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/

4

Loving Hut West Melbourne Opens

Melbourne now has a new Loving Hut restaurant, located right near the Queen Victoria Market in the same space that was previously the White Lotus restaurant. For those unaware, the Loving Hut restaurants are all vegan, with the first Melbourne Loving Hut located in Richmond and the second in Northcote.

The new West Melbourne Loving Hut has a menu based on the Richmond restaurant. The space has been redesigned inside from how White Lotus was set up, and looks more open and bright.

The official opening day was to be tomorrow (September 24th) but an Instagram post by Loving Hut West Melbourne said they were having a pop-up opening on the weekend, so today (Sunday) was their first full trading day. I headed down with my son and ordered the satay skewers: 

I loved the Royal Rendang from my last visit to Richmond, so I got that again today along with some rice and roti (I brought a container to take leftovers home as the serving was too big for me to finish off):Loving Hut West Melbourne

I really like the meals at Richmond, so I’m glad I can access the same menu at West Melbourne which is closer to home for me and involves a single journey on public transport. I’d hoped to go back again this coming week and blog some more photos in this review but it’s not looking likely, so I’ll put this post up now to help spread the word of a new all-vegan restaurant in town.

Loving Hut West Melbourne

185 Victoria Street

West Melbourne

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

8

Lunches At Loving Hut Richmond

I haven’t been to Loving Hut Richmond in AGES. A birthday lunch was on the same day as the Queen’s Birthday public holiday, so most places were closed. Not our faithful Loving Hut Richmond. A second bonus was that we found parking right away, just opposite. That’s never happened before. Thank you Your Majesty!

The Richmond menu is different to the Northcote Loving Hut, and for me each has some excellent dishes I’d return for.

First up were the fried spring rolls. My son likes fried entree things and these were your nice little regular fried spring rolls:

We also got some steamed dumplings for our entree. Nice and freshly made:

The menu has changed a little from when I last visited. My sister beat me to the Royal Rendang. This was excellent. Truthfully, I was a little nervous about the soy fillet ‘beef’ because when I bought some of the dried version myself and rehydrated it, it was awful and tasted heavily of soy. More a strong soy milk taste. This Loving Hut meal had none of the soy taste. A stand out:

My son ordered the Mongolian BBQ. This was also really good and wasn’t way sweet:

I chose the lemongrass chili tofu. I didn’t know what this would be like, other places have tofu cubes deep fried so it’s crispy. This dish was different though, with a much softer tofu and a lot of it. This is a great dish for sharing, I wouldn’t get it for myself again but for sharing, absolutely:

We got a fried rice to share which was also pretty good:

My son was apparently not able to fit the veggies in to his stomach but had no problem ordering the sundae, which had a three scoops option we shared. It’s the soy So Good icecream. I wished there was more sauce though:

Here are some pics of what I had the last time I went to Loving Hut Richmond aaaages ago. I don’t know if these dishes are still on the new menu: 

I used to be in Richmond every few weeks and would often stop at Loving Hut for a meal. I miss those days and although I’m way spoilt now with more vegan options closer to me, I still miss lunches at Loving Hut Richmond.

Loving Hut Richmond

10/242 Victoria Street

Richmond

http://lovinghutmelbourne.com.au/