2

The Merri Clan in Preston

The Merri Clan showed up on my radar thanks to an Instagram photo I saw of an amazing looking pile of poffertjes. Better yet was this pile of poffertjes being sortof down the road from me in Preston. I used to live in Amsterdam and haven’t had vegan versions of the famous Dutch little pancakes yet. I really need to get on to making my own recipe seeing as I lugged a cast iron poffertjes pan over on my final trip home.

So I did that thing where I didn’t read the entire menu because a) I had hungry kids with me and my youngest was already attacking those sachets of sugar on the table and b) as soon as I saw vegan nachos with black beans and the fully loaded option of the vegan poffertjes I really didn’t feel a need to read the whole menu. I was confident I chose well and choose well I did.

These nachos (vegan option $18.50) are hands down the best vegan nachos I’ve tried anywhere. It’s a big serve with loads of guacamole and really good black beans. Lovers of coriander, like me, will be happy but if you’re not a fan perhaps ask if they can leave it off. I loved everything about this dish. I can’t even remember the exact details and haven’t yet found the menu online, but from the ingredients alone I’d say it’s also gluten free:

My daughter ordered one of the vegan muffins on the counter, which were either berry vanilla or apple cinnamon. This is the berry muffin:

These fully loaded poffertjes (25 pieces, $18.00 I think) were excellent. The fully loaded option comes with all the toppings. There was a maple cashew cream, nutella style cream, candied pecans and berry compote. A fantastic option for vegan pancake meal lovers:

The Merri Clan is conveniently located right by a route #11 tram stop. Service was friendly and it’s nice and comfy inside with some armchair/couch seating towards the back. I didn’t get pics of the inside but we sat at a table by the front window.

I’m always happy to see kickass vegan options on menus where there has been clear thought put in to the offerings and where the vegan options are a standout. Both the nachos and poffertjes ticked those boxes.

The Merri Clan

15 Gilbert Road

Preston

http://www.facebook.com/themerriclan/

 

5

Lunch At Juanita’s Kitchen In Preston

Juanita's Kitchen Preston

I first blogged about Juanita’s Kitchen back in August 2015. Like so many other places I’ve been to, I plan to go back soon after but it ends up being a long, long time later. This time, I met up with Rosalie from Quinces and Kale and Johanna from Green Gourmet Giraffe on one of those Melbourne spring days that is actually a spring day (where we had the heater on two days before because it was freezing at home).

Juanita’s Kitchen has been changed slightly since my last visit, with some benches added along the window. The space is still nice and light, with great photography and art work displays plus Juanita’s take-home products in the shelves.

Juanita's Kitchen Preston

I rarely buy drinks when I go out to eat and just stick to water, but there were too many nice looking chai based drinks on the menu to pass up. I ended up getting the soy option of the iced chai delight ($6.00). This had quite a chilli kick and was perfect for me because it wasn’t very sweet. Juanita said the coconut milk version looks prettier, but I was in more of a soy mood.Juanita's Kitchen Preston

There are lots of vegan options to choose from. Rosalie got the vegan breaky bake ($11, add vegan chorizo $12) and I took a poorly focused photo:Juanita's Kitchen Preston

For me it was tough deciding what to get but when I see peanut anything on a menu that’s often my first choice. Plus I’ve been a bit slack with eating lots of veggies lately so the Mafe ($12.50) stood out. The menu says Mafe is a popular Senegalese dish and the cafe serves it with seasonal vegetables on cous cous, though I was also offered rice. My meal was loaded with carrot, zucchini and cabbage so I felt quite virtuous about eating a whole lot of veg.Juanita's Kitchen Preston

Johanna’s vegetarian meal looked quite filling and she confirmed it was!

We’d decided to skip sharing dips/starters and instead leave room for dessert. The salted caramel cheesecake ($5.00) was really nice, described on the menu as being made with a cacao nut base with a sugar free caramel filling. It was topped with toasted almonds, rice malt syrup and chocolate shards:Juanita's Kitchen Preston

I also ordered the raw peanut butter cup ($2.50) which was lovely. Juanita gave us a piece of the beetroot brownie which was very nice, not too sweet:Juanita's Kitchen Preston

There are lots of good looking vegan options to choose from both on the menu and in the displays. Juanita also sells lots of house made products such as cooking/simmer sauces, chai blends, tea blends, salsas, smoothie mixes and marinades, all influenced by the cuisines of Mexico and West Africa. These can be found at markets too where Juanita’s Kitchen has a stall. I’ve tried quite a few products in the past and ended up buying more to give as gifts.

There are also Taco Nights held regularly (you need to book in), with details posted to the Juanita’s Kitchen Facebook page. I hope to make it to one soon 🙂

Juanita’s Kitchen

219 High Street

Preston

http://www.juanitaskitchen.com.au/

8

Vegan Eats At Preston Market: Gluten Freegan, Gringo Paella and Hot Jam Doughnuts

Gluten Freegan

A few weeks ago I visited Preston Market to do some grocery shopping, but also to go and check out the newer vegan-option stalls at PAM (Preston Artists Market) Lane. First up was Gluten Freegan. There are quite a number of vegan options such as apple custard friands, mixed berry coconut friands, little tarts with assorted fillings and a lovely pistachio raspberry cake with rosewater custard, shown at the top there.

Gluten Freegan Gluten Freegan Gluten Freegan Gluten Freegan

Gluten Freegan are at PAM Lane Preston Market during market hours on Wednesday to Saturday and at St. Andrews Market on Saturdays.

http://www.instagram.com/gluten_freegan/

* * *

Gringo Paella have a vegan paella chock full of seasonal market veggies and mushrooms. It’s sold as the vegetarian option for $12:Gringo Paella Gringo Paella Gringo Paella

Gringo Paella also operate during Preston Market hours.

http://www.instagram.com/gringopaella/

http://gringo-paella.squarespace.com/#eat-together-marquee

* * *

The donuts at the Hot Doughnuts van at Preston Market are vegan (I KNOW RIGHT??!) I seriously think that Preston Market need to put up a sign leading you to the van because I always, always get lost:

Preston Market hot jam donuts Preston Market hot jam donuts

Preston Market Hot Doughnuts operate during market hours.

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

* * *

Long in the past I had a vegan burrito from the Cornutopia van, but I haven’t been able to go and search it out again in recent times but keep an eye out for it in case that’s another vegan option.

Preston Market hasn’t had much in the way of vegan friendly meals (though when there are hot jam donuts, I prefer to skip looking for a meal and instead go buy a six pack of donuts), so it’s good to see we now have a few more options available.

Keep an eye out on PAM Lane’s Facebook page for updates to stalls!

http://www.facebook.com/prestonartistmarketlane

http://www.pamlane.com.au/

8

Dinner At Disco Beans, Preston

Disco Beans Preston

Disco Beans in Preston came back on my radar thanks to a recent discussion in one of the local vegan communities. It was a good reminder for me to go and check it out, something I’d been meaning to do in, oooh, forever. I love Japanese food though I haven’t had all that much in my vegan years, apart from the usual suspects like gyoza, tofu don and fresh avocado cucumber rolls.

When I checked out the menu online I was surprised to see the opening hours extend to breakfast. From Tuesday to Sunday, Disco Beans is open from 8am to 4:00pm for breakfast and lunch, then reopens for dinner from 5:30pm to 9:30pm. Sweet!

The inside is bright and cheery, with a mix of colourful artwork, knick knacks and goods for sale including a small rack of clothing, pins, cards, ceramics and more. It’s not huge and I’m not sure if there are additional seating areas but we got a table without a problem at 5:30 on a Sunday. A few more diners came in after us, and others to pick up orders. There’s a couch near the counter for people to wait for their take-away meals to be prepared.

Disco Beans Preston

The menu has a lot of vegan, or vegan-option meals. We got the pan fried tofu and vegetable gyoza ($10.5). A good start! Photo up the top there.

It’s always a bit tricky working out what to get for the kids but fried mock chicken is usually a safe bet. I wondered if the mock chicken would be the same as the one used at other vegan/vegetarian restaurants with a mock chicken dish, and I suspect I was correct. The mock fried chicken ($16.50) was served on top of mixed grain rice, with vegan mayo and salad:

Disco Beans Preston

I ordered the lemongrass udon noodle ($14.50) which came with mushroom, silken tofu, salad greens and nori. The lemongrass broth was lovely and I enjoyed it:

Disco Beans Preston

You know how when you see something on a menu that says deep fried potato croquette and you’re like THAT’S IT SAY NO MORE and you decide to get it before reading the rest of the description? That’s what we did. Deep fried potato croquette with sweet rich flavour sauce, you get two on the plate for $8.50. These were nice and crispy crunchy, though the potato wasn’t heavily flavoured. They were nice with the accompanying sauce:

Disco Beans Preston

My son Arthur has always wanted to try okonomiyaki so we ordered the vegan option ($14.50, also listed as gluten free). The menu said it was made with grains, green onion, ginger and vegetables topped with homemade vegan mayo and sweet okonomiyaki sauce. The grains appeared to be the same as the grain rice mixed use for the fried chicken don and other dishes served on rice, making this seem more a rice pancake than the hefty cabbagey versions many may be more familiar with. It worked well though with the sauce and nori strips for a little extra punch:

Disco Beans Preston

By this stage we were pretty full but left room for dessert. Arthur got the black bean brownie (not sure of the price as it was displayed on the counter and not an item the printed menu). We shared this and it was beautifully soft and fudgy without a single hint of beanyness:

Disco Beans Preston

If I see green tea-anything I’m getting it, so I got the green tea cake (not sure of the price for this either). Arthur and I really liked this and it was a great ending to a really nice dinner:

Disco Beans Preston

Service was very friendly and our orders came out quickly. There’s so much more on the menu I’d love to try, especially for breakfast and lunch. I definitely see a few return visits in my future. Check out the menu online.

The designated driver for the evening dropped us off and picked us up so I don’t know anything about the parking situation, except that there’s no parking right out the front on busy Plenty Road. Tram #86 stops right outside the door though, which is super handy.

Here are some past reviews from fellow Melbourne veg*n bloggers: The Good Hearted (2014), In The Mood For Noodles (2010a and 2010b), Where’s The Beef? (2011a and 2011b), Vegan About Town (2010a and 2010b), and Ballroom Blintz (2010).

Disco Beans Preston

 

Disco Beans

539 Plenty Road

Preston (it used to be in Northcote)

http://www.discobeans.com/

https://www.facebook.com/discobeanscafe
Disco Beans Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

8

Lentil As Anything, Preston

Preston Lentil As Anything

Lentil As Anything in Preston have recently re-opened and are now Melbourne’s first fully vegan Thali bar, serving up Southern Indian meals. If you’re not familiar with how LAA operates, they’re a non-profit community organisation and you pay-as-you-feel. You can also find other LAAs in Footscray, Abbotsford, St. Kilda, Thornbury and Sydney.

Preston Lentil As Anything

It may look a little small when you walk in, but it’s light and comfortable. More seating is out the back. In the front room, where you enter from the street, there’s an art exhibition space where artists can display their work without having to pay big hire fees or commissions. There was some great work displayed (check out the astronaut below, that was my favourite):

Preston Lentil As Anything

There’s the Upstairs community Co-Op space where events like yoga, swap meets, markets, exhibitions and skills shares are held. The outdoor eating area at Preston LAA is all undercover and it’s a pleasant place to sit with a little veggie and herb garden:

Preston Lentil As Anything

Food! I’m not sure if it’s thali time all time, or just when I went on the Saturday. This was a tasty selection of dishes, with rice underneath. Arthur stole half the curry pastry, argh:

Preston Lentil As Anything

When you eat at LAA, your contibution (i.e. what you choose to pay) helps support a whole number of community initiatives. From the LAA website, their mission is

Caring for people: Provide a wholesome and nutritious meal where money is not a concern.
Promoting Multiculturalism: Fostering an environment of inclusion and not exclusion.
Reforming Society: Acting on the structures of society to restore justice.
Extending/Spreading it’s ethos and values: Hiring volunteers, the long-term unemployed and the marginalised.
Encouraging: Young people to be active citizens and get involved in community based initiatives

All great reasons to give it a go!

Lentil As Anything Preston

288 High Street, Preston

http://lentilasanything.com/preston/
Click to add a blog post for Lentil As Anything on Zomato

 

Preston Lentil As Anything