3

Lunch At Cafe 435 In Pascoe Vale

Pascoe Vale has a new all-vegan cafe: Cafe 435 on Kent Road. It’s located in a strip of shops and marks the first all-vegan cafe in this area.

The menu is quite sizeable, with a few Middle Eastern, Turkish and Greek/Cypriot dishes in amongst the burgers on offer. My sister and I employed our system, that being we never order the same dish as the other, instead getting two separate meals and having half each. I forgot to take photos of the menu and so can’t remember the names or prices, but we got the double pattie ‘Big’ burger and another with salad and mayo (possiblly called the Vopper). Each burger came with a large bowl of chips.

The patties I don’t believe are house made, but the burgers were tasty nonetheless. The dessert menu had loads on offer, with many treats by one of my favourites, The Compassionate Kitchen. Baklava and kadaifi were in the desserts cabinet but we were way too stuffed for any more food.

Cafe 435 is spacious inside with loads of outdoor seating and a play area for kids:

 

Brunswick and Coburg tend to be the more vegan friendly areas in the inner north, so it’s pretty good to see Pascoe Vale, which is the next suburb to the north-west, on the map too. Pascoe Vale has a handful of very vegan friendly places, but an all-vegan place is fantastic to see.

Cafe 435

104 Kent Road

Pascoe Vale 

https://www.facebook.com/Cafe-435-570396236661717/

5

Blissful Station in Box Hill Central

Blissful Station is an all-vegan food outlet at Box Hill Central shopping centre and train station. It’s been around for a while now but I never got the chance to visit because I’m never in that part of town. I was today though, well about ten minutes away by bus so I made sure to make time for a quick visit.

First I did two laps of the food court to find Blissful Station. I had to ask someone for help and it turned out Blissful Station is located more towards the market/fruit-veg area (judging by the huge ‘market’ sign) than in the main food court.

We were in a bit of a hurry so I just went with the advertised vegan lunch special, which was $9.90 for a large serve of rice and the three mains on offer:

We also got a radish cake and a zucchini pastie, which I’m sure contained the same filling you get in the dumplings. It was pretty good but my favourite was the sweet potato peanut ball:

For a quick fix food court meal, Blissful Station is a great option.

Blissful Station – Vegan Wisdom

Box Hill Central Shopping Centre

4

Olivia Spring Vegan Cafe in Moonee Ponds

Olivia Spring Cafe has recently-ish opened up in Moonee Ponds. It’s a vegan cafe, located right opposite the big bus and tram terminus, not too far from Queens Park.

My first visit was very quick and I didn’t have time to eat in, so I got a bbq pork banh mi to take away. Excellent, and this action photo doesn’t do it justice:

I made time for my second visit and got the broken rice plate. Another great meal:

For the next visit I went all out and got the rice paper rolls, which were pretty large and filling and didn’t leave much room for my main. The sauce was excellent:

I ordered the peanut Japanese noodle dish, which was piled high with delicious noodles, beetroot, sprouts and carrot. Wow:

Service has always been great and the cafe itself is nice and quiet. I want to go back a few more times as the menu is pretty enticing.

Olivia Spring is located on that main busy part of Mount Alexander Road where there’s no parking. I’ve always been on public transport when I’ve visited which is easy, because of the tram and buses opposite. For parking, you might be lucky to get a spot on Puckle Street or Hall Street or across the road in the parking bay, but there’s always the carpark for Moonee Ponds Central, a short walk away.

My apologies for the lack of pricing or info on gluten free options, I had jotted everything down but misplaced my notes. The prices are reasonable though and there are GF options. Definitely worth a visit!

Olivia Spring Cafe

637 Mount Alexander Road

Moonee Ponds

http://www.facebook.com/OliviaSpringCafe/

 

4

Many Visits to Handsome Her in Brunswick

I’ve been to Handsome Her on Sydney Road a few times now so it’s time to blog about it! I kept going back to get ‘one more photo’ for the blog.

This is old news now in the Melbourne food scene but for the benefit of non-local readers, Handsome Her burst on to the scene with a bit of ‘controversy’. I put that in quotes because it was all pretty ridiculous the way some people reacted and left fake negative reviews everywhere (feel free to safely ignore those).

So, Handsome Her is not just a fully vegan cafe. It’s also a space by women for women and, to quote the Facebook page, is a ‘community based cafe focusing on female empowerment, social responsibility and environmental justice’.

The bit that got everyone talking (and leaving negative reviews) is that men are invited to pay an 18% surcharge to reflect the gender pay gap. This surcharge is voluntary and goes straight to a women’s service. It resulted in a bunch of clearly fake negative reviews which, funnily enough, backfired a bit as I spoke to quite a few people who  saw all this complaining and went to Handsome Her to check it out (and loved it).

I really like the vibe at Handsome Her. It’s a safe space for women and is laid back with friendly staff. The menu is pretty amazing though and I always have a hard time deciding what to get. On my first visit I got the Michelle Obama brownie hotcakes ($20) with peanut butter mousse, salted caramel brittle, strawberry baobab icecream (pictured at the top). Quite nice, and I’m not really a brownies fan.

For my second lunch visit I met up with Johanna from Green Gourmet Giraffe and after some deliberation, we both ordered the special which was the Kelis jackfruit burger. This was a winner for me:

I also got a warm peanut butter chocolate brownie slice which was so good. I mean look at all the peanut butter!

My son and I went on another visit. I got the peanut butter chocolate cake pop (cakesicle I think) and my son got the cheesecake slice. Both were great:

I went back today as the new summer menu is out. Again, I had a hard time deciding what to get but I knew I wanted savoury. I ordered the Frida Kahlo which was a most excellent cheese and bacon bagel with beetroot and edamame and was just so.fricken.good:

I apologise for not taking better photos of everything (I only had my good camera on the first visit, all the rest are phone pics) or better note of the prices but they’re around/above the $20 mark. Gluten free options are clearly labelled.

The meals are just beautifully presented each time. As for coffee, there are no environmentally unfriendly takeaway cups– you either bring your own cup, or you’re given a mug from the stash hanging on the wall.

For more pics of meals, check out Where’s the Beef? here and here, as well as Quinces and Kale.

Handsome Her
206 Sydney Roadd, Brunswick
http://www.handsomeher.com.au/

5

More Lunches At Loving Hut West Melbourne

I didn’t think my schedule allowed me to quickly return to the new Loving Hut West Melbourne so soon after my first visit but turns out I was able to go a couple more times, with company. I’ll sneak in the photos of that first visit again, just to get all the food pictures in one post.

I hadn’t tried a Loving Hut Malaysian char kway teow ($13, gluten free option) and on a solo visit, that’s what I went for. This was pretty good and something I’d probably order again:

When I visited with family, we ordered the crispy delight ($10, add on mayo for $2) for our entree. These are taro and enoki mushrooms in a battered seaweed and beancurd pocket:

My sister and I liked the sound of the Thai eggplant and tofu ($17) described as ‘…rich, spicy fragrant chilli-basil sauce’. Delicious, and not too spicy:

We ordered a second eggplant dish but really because we wanted something from the Thai selections and something from the Malaysian selections. We’d already had the Royal Rendang ($16, gluten free) at Richmond back in June and it’s always hard for us to go past an Assam curry on a menu. This had eggplant as well as beans, pineapple and soy fillet ($16). In hindsight I think one eggplant dish would have been enough, but no matter as this was also pretty good:

From other visits, the Royal Rendang and the satay skewers with peanut sauce ($8, gluten free):Loving Hut West Melbourne

 

That’s three visits to Loving Hut West Melbourne and we’ve enjoyed our meals every time. Desserts are available now too, we would have ordered the sticky date pudding but had already made plans to pick up something sweet from the Queen Vic market around the corner.

Loving Hut West Melbourne

185 Victoria Street

West Melbourne

https://www.facebook.com/lovinghutwestmelbourne/