Roots, Fruits And Wild Herbs: A Vegan Degustation At Bar Idda, Brunswick East

Bar Idda Brunswick Vegan Degustation

Pre-vegan, I was a big lover of Italian food and always happy to look for an excuse stuff myself on dishes from different regions of Italy. I still love Italian food, though it seems most of the vegan options for dining out are limited to pastas, pizzas and risottos– things I can make at home easily. Admittedly, I haven’t really researched properly and I’m sure there are some great options out there I just don’t know about! So when I heard that Bar Idda were holding a ‘Roots, Fruit and Wild Herbs Vegan Degustation’ evening as part of The Age Good Food Month, I was pretty hopeful this would fill the gap!

Located on Lygon Street in Brunswick East, Bar Idda serves Sicilian inspired cuisine with a particular focus on fresh seasonal produce. For their vegan evening, Bar Idda offered a seven course degustation with paired wine, centering on Sicilian specialties.

Bar Idda Brunswick Vegan Degustation

My first impression when I walked in was one of feeling immediately familiar– the mixed chairs, tablecloths and bread on the counter reminded me of my own family gatherings. I felt like the dining area was treated as a special extension of a family home, where guests are both welcomed and well looked after.  It took me back to sitting under the grapevine in my grandparent’s back yard on warm days, with a table laid out and everyone welcome.

Bar Idda Brunswick Vegan Degustation

The restaurant was full by the 7pm start. I’d arrived early to take some photos (many thanks to Bar Idda for letting me take pics) and got to check out the menu which certainly seemed to promise great food!

We started with the antipasti courses. For the Verdura cunzati, we were served Sicilian green olives, warm maccu with olive oil and pane di casa along with pickled artichoke, asparagus, cucumber and melon. The melon here was great, I usually don’t like rockmelon but it was a stunner here and I went back for more. I also learned what maccu is (follow the link!) and decided that yep, we were off to a really good start:

Bar Idda Brunswick Vegan Degustation

Bar Idda Brunswick Vegan Degustation

Next up were the fritti dishes. We had zeppole of potato, chicory and salmoriglio– these were superb! So were the chickpea panelle (the picture that looks a little like nachos), served with tomato, chili and cumin salsa with sweet and sour avocado. I’d vote these my favourite of the night easily. I also loved the herb-crusted zucchini flowers:

Bar Idda Brunswick Vegan Degustation  Bar Idda Brunswick Vegan Degustation  Bar Idda Brunswick Vegan Degustation

Next up were the Primi courses, starting with the crudo dishes. These were raw and refreshing– soused cauliflower with currants, pine nuts, witlof and fresh herbs along with zucchini spaghetti with broad beans, mint, pistachio and stemperata. A great way to showcase seasonal produce and the pine nuts were really good in the cauliflower dish:

Bar Idda Brunswick Vegan Degustation Bar Idda Brunswick Vegan Degustation

For the arrosto course, we had capunata of roasted baby vegetables with raspberry vincotto– really good. The roasted eggplant and chickpeas with tomato passata were good, and unfortunately my photos for this course haven’t really turned out well:

Bar Idda Brunswick Vegan Degustation

Bar Idda Brunswick Vegan Degustation

For the secondi dishes listed (pasta e contorni), we had a great homemade ravioli (yesss!) of wild local vegetables, cannellini beans with salsa verde and olive oil. Sooo good and I think some of my dining buddies counted this as their favourite, along with the warm lentils with garlic mollica and citrus:

Bar Idda Brunswick Vegan Degustation

Bar Idda Brunswick Vegan Degustation

I think this was the point where we chose to pace ourselves a bit! Next up for the dolce courses we had a spiced prune sorbet with Sicilian artisanal dark chocolate for our sorbetto. I must apologise for the really bad photo here, but I kinda gave up the effort to take better photos because I just wanted to dive right in and eat this (note to self: don’t play around with a new lens when there are serious photos to take and sorbetto to eat!). Another winner:

Bar Idda Brunswick Vegan Degustation

Finally, an almond milk, oat and farro pudding with bombolone, fresh berries and nut candy for our cuccia course. I loved that this wasn’t too sweet and the bombolone smelled and tasted great (I could eat a bag of them easy). I chose the espresso to go with it, the other option was a bay leaf and lemon rind tea:

Bar Idda Brunswick Vegan Degustation

I was hopeful this dinner would be a winner and it most definitely was! This is the kind of great food where you forget that it’s vegan (not that vegan is a bad thing of course, but some people out there think we only eat boring salads!), because the food is so good that’s all you focus on– that it’s really good food, not specifically really good vegan food. This is also the kind of food that easily shows the doubters that plant based meals can really be amazing and that such a celebration of fresh seasonal produce doesn’t have to be for vegans alone. It reminds me of when I became vegan and some of my Greek relatives asked “but what will you eat?!” and I rattled off the names of some Greek regional dishes and they were all ohhh you’ll be fine then! 🙂

Broadsheet had named Bar Idda’s vegan degustation as one of their key dinners and it was a well deserved mention. The food was great, staff were great and everything was paced out really well. It was both a successful celebration of Sicilian inspired cuisine and vegan cuisine. Everything vegan is becoming more mainstream now and vegan degustations have seen some amazing food that have blown apart the rabbit-food stereotypes. Bar Idda has definitely helped dispel that myth, showing people that this is food for everyone, not just vegans and plant based eaters.

Thanks to Bar Idda for holding their vegan degustation and showcasing such beautiful springtime food that is all plant based!

Bar Idda

132 Lygon Street

Brunswick East

Bar Idda Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Bar Idda Brunswick Vegan Degustation

16 thoughts on “Roots, Fruits And Wild Herbs: A Vegan Degustation At Bar Idda, Brunswick East

  1. It must be so hard to shoot these events with the all the fresh smells off the plates, a true test of professionalism and patience! Are the other diners vegans or is it a mix from the foodie community?

    • This particular group (7 of us) were all vegan/vegetarian. We’re members of a local group for kinda fancier vegan food and half the group are food bloggers here too, so we go to events together and stuff. It’s a really good group, and I think most are part of a local blog roll for veg*n bloggers. Ha, I often have to hold up people from eating cos I’m taking pics but on this night the food bloggers were taking pics too 😉

  2. I said you would be quick to get this up but am still impressed at your speed – your photos are great and the food looks so beautiful – your new lens takes great close ups – I guess it is a macro. I agree that the dinner was really amazing and impressive both the food and the ambiance

    • If I don’t get the post up asap I feel a sense of irritation that I’ve left something undone and it plagues me! The lens has a larger aperture (f/1.8) because I was getting badly exposed photos with my other lenses in lower light settings, such as watching people give presentations indoors and slowing down the shutter speed gave too much awful blur. The guy at the camera store said he uses this lens to photograph bands in pubs up close and he loves it, so I guess I have to try and get front row seats wherever I go! I really don’t like how grainy parts of the restaurant food pics look (though it’s not so bad when I scale down the images)!

  3. I’m not vegan but I agree with you that this is great food and that vegan food is for everyone! It’s unfortunate that people have wrong ideas ideas about vegan food because it can be some of the best food you can eat and there’s no reason for anyone to refuse it 🙂 I love your blogs!

    • hear hear! Or is that here here… I always forget. Sometimes non-vegans are surprised when they realise ‘vegan food’ is stuff they already eat 😀

  4. Here in the states Italian food kind-of means you are eating a salad for dinner. Most Italian American food is a lot of tomato sauce, butter, cheese, meats, seafood, and pasta. A lot of tomato sauces have butter as the base instead olive oil, or they toss in parmesan cheese into the sauce. My husband’s work is obsessed with feeding people making a lot of tension since his boss is Italian and loves all things not vegan! XD For the Christmas party they got it catered asked for a vegan platter for us, and I guess misread it as dairy free and gave a huge plate of meat for us. Oh so nice. XD It was fixed, but it was mostly oily veggies.

    So I wish there was a place like this near us! It looks so much more authentic, and I know my Father in Law is always suggesting Italian food to eat out, leaving my husband and I dreading a salad. He understand Italian food can be vegan friendly, but it is hard to find authentic chefs, and chefs who aren’t going to try and trick the vegans in our area for Italian food.

    Oh I totally get your focus struggles! So many times I have mine focus on clear glass instead of the food in the glass. *sigh*

    • oh no that’s shame! Italian food is soooo good and I really loved what we had because it was great cooking but also not “let’s just make a cheeseless pasta and pizza”. I think I need to practice with my camera more, plus I get conscious of stopping everyone from eating (even though they’re all great about it and helping me style things, ha ha!)

  5. Looks yummy. As a coeliac and vegan I’d be interested to know restaurants that can offer this too. Sometimes it’s easy to substitute, however most of the time it really diminishes the enjoyment of a meal, because they don’t have substantial gluten-free available. Also, once the recipe is changed it’s not the same at all, and I really resent paying full price for something that is nothing like what was originally anticipated or ordered.

    • A GF-vegan menu would be awesome– as in, deliberately designed to be GF and not accidentally, so that you’ll get great food for every course. And also get food that isn’t like what you can make at home too 🙂