesn’t seem to have many vegan lunch meal offerings within walking distance.

Where’s The Beef? also blogged about Tadka Boom! in November 2015 and you can read about it here.

Tadka Boom Melbourne city

Tadka Boom!

22 Goldsborough Lane (undercover food court kind of setup in the surrounding office buildings)

Melbourne CBD

http://www.tadkaboom.com.au/
Tadka Boom! Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

4

Paperboy Kitchen, Melbourne City

Paperboy Kitchen Melbourne

Recently I’ve been hunting out vegan options around the city (what we Melburnians call the CBD area). I don’t mean the well known veg*n places that everyone knows– I mean those places which aren’t vegan but offer some great plant based meals and are handy for vegans who are visiting or working in the area. Paperboy Kitchen in Little Lonsdale Street is that kind of place, offering two really tasty vegan meals that you can choose to have in a bread roll banh mi style, or with noodles.

The first time I visited, I ordered the red curry cauliflower in a bread roll. Red curry paste is simmered down with coconut milk, offering a mayonnaise-like kind of sauciness (in fact, I thought they may have mixed mayo through it and so I had to clarify. No, there’s no mayo). This was really good, huge, and a bit tricky to eat. Which is essentially my way of saying I dropped stuff everywhere:

Paperboy Kitchen Melbourne

On my second visit, I went with the satay tofu with noodles. This was full of lovely fresh ingredients and made for a light, filling lunch:

Paperboy Kitchen Melbourne

Your order comes with a little serving of sweet spicy popcorn on a wooden board– take care if, like me, you’re a slobby eater and keep an eye on runaway cauliflower pieces. The noodle bowl options both come with Asian slaw, carrot and daikon pickle and coriander. The Sriracha mayo that comes with all bowls is not vegan (there are non-vegan bowls that all receive the same ingredients).

Paperboy Kitchen gets quite busy during lunch but I was lucky to grab the only free spot by the window. There’s a bench along the window and a couple of larger table inside though there were quite a few people waiting outside for their takeaway order. On my first visit, it was well after lunch and not busy at all. Service was great and my meals came out quickly. When you place your dine-in order, you get a plastic animal instead of a number 🙂

I’m pretty chuffed to learn about all these places that offer really good vegan meals, not some lazy afterthought kind of vegan meal. Paperboy Kitchen have two winners here and I have to go back to try the banh mi or noodle bowl versions of what I’ve ordered.

Paperboy Kitchen

320 Little Lonsdale Street, Melbourne CBD area

Open during lunch hours Mon-Fri 11:30-3:00

http://paperboy.com.au/

https://www.facebook.com/PaperboyKitchen/

 

Paperboy Kitchen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

8

No Bull: An All-Vegan Affair At Maha, City

‘Tis the season for lots of excellent all-vegan degustation dinners in Melbourne! Last night was Maha’s turn. Maha is known around vegan town for their fine plant based options. I’d never been before (I might lose vegan points for that somewhere) but the vegan options on the menu always sounded impressive and certainly not some kind of afterthought– the vegan dishes are treated with much consideration.

Owner and Head Chef Shane Delia draws on his Maltese background and travels through the North Africa, Turkey, Iran and the Middle East. Yesterday’s event was No Bull: An All-Vegan Affair and we were served five courses inspired by Middle Eastern cuisine. The restaurant was completely booked out and already busy when I arrived about ten minutes early. While waiting to be seated, we were given a cocktail (a mocktail was also offered as an alternative) and things kicked off soon after. Shane Delia got on the mic and spoke to us about how the approach and attitude to vegan cuisine has changed. I always love hearing how vegan food is becoming a popular dining choice with non-vegans and how more people are now actively seeking out meat free meals. From here, I believe it will only get better and degustations such as Maha’s really do highlight how wonderful vegan food can be– remember, it’s not just salad!Maha No Bull All-Vegan Affair, Melbourne city

Everything was go go go with busy, friendly staff doing an excellent job.

Maha No Bull All-Vegan Affair, Melbourne city

We were seated in a very dim (for photo taking) corner so please excuse the pics! I also hate holding people up from eating (including myself, ha…) so thanks to my table buddies for putting up with it! I didn’t want to hold everyone up even more with changing camera thingies either when I noticed pics not turning out, so some of the dishes aren’t shown.

For the first course we had almond ajo blanco, green apple, orange blossom, watercress. Nice and refreshing for a first course:

Maha No Bull All-Vegan Affair, Melbourne city

For the second course, we had ‘fattoush’- spiced tomato ice, garlic and sumac warqaa, compressed cucumber and onion. I’m not a big fan of ice in my foods (sensitive teeth and all) but the flavours here were lovely:

Maha No Bull All-Vegan Affair, Melbourne city

The third course had five dishes: sweet potato and seven spice briwat (I really wished we could have had more of these, though I’m greedy):

Maha No Bull All-Vegan Affair, Melbourne city

BBQ young corn, aleppo pepper, coriander and almond (not shown, but really tasty); spring beans and peas, preserved lemon, seeds and nuts. I want to try and replicate this at home:

Maha No Bull All-Vegan Affair, Melbourne city

Wild green hummus, caraway spiced onions, stinging nettle. This was great with the fresh bread buns. A welcome change from lots of the hummus I usually have:

Maha No Bull All-Vegan Affair, Melbourne city

Maha No Bull All-Vegan Affair, Melbourne city

Saffron rice crackling, whipped split peas, tomato, pomegranate. Really nice though I would love these mega jumbo size (remember, greedy):

Maha No Bull All-Vegan Affair, Melbourne city

The fourth course had six dishes (again, all shared plates). Za’atar crusted zucchini flowers, fava and truffle, toasted almond. Really good:

Maha No Bull All-Vegan Affair, Melbourne city

Red lentil Turkish dumplings (I only got to try one little size dumpling, so I would have loved more for sentimental reasons as my grandmother grew up with Greek and Turkish influences and made a dumpling dish called mantou); puffed grains, spiced carrot, pickled marrow; asparagus, preserved lemon, spring onion, black aleppo pepper (this made me appreciate asparagus more):

Maha No Bull All-Vegan Affair, Melbourne city

Tamarind and saffron braised pumpkin. This was spicy and full of flavour. Probably my second favourite dish of the night:

Maha No Bull All-Vegan Affair, Melbourne city

Charred broccolini, freekah, smoked almonds. I loved this and it’s easily my favourite of the night. Smoked almonds rule:

Maha No Bull All-Vegan Affair, Melbourne city

‘Fattoush’- tomato, mint, roast garlic, baked bread:

Maha No Bull All-Vegan Affair, Melbourne city

Our fifth course was the dessert- strawberry and arak ice, coconut sorbet, dark chocolate crumble. This tasted great though my sensitive teeth got a bit of a shock at the big pieces of ice:

Maha No Bull All-Vegan Affair, Melbourne city

All up, a great meal. Drinks were on a separate menu (not included in the $99 dinner price, though the cocktail/mocktail on arrival was included). I want to return to Maha for their lunches and dinner as reviews from fellow vegans have been positive. Maha is a very popular restaurant and I look forward to returning.

From the No Bull event, I can see that Maha do vegan food incredibly well and again, like other degustations I’ve recently been to, you know you’re eating fine food, not fine vegan food specifically. Maha did a great job with showing that vegan food is also fantastic food and you don’t have to be a vegan or vegetarian to appreciate it. I love meals like this that show people that plant foods are for everyone and you are absolutely not missing out by going animal-free.

Thank you to all Maha staff for helping make this evening an enjoyable one for my table!

 

Maha

21 Bond Street, Melbourne city (CBD area)

From the street, Maha is down a flight of steps to a sub-basement level.

https://maharestaurant.com.au

Maha Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Maha No Bull All-Vegan Affair, Melbourne city

8

Water Drop Tea House at Fo Guang Yuan Art Gallery, Melbourne

Fo Guang Yuan Art Gallery Melbourne

Water Drop Tea House at Fo Guang Yuan Art Gallery is always a place I want to return to. The last few times I’ve gone, it’s taken me ages to decide what to get from the appetisers menu. This time though, the menu was sporting the all-awesome V for vegan. Everything else is vegetarian, making ordering so much easier than it was in the past. You can read about my first visit here.

Arthur was with me so I ordered stuff I thought he’d like. He’ll always go for spring rolls and lately he’s been liking sweet potato so I got the crispy sweet potato and taro rolls. I chose well because he loved both. I also love the buckwheat steamed BBQ pork buns.

The menu includes fixed offerings based on what day it is. From the Monday menu I chose the chicken skewers in peanut satay with sweet potato fritters. The meal comes with rice, carrot and cabbage salad and some fruit. What we ate is shown in the top photo and we left feeling quite stuffed.

Fo Guang Yuan Art Gallery Melbourne

Service as always is really friendly. A word of caution though, when you enter and pass a reception desk before going in to the dining area, there’s a no photography sign stuck on the desk. I didn’t see it but I had asked for permission from wait staff before taking my photos of food and the restaurant area. They told me it was okay, but when I took the photo of the restaurant area another member of staff mentioned the no photos rule, though they didn’t seem to mind photos of the food. Perhaps they thought I was going to take photos of the gallery/non-restaurant areas.

The restaurant area is called the Water Drop Vegetarian Tea House but most people seem to know it as Fo Guang Yuan Art Gallery. It seems to be one of those places where people, not just the veg*ns, express surprise along the lines “where is this place and why don’t I know about it?!” There’s no indication from the street that there’s a fantastic Buddhist vegetarian-vegan restaurant inside. Since my first visit I’ve had plenty of conversations with veg*ns who work in the city and never heard of it. If that applies to you, hopefully you’ll get to visit soon as it really is worth a good look.

Water Drop Tea House at Fo Guang Yuan Art Gallery

141 Queen Street, Melbourne

http://www.bliav.org.au/exhibition/galleryindex.html

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Fo-Guang-Yuan-Art-Gallery/292810194068355
Click to add a blog post for Fo Guang Yuan Art Gallery on Zomato