8

Vegan Pizzas And More At CassellBella’s in Northcote

CassellBella's Northcote

I first heard of CassellBella’s Bakery & Cafe in the local vegan community. People were talking about the vegan pizzas and other options on the menu so I made a note to go there with the family for our next pizza day. The vegan menu is fairly recent and includes pizzas, savoury baked goods and some sweet treats.

We were warmly welcomed by the owner and staff and they were very helpful with the menu. I often like to talk to an owner about their vegan options and I could see that at CassellBella’s they really do try to provide well thought out vegan options, going as far as to plan for house made cashew based cheeses.

CassellBellas Bakery & Cafe Northcote

The cafe has some hot food displays and there were lots of vegan options. Shown below are the rice stuffed mushrooms (these were huge), two varieties of quiche and lots of pasties. A sign listed the pasty flavours: black bean and sweet potato, traditional mixed vegetables, curry lentil and vegetables, broccoli chickpeas and rice, Italian risotto and mixed vegie g.f. pasty (which I am assuming is the gluten free vegan option). I was impressed at how many flavour options there were:

CassellBellas Bakery & Cafe Northcote

The family opted for pizza on our first visit and I went with the curry lentil vegetable pasty. The pastry is house made too. My pasty was very filling, full of lentils and a bit of heat. A good hearty size and I was just able to finish the salad:

CassellBellas Bakery & Cafe Northcote

I was thinking how much I would have liked to try some pizza, when the staff came over to us and shared some of their garlic and chilli pizza. The pizza sauces, including the chilli sauce shown here, are all made in the cafe. The pizza was pretty good (and pretty spicy!):CassellBellas Bakery & Cafe Northcote

I bought one of the quiches to take home and cook the next day (this photo is before I cooked it, I’m very fussy about pastry so I wanted to brown this more on the bottom and sides). The toppping was pretty good on this and it’s unfortunate I can’t remember what was in it!CassellBellas Bakery & Cafe Northcote

On our second visit, we all got pizza for lunch. I chose the vegan supreme (13 inch size, about $19 I think). There was a good amount of the toppings and pizza sauce base (though husband thought there was too much sauce). We were able to take our leftovers home which was definitely needed:
CassellBella's Northcote

There are also a few vegan sweet treats. On our first visit the owner kindly gave us a red velvet cupcake which was very nice but there’s no photo. On our second visit there was a vegan fruit slice in the display. There’s also a sandwich bar so you can get a sandwich freshly made with your choice of fillings.

It’s great to see yet another cafe widely advertising their vegan options– you certainly can’t miss CassellBella’s if you’re walking past or across the road! A blackboard out the front proudly displays vegan pizza offers. I’m keen to see what else they come up with.

CassellBellas Bakery & Cafe Northcote

CassellBella’s Cafe and Bakery

371A High Street, Northcote

http://www.facebook.com/cassellbellasbakerycafe/
CassellBella's Bakery & Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

18

Loving Hut Northcote Visits

loving hut northcote katsu don special

Loving Hut in Northcote is a favourite of our family. I’ve never disliked a meal there and service is always friendly and helpful. I’ve reviewed Loving Hut Northcote in the past, but I’ve had so many return visits that an update is in order!

The layout has been pretty much the same since it opened, with the large open seating area towards the back. The freezers (and some empty space) are at the front of the restaurant. Vietnamese rolls are available during the day and made fresh for you. The space makes it family friendly as there is room for prams and strollers. It’s also a good choice for a large group gathering.

Loving Hut Northcote inside

So for a long time I was only ever ordering the home made curry with tofu and veg because I like it so much. On a recent visit, I ordered something else but encouraged my sister to get the curry 😉

Loving Hut Northcote home curry

The chilli basil fried rice is fantastic. Not spicy hot if you’re worried about the chilli:Loving Hut Northcote chilli basil rice

Another great rice option is the Nasi Goreng, again not spicy if you’re concerned about that:

Loving Hut Northcote Nasi Goreng

The lemon chicken tastes exactly like the non-vegan version and for me is definitely a fool-the-meateaters dish:

Loving Hut Northcote Lemon Chicken

I don’t care where I am, if I see a vegan Japanese katsu curry on a menu I’m getting it. This was on the specials board for $14 in April. The options were duck, tofu or eggplant and I chose the duck. This was really good. Look at the crumbs!

loving hut northcote katsu don special

I rarely order noodle dishes when I go out but on this visit I got the char kway teo. The veggies were done very well:

Loving Hut Northcote Char Kway Teao

For appetisers, we’ve had the rice paper rolls with lemongrass beef:

loving hut northcote rice paper rolls beef

… and the vegan sushi:

loving hut northcote vegan sushi

There are some bakery style slices and sweets in the display cabinet. Other times there are desserts like cake and pudding style cups, or cheesecakes in cups. The mango cheesecake was nice, no photo unfortunately. If you’re familiar with La Panella in Preston, the baked goods in the display are the same. The jam donuts are always popular. They also have jam donuts covered with icing and custard filled donuts:

loving hut northcote jam donut

Loving Hut Northcote is a place we’re always happy to return to and I’m confident that if I order something new, I’ll enjoy it. They’re going to be introducing pizzas this year, so keep an eye out for that!

Loving Hut Northcote outside

Loving Hut Northcote

377 High Street

Northcote

http://www.facebook.com/LovingHutNorthcoteAu
Loving Hut Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

6

Lunch at Loving Hut in Northcote

Loving Hut in Northcote is has recently reopened for lunch again: HURRAH! Great news for my family, seeing as we go there enough for dinner but we much prefer lunch hours.

I’ve taken my sister to Loving Hut before and so she and I decided to take mum. The plan was to order the southern fried chicken– that is ALWAYS the plan, so you can imagine my face when I was told they didn’t have any on the day (Sunday).

The other plan was to try something different. I always get the homemade curry with white rice because I like it so much. Then I’m all okay I’ll get something different next time, but the next time always involves getting the  homemade curry “one last time”.

My something-different entree were the steamed rice rolls with mushroom mince ($7). Oh my, these were delicious. Not stingy on the filling at all.  Mum, my sister and I really enjoyed them:

Loving Hut Northcote mushroom rolls

Loving Hut Northcote mushroom rolls

My sister went for the crispy wontons ($8). To me, wontons are pretty much okay, not resulting in those oh-man-these-are-great feelings like I had with the rice rolls:

Loving Hut Northcote crispy wontons

For her main, my mum ordered the curry laksa ($12). Mum really liked this and my sister and I tried a bit and agreed it was good. Mum would have liked more heat in hers but for me it was just right:

Loving Hut Northcote curry laksa

My sister ordered the homemade curry ($13. Ha, I still got some after all!). It tasted the same as the one I had on Thursday night but my sister’s had more veggies in it. This was good because as much as I like it, sometimes the amount of veggies are hit and miss:

Loving Hut Northcote homemade curry

Our server recommended I try the Broken Rice ($13). Wow, what a great recommendation.  I loved this plate of (vegan!) egg, sliced ham, chicken, potato, carrot and of course the broken rice, along with nuoc mam dipping sauce. I’d order this again and I was glad I went for the something-different to my usual:

Loving Hut Northcote broken rice

Here’s the southern fried chicken I had last week. Boy did I love the leftovers the next day:

Loving Hut Northcote fried chicken

These are the tofu bites, soft tofu sprinkled with rosemary salt. I liked these but they weren’t a hit with the family and I wouldn’t order them just for myself again:

Loving Hut Northcote tofu bites

The sweets display has treats like walnut slice, custard tarts, apple turnover pies and jam tarts. These look identical to those made by La Panella Bakery in Preston. I asked if the sweets were from La Panella and was told that the same people own La Panella and Loving Hut Northcote and that they make those sweets there at Loving Hut but the recipes are the same used at La Panella. My sister and I got a custard tart each to take home. I didn’t take a photo because they got a little squished but these were good, not that sickly sweet kind of non-vegan custard tarts you find in bakeries everywhere.

Although I was assured the Loving Hut custard tarts are vegan and that they use the La Panella recipe, some Melbourne vegans have reported that La Panella do not label their custard tarts as vegan (La Panella sell vegetarian and vegan goods). So make sure you ask about the custard tarts there at La Panella.

Here’s a piece of hazelnut peanut cake I bought last week from Loving Hut. I don’t remember how much it cost but wow it was one nice cake. I don’t know if they make it on the premises or if they buy it off someone else, but it was the first and only time I’ve seen a non-La Panella style sweet there:

Loving Hut Northcote peanut hazelnut cake

Loving Hut Northcote has a bit of an odd setup, which doesn’t appeal to all. The freezer section and shelves, selling vegan products, are at the front of the restaurant when you walk in so when you’re walking by outside, you don’t see tables and chairs right there.  I’m sure Loving Hut have their reasons for this (too bright/hot in summer perhaps) but I can’t help wonder if they’d attract more passers by if they moved the dining area right by the window. Some people aren’t fans of the big sliding door either, especially if your hands are full.

I was discussing this with mum and my sister and mum commented on how clean and open the place is and she much prefers that than a smaller cramped space. I also really like the open space. If you’re there as part of a large group and many of you have prams, I’m sure there’d be enough room. It’s a great size for holding a function and I think families would like it too, because if your children want to get up and walk around the table (hello DeeW) there’s enough space so that they’re not bumping in to chairs and ticking people off.

When we’ve gone there as a family for dinner, we usually go around 5:30 as that’s the time we’re driving through Northcote. We’re usually one of about three or four tables. Today during lunch we and another table of two were the only people in the restaurant, though a few people came in for takeaway.

The toilets are to the rear of the restaurant. There is a single men and women toilet each, plus a disabled/family toilet with a lot of space. The hand basins are in an open area for everyone. The toilets and basin areas have always been clean when I’ve used them.

There’s a big tv screen which sometimes plays nature style videos or is switched off. I have not seen any Supreme Master videos playing, like you see at Loving Hut in Richmond. Music is kept to a low volume.

Service has always been friendly, though we have had a couple of orders misinterpreted or missed. No biggie, everything was fixed right away.

Loving Hut Northcote

377 High Street, Northcote

9077 1335

http://www.lovinghutnorthcote.com.au/

 

6

Loving Hut Northcote: The Return. Again.

We love Loving Hut in Northcote.   Today we went with my sister and her partner for his belated birthday. This was their first time there and they really enjoyed it.  My sister no longer eats meat and although she considers herself ‘more vegetarian’, most of what she eats is vegan.  When she cooks, it’s vegan and when she chooses a meal from the cafeteria at work, she chooses something vegan.  Her partner is still omni but he’s very open minded and will try anything.

I ordered our usual entrees, which consists of fried stuff (spring rolls, moneybags and crumbed prawns) and we got the 7-piece serve of the southern fried chicken to share.  My sister and her partner loved it.  Their entree were the rice paper rolls with the crumbed prawn fillings served with two dipping sauces.  I forgot to take a photo when it came out:

loving hut rice paper roll

I went for the vegan sushi entree in the hopes DeeW would eat it.  She eats avocado maki rolls but unfortunately she removed all of the filling here and nibbled at the rice and nori:

loving hut vegan sushi

For our mains, I decided to break from the usual homemade curry and try something different.  I enjoy the homemade curry so much that I always say “I’ll get something different next time”.  So I went for the katsu style breaded duck in plum sauce with some plain rice on the side:

loving hut duck katsu

This was a massive serve.  As you can see, it’s all the mock duck with a little onion.  I find dishes like this really difficult to finish on my own so I was glad that we all picked at eachother’s plates.  Even so I took the leftovers home.  The plum sauce was more a coating on the dish, which I prefer instead of the duck pieces drowning in sauce.  I’d recommend this more for a party that are sharing the food around, as a meal for myself it’s just too much, with no veggies to lighten it.

My sister ordered the pad thai which was listed on the daily specials board.  Again this was a big serve and after the entrees, my sister barely put a dent in it.  She left enough to fill a takeaway container.  I tasted some and it was pretty good, there was tofu and bean shoots throughout:

loving hut pad thai

Sister’s partner got the ‘shrooms dish with rice on the side.  He loves mushrooms and said his meal was great.  I tried a bit and it was quite nice, though I am a total wimpazoid when it comes to anything other than button mushrooms.  Even cutting shiitake slightly freaks me out:

loving hut shrooms

We were absolutely stuffed and waddled back to our cars.  As usual, the men serving us were lovely and our meals arrived quickly.  We got there at 5:30 and there was only one other couple but by the time we left more people arrived.  It seems everyone orders the southern fried chicken!

Loving Hut Northcote is located at 377 High Street in Northcote.  I blogged about a previous visit here

Linda from the Lentil Institution has posted about her trip to Loving Hut Northcote here.  Cindy and Michael from Where’s the Beef have also visited.

4

Loving Hut in Northcote

Today I met up with my buddy T and we headed off for lunch at the new Loving Hut in Northcote.  Wheee!

Loving Hut Northcote is very spacious with lots of room for prams:

Loving Hut Northcote

There are fridges and freezers stocking lots of Asian vegan products like mock meats:

Loving Hut Northcote

For our entree we shared the crumbed prawns and money bag dumplings:

Loving Hut crumbed prawns

Loving Hut money bag dumplings

T got the tofu and veg curry with brown rice.  I had a bit and I think this is what I’ll order next time though to be honest we both kinda felt it was a little light on the veg for a $15 dish:

Loving Hut veg tofu curry

I got the southern fried chicken after I’d read one or two great reviews about it.  It did not disappoint, though being a dry dish there was no sauce for the rice.  Just a mayo dipping sauce.  It wasn’t an issue for me because the ‘chicken’ itself was really good, but usually I’m disappointed when I order something with rice that then turns out to be a dry dish so I end up eating plain rice.  I put some of T’s curry on my rice:

Loving Hut southern fried chicken

Service was efficient and friendly and I will definitely be going back there the very next chance I get.  I can’t remember the exact prices of everything, I think my dish (with three pieces of chicken) was $12 and the bill total was $40.

Now we just need a Loving Hut around Brunswick so I don’t have to travel to Northcote or Richmond!

This Loving Hut is located at 377 High Street in Northcote.  Their Facebook page is here.