3

Lunch At Dosa Plaza In Preston

HEADS UP: a couple of years ago there were dishes at Dosa Plaza being marked vegan, or staff insisting were vegan, but contained dairy. There were apparently some serious incidents involving allergy. I wasn’t aware of this when I hit publish ten minutes ago but have done a quick search in a Facebook group now. I did ask the Dosa Plaza staff to confirm vegan items and honestly, from the food I ate it didn’t seem not-vegan. It is possible that in the last two years, Dosa Plaza have taken more care with vegan foods. I hope this is the case… I have just learned that lentil balls/donuts often contain cheese and I ordered these (shown below) as they were marked vegan and I was told they’re vegan and don’t contain dairy. But I can’t offer any confident confirmation at this point.

 

I love dosa so it’s a bit embarrassing that I’ve only just been to Dosa Plaza in Preston, despite reading about it on Where’s the Beef? blog back in March 2017. I got to choose the Sunday lunch venue for our group of four, so Dosa Plaza it was.

Dosa Plaza is located on the pointy corner of High Street and Plenty Road and we parked in the nearby supermarket carpark. Once inside, we were a little overwhelmed by the menu which has a bajillion options, either vegetarian or clearly marked vegan. There are gluten free options too. The menu itself is an experience and takes a fair bit of time to work through (and exclaim over), with different sections such as Italo (yes, it’s pasta), Mumbai chaat, Tandoor & Curries, Sizzler and more.

The ordering system involves being given a little piece of notepaper to fill in, listing the menu item number and the quantity you want. So, to start with we got a serve of the onion bhaji:

I also chose the Pani puri, which are served with spiced potatoes, tamarind chutney and a mint dressing:

Our third entree was the Sambar vada (‘lentil donut dipped in lentil soup containing fine carrots, and garnished with coriander leaves’):

There was also a potato masala dosa on our table, which to our surprise was bigger than we anticipated so I added the fork in to give you an idea of size. Pretty sure the dosa I’ve had to date haven’t been this big!

My sister ordered the Mysore masala dosa (‘dosa stuffed with onion, tomato, capsicum and mint tomato chutney with tempered mashed potatoes’). I screwed up the focus on this photo sorry:

I took a leaf from the Where’s the Beef? book and ordered the spring roll dosa. Yes, this works! It had a really nice stir-fry taste to it. Photo at the top.

Another accompaniment we got was described as deep fried bread which I believe is M14 on the menu, but it doesn’t appear online:

I’m glad I finally tried Dosa Plaza. It’s nothing flash, but the food is good and nobody kicked us out even though we lingered for a bit after lunch (though only a few tables were occupied). We were stuffed, and all enjoyed our meals, two of which were vegetarian and got the nod of approval from those who ordered.

My advice would be to set aside the time to go through the menu. Seriously, if you look at the menu online I’m sure you’ll understand the overwhelm element. Still, it’s also fun looking at the different options such as the fusion dishes (American chop suey!). I believe only one dessert option is vegan, and that’s a sweet dosa, but as there was cake back at home I didn’t order it.

I think Dosa Plaza is definitely worth a return visit, even if only to try the Schezwan Sizzler which you can see on the Where’s the Beef? blog post!

Dosa Plaza are located in a few suburbs as well as Brisbane, Adelaide and New Zealand. Check the website to find what’s closest to you. And check out the menu online too, but be warned there’s a lot of it with little sub-menus!

http://www.dosaplaza.com.au/

2

The Merri Clan In Preston 2


I loved my first visit to The Merri Clan so much that I went back pretty soon after. In fact I think I’ll repost my photo (above) for the Fully Loaded Poffertjes and the nachos to have all my photos here in one spot for your convenience:

So, the second time I rocked up for the BBQ jackfruit burger only to be told it wasn’t available for another day. But that was cool because I ordered the Merri Breakfast and it was excellent.

I didn’t have the big camera with me on this second visit, so forgive the phone-camera photos. This was one really, really good dish. Slow cooked beans hiding some roasted sweet potato, a decent amount of avocado and tomato, pesto and two almond feta topped mushrooms. Gluten free as well. I had zero disappointment from missing out on the burger:

I also got one of the Earl grey tea donuts. So, so good (but not GF sorry folks):

The third visit back, I got the BBQ jackfruit burger. I made a huge mess (it was tricky to eat all delicate like) but this is a fine burger– slightly spicy if that’s not your thing:

My son got the poffertjes with jam and, for the second time, said they were great:

More donuts:

I forgot to note down prices on those other visits. There’s more on the menu I want to try, so I’ll be sure to update. Staff have always been friendly and helpful at The Merri Clan, so I’m looking forward to trying more of the menu.

The Merri Clan

15 Gilbert Road

Preston

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

 

 

5

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/

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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

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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/

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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/