6

Vegan: It’s Not Rabbit Food And Here’s Some Proof!

I thought I’d grab a bunch of photos of some fantastic vegan meals I’ve had around town. The belief many hold that vegan/plant based food is ‘rabbit food’ (or bird food) is of course untrue but so many people seem to think you’d be missing out on tasty, gourmet style meals. So here I present many exhibits of (I hope) drool worthy meals.

There are way way waaay more great options than I’ve included here. If I included everything that’s fab, it would be an incredibly long and image heavy blog post. So consider these photos an idea of what is out there. Please note some of the meals shown may no longer be available as restaurants change their menus frequently!

Good Days in Brunswick make the best (IMO) spring roll noodle salad. This is one I keep going back for. Their mushroom pho is my favourite pho anywhere too.Good Days Brunswick Good Days Brunswick vegan mushroom pho

Loving Hut Northcote is my family’s number one restaurant. Here’s the lemon chicken. This tastes *exactly* like the not-vegan version, texture and all, and has fooled many a lemon chicken eater:

Loving Hut Northcote Lemon Chicken

Ray in Brunswick have a great vegan menu. Shown here is the Beast of Brunswick fried chicken burger with miso cheese, pickle aioli and more:Ray Brunswick vegan fried chicken burger

Another excellent burger option is the chickpea burger with chipotle mayonnaise and more from Power Plant Cafe in Templestowe:Power Plant Cafe Templestowe

Shop 225 in Pascoe Vale South have your vegan Napoli style pizzas wishes granted:Shop 225 Pizza Pascoe Vale South

Vegan ramen needs can be met at Misoya Sake Bar in Brunswick:Misoya Ramen Sake Bar Brunswick

Small Axe Kitchen in Brunswick have an excellent smoky eggplant with pomegranate, almond hummus and tahini mayo:Small Axe Kitchen Brunswick

Krishna on Barkly in Footscray is my number one choice for great Indian food and fantastic service:Krishna On Barkly Indian Restaurant Footscray

Sister of Soul in St. Kilda have a number of great vegan dishes, like this big breakfast style meal:Sister of Soul St Kilda

The vegan options at Trippy Taco (Fitzroy and St. Kilda) are so good. Love the smoky fries:Trippy Taco Fitzroy

The extensive sandwich menu at Smith & Deli in Fitzroy might overwhelm you at first but the Rubenstein is a good choice:Smith & Deli Reuben

I loved this Japanese katsu tofu dish from Day Kitty in Warrnambool. It was on the specials board, but one of the nicest meals I’ve had:Day Kitty Warrnambool

Dumplings from ShanDong Mama in the city:

ShanDong MaMa

Going plant based/vegan means you don’t have to miss out on hot jam donuts from a van! The van at Preston Market makes vegan donuts. LIFE IS AWESOME:Preston Market hot jam donuts

Pancakes from True North in Coburg:True North Coburg vegan cherry pancakes

The excellent tiramisu hotcakes from The Glass Den in Coburg:Glass Den tiramisu hotcakes1

Raw Trader in the city are incredibly creative with their cakes flavour combinations, all of which are raw. The cappuccino cheesecake is one of my favourites, but I’ve loved everything:

Raw Trader Melbourne

Miinot Gelato in Pascoe Vale South create marvellous gelato onsite, using fresh and local ingredients. The vegan flavours are excellent, particularly the fruit flavours and the dark chocolate varieties:

miinot14

Mister Nice Guy’s Bake Shop in Ascot Vale is a long standing favourite in my house. Lots of decadent treats, make sure you try the peanut bronuts if they’re available:Mister Nice Guy's Bake Shop

 

I hope this gives you an idea of how creative, delicious and inspiring vegan/plant based foods can be. Don’t think that vegan food is all about being super duper healthy, or restrictive or rabbity-birdy! If you want healthy whole foods or deep fried crispy, vegan foods can cover all that!

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

16

The Great Melbourne Vegan Donuts List

veganopoulousvege2go

Melbourne has a pretty strong donut game and vegan donuts are joining the party all the time. As an act of community service, you understand, I’ve tracked down most of the vegan donuts Melbourne has to offer, sampled a good deal of them, and now present them here in one big listing.

I’ll continue to update this list as more vegan donuts join in, so please leave a comment and let me know if I’ve either missed something, or if you hear of a new vegan donut. Because you know there will plenty of vegans who will travel for donuts. Share this around– share that vegan donut love.

The first photo up the top there is of the cinnamon donuts that were being sold at the Vege2go stall at World Vegan Day in 2014. I don’t know if they still make donuts, but I thought the photo was a nice introduction of donutty goodness.

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veganopoulous mister nice guys bakeshop

Mister Nice Guy’s Bake Shop

151 Union Road, Ascot Vale

http://www.misterniceguy.com.au/

https://www.facebook.com/misterniceguysbakeshop/

Established in 2010, Mister Nice Guy’s Bake Shop is an all-vegan and allergy friendly bakery as well as being a long time Melbourne vegan favourite. Their doughnuts are ‘bronuts’, made from a brioche batter and flavours (of all baked goods) rotate daily. Shown in the photo below, starting from top right are the Golden Rough (chocolate and coconut), Cookies and Cream, Cinnamon Sugar, Snickers (chocolate custard filled bronut with peanut butter glaze, dulce sin leche drizzle and sprinkled with chopped peanuts– my favourite everrr) and the Bronut Holes with vanilla glaze. The bronuts are $5.00 to $5.50 each and the bronut holes are $1.50 each. Mister Nice Guy’s also make gluten free Petite Baked Donuts (not shown here) for $3.50 each.

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veganopoulous preston market jam donuts

Preston Market Hot Jam Donuts van

Located at Preston Market during market days (Wed-Sat)

https://www.facebook.com/Hot-Doughnuts-Preston-Market-1039684786061392/

Boy was it a happy day when my vegan friend told me these donuts at Preston Market are vegan! There’s nothing quite like a hot jam donut from a van, they really do have a taste and character all of their own. You know what I mean, that jam donut van taste that no other non-van donuts have. I think the appeal includes the experience of stuffing your face and getting sugar all over yourself then making a bigger mess when you try to find a spare tissue to clean your hands. Or vacuum the car, take your pick, because really who waits until they get home to eat them? My congratulations if that applies to you, I’m not that disciplined so I join the hoardes walking around with sugar in their hair. The Hot Doughnuts van also sell a plain vanilla glazed donut for $2.20. A box of six jam donuts is $4.90 and a bakers dozen box is $8.50. One of my top picks for Melbourne vegan donuts.

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veganopoulous loving hut la panella

La Panella in Preston and Loving Hut Northcote (can also be found at Mantra Lounge opposite Melbourne Uni)

La Panella Bakery: 465 High Street, Preston

Loving Hut Northcote: 377 High Street, Northcote

La Panella Bakery https://www.facebook.com/La-Panella-Bakery-111109138950836/

Loving Hut Northcote https://www.facebook.com/LovingHutNorthcoteAu/

Loving Hut Northcote and La Panella have a family connection, so the donuts are the same at both. Above you can see the plain sugar dusted jam donut and the two (chocolate and pink iced) jam filled donuts. Not shown is the custard donut. Everything sold at Loving Hut Northcote is 100% vegan, while La Panella Bakery has some vegetarian items, though the vegan items are clearly marked. These donuts are one of the cheaper options in Melbourne and a large size too, heavy on the jam.

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smith & daughters quince doughnuts

Smith & Daughters

175 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy

http://www.smithanddaughters.com/

https://www.facebook.com/SmithandDaughters/

My apologies for the blergh photo. It was taken back in the days before I had a low-light camera lens. But please believe me when I tell you these Spanish quince donuts are incredibly delicious. Lovely soft pillow balls of quincey jammed goodness. It doesn’t matter if you’re too stuffed for dessert, get them anyway!

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veganopoulous smith deli

Smith & Deli

111 Moor Street, Fitzroy

https://www.facebook.com/SmithAndDeli/

I wish I had more photos of the Smith & Deli donuts as they’ve had so many flavours. I’ve had cardamom spiced donuts, plain cinnamon ring donuts, donuts with a raspberry glaze and more. Shown here is a pumpkin spice custard donut which is probably my favourite of everything I’ve tried. Different flavours every time I visit!

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veganopoulous churros spanish donuts van

Churros Spanish Donuts van at the Queen Victoria Market

http://www.churrospanishdonuts.com.au

Open during market trading hours

Parked on Peel Street by the #55 West Coburg tram stop, these churros are made from animal-free ingredients and dusted with plenty of icing (powdered) sugar. Seven churros cost $6.00, or they’re $1.00 each. A family business started in 1976, you’ll find the van operating during market trading hours.

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veganopoulous doughnut time

Doughnut Time

Current Melbourne locations (they’re also in Brisbane, Gold Coast and Sydney):

5 Degraves Street, Melbourne CBD

377 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy

Topshop Melbourne CBD in the Emporium Shopping Centre (you have to go in to Topshop) *need to confirm if this outlet is still open

178 Chapel Street, Windsor

Highpoint Shopping Centre in the Fresh Food Market, Maribyrnong

http://www.doughnuttime.com.au/

https://www.facebook.com/doughnuttime/

Doughnut Time offer a few vegan doughnuts on the current menu. There’s the Vegan Fox (chocolate glaze topped with freeze-dried strawberries and crushed pistachios), A Matcha Made in Heaven (matcha green tea glaze, freeze-dried raspberry powder and vegan sprinkles), Sia Later (red velvet), the plain jam donut and The Morrissey (chocolate glazed with peanut butter cookie dough chunks– this was initially a special but I think it’s made it to the regular rotation, judging from some photos I’ve seen on Instagram). Past vegan doughnuts, which can stage a return at any time, include Pump Up The Jam (raspberry plum jam-filled and dusted with cinnamon sugar), the You Go, Glen Coco! (not sure of the flavours as the website doesn’t mention it), Rough Around the Edges (chocolate and coconut glazes, topped with shaved toasted coconut), and the Blue Ivy (jam filled). Each doughnut is $6 each and you’ll see quite a few people around holding the cute boxes.

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veganopoulous raw trader

Raw Trader

10 Sutherland Street, Melbourne CBD

https://www.facebook.com/rawtrader14/

Raw vegan doughnuts make a stand too, thanks to Raw Trader. Shown above on the lefthand side of the photo are the apple crumble (at the front), lemon chia and chocolate mocha. There are other flavours made too, keep an eye on Raw Trader’s Facebook and Instagram pages to keep updated.

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veganopoulous crumbs organic bakehouse

Crumbs Organic Bake House

170 Union Road, Ascot Vale

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Crumbs-Organic-Bakehouse/130095763706992

Another favourite with many a vegan is Crumbs Organic Bake House in Ascot Vale (the North Melbourne bakery recently closed). The filled donuts are all sourdough, with a jam filling or my favourite, the lemon curd filling. I’ve also had a lamington donut. Crumbs also sell glazed ring donuts. Crumbs products are also sold at various stores and stalls around town.

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veganopoulous village bakery

The Village Bakery

38 Grantham Street, Brunswick

https://www.facebook.com/thevillagebakery

This was a very happy discovery. I was waiting for the tram right outside and anticipated zero vegan options, as this was the case a long while ago. Consider my joy at being told the jam donut and the cinnamon ring donut are definitely vegan. These are delicious donuts, though on the day I went back to take photos the cinnamon donut had sold out.

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veganopoulous st gerrys

St. Gerry’s

Various locations (roaming food cart/stalls)

https://www.facebook.com/stgerrys/

Growing up, loukoumathes (Greek donuts also known as honey puffs) were a yearly favourite from the local church festival. When I became vegan, they were off my eating list because the donuts are dunked in honey after they’re cooked (plus I think they also had dairy milk). I could always have made my own with a sweetener alternative, but the experience of buying the donuts and standing around eating them (or taking them back home then sharing with family standing around the kitchen bench) was a big part of my childhood memories. So when I heard that there was a loukoumathes stall at World Vegan Day and then at the Vegan Brew & Food Fest, I was over the moon. The donuts from St. Gerry’s have the same texture and lovely dougheyness as the loukoumathes of my youth. St. Gerry’s offer a few vegan flavours: raspberry jam, cinnamon sugar and maple walnut.

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the donut shop fitzroy

The Donut Shop

130 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy

https://www.instagram.com/donutshopfitzroy/

The Donut Shop usually have a couple of options. I’ve tried the brown sugar toasted almond and the strawberry glaze. I haven’t been on a day when they’ve had other flavours, but these two have been good!

 

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Trang Bakery

383 Smith Street Collingwood and 25/519 Riversdale Road Camberwell

https://www.facebook.com/trangbakery/

Trang Bakery have a vegan jam filled donut and one sold as ‘nutella’ (though truthfully when I tried it twice, it was more a plain dark chocolate flavour than hazelnut). They’re quite cheap too, around $2 and freshly made when you order.

Thanks to @caleybell for providing this photo of the Trang nutella donut!

Caleybell's Trang Bakery donut

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Taki’s Balls

http://www.facebook.com/takisballs/

Taki’s Balls serve up Greek donuts with a variety of toppings, though only the plain sugar donuts are vegan. Still great though! Taki’s Balls are at different markets and events around town.

 

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Lekker Lekker Snackbar

https://www.facebook.com/lekkerlekkersnackbar

Lekker Lekker was another happy discovery (well, I haven’t actually tried it yet) because I used to live in Amsterdam and loved the yearly stalls popping up that sold oliebollen (yes, that translates to oil/oily balls). It was quite a treat to head down to the nearest oliebollen cart and watch them being made. I haven’t had oliebollen since about 2003 so the very next chance I get, I will be sure to check out Lekker Lekker.

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UPDATES! Here are some comments I’ve received about other places in Melbourne serving vegan donuts. Thank you for the tips!

Lucinda says “The Crimson Bear in Williamstown had a couple of raw vegan donut options last time I was in”.

I’ve had a few comments suggesting the donuts at the MCG but I don’t know where they’re from sorry (as in, the supplier).

Rory says “there’s a pop-up on Chapel St next to KFC that has an option”.

Andy says “there’s a Doughnut Time cart (maybe the one that was at the MYER Emporium) at one of the exits from Melbourne Central out to Swanston St.”

Anthony says “There’s a little bakery in Briar Hill (near Eltham) that a Chinese couple run. They do all the traditional, cheap Aussie bakery fare, including doughnuts. Most stuff is not vegan but their jam- and iced-doughnuts are vegan. Warning: almost too jammy! I go for ring doughnuts usually. Super cheap! $1 / $1.80 for small / large sizes.”

Mich Leanne says “Saw donuts at Wombat vegan cafe in Dromana the other day 🙂 ”

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And I think that’s about it! Unfortunately there only seems to be the two gluten free options in all of that (Mister Nice Guy’s and Raw Trader though I am guessing the raw donut options at The Crimson Bear in Williamstown are gluten free). I know that some of the gluten free shops sell vegan jam filled donuts, but well years ago I tried one and it was like a sponge soaked in oil and I felt really sick afterwards. Plus this listing is more about places that sell donuts, not really what you find in a packet. Speaking of packets though, the churros at Costco are I believe vegan (they were a couple years ago) and the Nana’s Choc Filled Churros in the supermarket freezer section are vegan too, and sometimes on sale for half the price.

 

14

Return Visits To Mister Nice Guy’s Bake Shop

Mister Nice Guy's Bake Shop

I’ve written about Mister Nice Guy’s before but it was way too long ago so the blog is in need of a little updating! I’d guess that most vegans in Melbourne know about Mister Nice Guy’s, but it’s always a top recommendation in vegan groups where people say they are new vegans and want to know what’s about, or when people are visiting Melbourne and asking for advice on where to go for vegan food. Personally I always recommend a visit to the bake shop.

The bake shop has introduced additional products over the past couple of years, like the brioche donut bronuts, savoury brioche rolls and monster shakes. The photos below span the last year or so. This is the salted caramel pretzelstein: Mister Nice Guy's Bake Shop

Cupcakes are always a hit with the fam. The pic at the top of this post is a peanut butter chocolate. My favourite of the sweet goods would have to be the bronuts, I never thought anything would top the cinnamon buns (well, maybe the lemon buns) but the bronuts, especially the peanut butter one I tried that was a filled donut, are excellent: Mister Nice Guy's Bake Shop

There are lots of savoury items too. Sausage rolls, pretzel dogs, Coney Island chilli dog, meatballs subs, different types of brioche bun fillings such as chickpea tuna and turkey cranberry, bagels like BLT and curried egg salad and more. The sweet treats include the cheesecakes (often gluten free), whole cakes or slices of cake (GF options here too), cupcakes (with lots of GF varieties, as well as a low FODMAP flavour though I don’t know if that’s daily), danishes, Polish babkas, GF walnut banana bread, GF brownies, ring donuts, buns, scrolls, GF mini donuts, donut holes… so much great stuff. Mister Nice Guy's Bake Shop

Mister Nice Guy’s remains at the top of my family’s list of favourite places to eat. My son has been a fan of the cinnamon buns since we first started going to the bake shop and I don’t see that changing any time soon (in fact he once asked for a giant cake sized cinnamon bun to serve as a birthday cake). I like trying something different every time, but the brioche sandwiches are probably my more recent favourites though the curry katsu roll I had once was really good. The brioche sandwiches are very filling, with the brioche being a little sweeter than regular bread but for me it works well, I can only finish half then leave the rest for the sandwich press another time.Mister Nice Guy's Bake Shop

Mister Nice Guy’s is well known in the vegan community and the bake shop opened around 2010, though there were market stalls before that. If you’re visiting Melbourne, consider making time to take a trip to the bake shop! You can catch the 57 or 82 tram, or take the train and get off at Ascot Vale train station. Tram 57 goes along Union Road and tram 82 is a short walk away. The 472 bus isn’t far away either.

http://www.misterniceguy.com.au/

https://www.facebook.com/misterniceguysbakeshop
Mister Nice Guy's Bakeshop Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

14

Lunch At Power Plant Cafe In Templestowe

Power Plant Cafe Templestowe

Power Plant in Templestowe has been open since about October 2015. Templestowe is a suburb located about half an hours drive from the central part of Melbourne and the more vegan friendly suburbs like Fitzroy. This posed a bit of a problem for me initially because I’m nowhere near there and I don’t drive but, mercy me, I discovered I could easily catch a tram then a connecting bus which drops me off right outside Power Plant. Perfect! Apart from the bit where I discovered this gold mine of information too late, because Power Plant was a place I really wanted to visit after hearing positive reviews in vegan land back when it opened.

Power Plant is in the Westerfolds Sport Centre. It’s spacious and light inside and very family friendly with a child sized table set up. We snagged some stools along the window.

Power Plant Cafe Templestowe

There were quite a few tempting options on the menu. We started with sharing a very delicious very peanutty peanut butter smoothie:

Power Plant Cafe Templestowe

Son is a sweet tooth breakfast guy so he went for the maple French toast with poached pear, cashew rose water ice cream and toasted nuts. I’m glad I got to try some because this was really, really good. The rose water was just right, I’m not the biggest fan of rose water but when it’s subtle I enjoy it. I’d get this on a return visit:

Power Plant Cafe Templestowe

I went for the chickpea burger: a spiced chickpea patty with avocado, chipotle mayonnaise, pickles and tomato. This was served with smoky seasoned chips and a garlic aioli. Wow wow wow, best chips ever. If you like the fries at Trippy Taco, you’ll love these. The burger too was excellent, beautiful smokey flavours and the mayo was really good. It was a pretty big meal too, I could only eat half the burger and took the rest home to enjoy for dinner (though truthfully, as soon as I got home an hour later I ate it):

Power Plant Cafe Templestowe

There was no way I could fit in a dessert! The cabinet had lots of raw treats and some baked delights:Power Plant Cafe Templestowe

I’m not a coffee drinker so I neglected to ask questions about it, but here’s an article from Hospitality Magazine that talks about the sustainable and traceable coffee served at Power Plant. I also forgot to note down prices but our bill was $40 total.

Power Plant is a super offering for people in the Templestowe area seeking good plant based meals out. I have some friends a couple of suburbs over who have often lamented the lack of vegan options around there and having to travel ages to other areas for breakfasts and lunch, so having Power Plant has been great for them.

Service was great, very friendly and helpful and it was obvious from the get go that they care about their food, customers and providing a lovely space to enjoy some hearty vegan fare. The entire menu is vegan though dairy milk is provided for coffee drinks.

Check out a review and a couple of photos of some other Power Plant meals over at Little Vegan Bear’s blog.

Power Plant Cafe Templestowe

Power Plant Cafe

2-6 Swilk Street (at the Westerfolds Sports Centre)

Templestowe

Bus 905 from the city stops right outside

Open Wed-Sun (check for opening hours)

http://powerplantcafe.com.au/

https://www.facebook.com/powerplantbasedcafe/
Power Plant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato