Melbourne University holds a farmers’ market on Wednesdays until October 21st (with no market on September 30th). Melbourne did its weird weather thing where it was raining when we left home, but beautifully sunny when we were at the market– perfect market weather!
This was my first visit to the Melbourne Uni market and of course this meant I would walk around checking out vegan stuff for us all! Let’s start with my lunch, pictured below. When a banner at a stall proudly displays “I make very good falafel” I’m all PLEASE BE VEGAN. You know how sometimes you rock up to a felafel place and they’re all no dude it’s not vegan, and you’re like BUT WHYYYYY. Then I noticed the Shuki & Louisa signs. I’ve seen the Shuki & Louisa dips at markets before but I didn’t realise they made a vegan felafel. I was told that yes it’s an all-vegan felafel so I quickly handed over my $8. The felafels are clearly popular because there was about a fifteen to twenty minute wait, so Arthur and I went to check out the Melbourne Uni Food Co-op. More on that below, but for now let’s talk felafel. Folks, this was a really, really good felafel. The pita pocket was stuffed with fresh salad and the felafel balls were exactly like I’d want my felafel to be. For me, this was well worth the wait. I’d definitely get this again with the wait time:
I’ve tried to take photos of vegan-only foods but some of the stalls selling vegan friendly products also sell non-vegan stuff. I tried the jams by both Di and Benny’s Berries and regretted not bringing more money to buy some. There were fresh dried fruits and nuts, oils and olives, apples and pears and lots of flowers:
Beautifully sweet oranges, lovely sourdough breads (I tried the olive, yum), 5 & Dime bagels (always good!), local handmade corn tortillas by LaTortilleria and lots of fresh vegetables and herbs from a few stalls:
The Melbourne University Food Co-op is located on the first floor (one above ground floor) of Union House. Just about everything is vegan and there’s a selection of baked goods from Crumbs Bakery:
I didn’t buy anything as I had to go and pick up my felafel baby. I did however sneak a photo of someone’s lunch. It was on the counter waiting for them, nobody was about so I did this for you guys. On the left there (in a badly configured side-by-side montage…) is a lemon donut by Crumbs. I’ve had these before and they’re sooo good:
If you’re around Melbourne Uni on Wednesdays, the market is really worth a look. Check out the Melbourne Farmers’ Market webpage for Melbourne Uni to see which stalls are coming up.
This is a bit of a delayed blog post as I went to Mantra Lounge a few weeks ago. My first taste of Mantra Lounge food was on the vegan cruise back in March.
Arthur and I were in the area so we stopped in at Mantra Lounge for one of their lunch time specials. For $7.50 you get a salad, main and a piece of cake. I had the choice of a tofu bean dish with noodles, or lasagna (the lasagna meal deal was $10). I liked the lasagna so much on the cruise that I chose that without hesitation and it didn’t disappoint the second time.The salad dressing had a nice spicy kick to it and the pineapple cake, though pretty plain but tasty, rounded out the lunch special nicely. Arthur had a piece of roti and gave that the thumbs up:
The 100% vegan menu changes daily and I’m bummed I’m not around there more often to try the other dishes. I’ve had the tiramisu before and really liked it, same with the mango cheesecake on the cruise. For $10 my serving was a decent size and I was quite full afterwards. Staff are very friendly and initially I was a little overwhelmed by the blackboard wall and options (see the photo below!), but it was easy enough to just choose the lasagna special and go with that.
Mantra Lounge also hold cooking classes, Think Out Loud sessions and mantra meditation-music sessions. Check the What’s On page for more info. Mantra also provide a catering service and venue hire in the room upstairs.
Mantra Lounge is located by Melbourne University and appears to be quite popular with students and staff. When I’ve gone past during lunch hour it’s all quite busy. With a full plate meal deal starting at $7.50 and a menu that changes every day, I can see why!
Mantra Lounge has also been visited by Where’s The Beef?
167 Grattan Street
Husband said magic words the other day: “let me take you to lunch”. Arthur and DeeW were with their grandparents and Husband and I had errands and stuff. We were around Sydney Road in Brunswick so I suggested Wide Open Road because I was in the mood for those slow cooked beans.
We were there a bit after the lunch hour so we were one of only a few tables occupied. Then I got a bit of a shock to see the menu had changed. No slow cooked beans. No smashed peas with maple walnuts on sourdough. No apple-slaw sandwich. I wasn’t feeling very well that day and was a bit down in the dumps-sooky when going through the menu and finding that nothing really jumped out at me. I wanted beans so I ordered the side of ‘smoky braised beans’ and the summer salad.
The beans were delicious and the smokyness was just right. Not like when you make a smoky-something at home and put too much liquid smoke in. These were perfect and I really wish they’d make a big serve instead of having it as a side dish:
The ‘Summer Salad of strawberries, orange, pomegranate, watermelon jelly, coconut tapioca and puffed grains’ was pretty nice too, although I did feel the light sprinkling of puffed grains was a bit unnecessary, though that could be because I really don’t like the chewiness of puffed grains. I was a bit disappointed that the watermelon jelly was just a few tiny thin slivers. The coconut tapioca part was really nice though and the best thing about it was that it wasn’t overly sweetened. The sweetness was just right, so that part gets a thumbs up from me:
Wide Open Road is located at 274 Barkly Street, Brunswick. See their website for more details: http://wideopenroad.com.au/
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After lunch we had some stuff to do around Melbourne University. I love walking around the uni grounds, some of the buildings are beautiful. See? Enjoy!
Melbourne had a travel expo on this past weekend so Husband and I dropped the kids off for a sleepover with grandparents then had a quiet sneaky visit to Mister Nice Guy’s Bake Shop to check out the cupcake flavours they made for Chinese New Year. I couldn’t resist the cute little pumpkin donut and a cinnamon bun ALL TO MYSELF:
After the Bake Shop we caught a tram in to the city and walked through the crowds enjoying Chinese New Year festivities:
After loading up with brochures and more free cloth bags (those things seem to breed in my house) we went off in search of food. I’d read some reviews on Chin Chin and suggested we go there and go there we did:
I asked for vegan options and a friendly waitress was able to highlight them for me. I went for the ‘dry curry Pad Ped with stir fried vegetables, spice crusted organic tofu, kaffir lime leaf and Thai basil’ for $19. A bowl of rice was served on the side. This meal was delicious although I’m a bit of a dork when it comes to eating big chunks of tofu with chopsticks because I drop it everywhere and generally look uncouth. The rice was barely warm which was a bit disappointing but the meal more than made up for it as the flavours were great:
Hot sauce on the tables:
Husband enjoyed his meal, which I won’t talk about because it wasn’t vegan and this is a vegan blog, after all! My one negative comment about Chin Chin is the noise level– the music was just way too loud. If I can barely hear my dining companion sitting opposite me and if I have to ask a waiter to repeat themselves, then it’s too loud. It was loud when we walked in and I asked Husband if he wanted to go somewhere else (he doesn’t like loud music in restaurants either) but we’d walked a fair bit and wanted to try Chin Chin. The loud music combined with the noise of people talking loudly to be heard (the couple next to us also commented on the music volume) plus clattering cutlery from the staff station next to us was a bit much. However I will admit I have extra sensitive hearing so this probably bothers me more than it does others. Still, our meals were great and we left there feeling absolutely stuffed.
To work off our meal, we walked (fast pace!) around the city. Also included are some pictures around Fitzroy and Melbourne University.
Melbourne CBD (aka “the city”):
Around Brunswick Street, Fitzroy. We stopped at Lord of the Fries for lunch:
Around Melbourne University:
Chin Chin is located at 125 Flinders Lane, Melbourne. http://www.chinchinrestaurant.com.au/