Water Drop Tea House at Fo Guang Yuan Art Gallery, Melbourne

Fo Guang Yuan Art Gallery Melbourne

Water Drop Tea House at Fo Guang Yuan Art Gallery is always a place I want to return to. The last few times I’ve gone, it’s taken me ages to decide what to get from the appetisers menu. This time though, the menu was sporting the all-awesome V for vegan. Everything else is vegetarian, making ordering so much easier than it was in the past. You can read about my first visit here.

Arthur was with me so I ordered stuff I thought he’d like. He’ll always go for spring rolls and lately he’s been liking sweet potato so I got the crispy sweet potato and taro rolls. I chose well because he loved both. I also love the buckwheat steamed BBQ pork buns.

The menu includes fixed offerings based on what day it is. From the Monday menu I chose the chicken skewers in peanut satay with sweet potato fritters. The meal comes with rice, carrot and cabbage salad and some fruit. What we ate is shown in the top photo and we left feeling quite stuffed.

Fo Guang Yuan Art Gallery Melbourne

Service as always is really friendly. A word of caution though, when you enter and pass a reception desk before going in to the dining area, there’s a no photography sign stuck on the desk. I didn’t see it but I had asked for permission from wait staff before taking my photos of food and the restaurant area. They told me it was okay, but when I took the photo of the restaurant area another member of staff mentioned the no photos rule, though they didn’t seem to mind photos of the food. Perhaps they thought I was going to take photos of the gallery/non-restaurant areas.

The restaurant area is called the Water Drop Vegetarian Tea House but most people seem to know it as Fo Guang Yuan Art Gallery. It seems to be one of those places where people, not just the veg*ns, express surprise along the lines “where is this place and why don’t I know about it?!” There’s no indication from the street that there’s a fantastic Buddhist vegetarian-vegan restaurant inside. Since my first visit I’ve had plenty of conversations with veg*ns who work in the city and never heard of it. If that applies to you, hopefully you’ll get to visit soon as it really is worth a good look.

Water Drop Tea House at Fo Guang Yuan Art Gallery

141 Queen Street, Melbourne


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What I Ate And Open House Melbourne

nacho bean ball burrito

I have so many blog posts in my Drafts folder that are getting waaaay old now. Starting with Open House Melbourne from the last weekend of July. For that one weekend a year, some of Melbourne’s buildings are open to the public for tours (or some are only open with a ballot system) that don’t happen at other times. You get to see what goes on behind the scenes as well as learn more about the history of a particular building. I went along to some buildings last year as well.

So for this year, my sister and I began our day at the Finders Keepers Market, then brunch at Smith & Daughters. Our first Open House stop was the Royal Society of Victoria. This pic was taken in the waiting area as soon as you walk in. We were waiting for the tour to start but my sis and I were all oooooooh don’t you wish you could live here:

Royal Society

We discovered that the Burke and Wills expedition was planned in the room below and it also started there the day Burke and Wills departed:

royal society

The OCD part of my  brain was getting really fidgety when we were in this room below, because all I could focus on was my burning desire to fix the tassels and make them fall straight. Like this one time I went for a job interview and one of the women interviewing me had a torn hem at the bottom of her trousers with bits of thread hanging everywhere and my brain was all ARGHGHGHGHHHHHHHHHH GET ME ONE OF THOSE MINI PORTABLE SEWING MACHINES:

Royal Society of Victoria

Next stop was the State Library of Victoria. I worked here briefly a long time ago and yes I got to sit in the librarian’s dock thing in the middle here. I can’t remember what I said, probably “HEAR YE HEAR YE NOW HEAR THIS” cos it was after hours and after a workplace party and I guess we weren’t really supposed to go in there:

state library victoria

The State Library has a fantastic rare books collection. This John James Audubon ‘Birds of America’ book is apparently worth millions:

state library victoria

More awesome very-very-old books:

state library victoria

state library victoria

state library victoria

state library victoria

There’s even a comics display:

state library victoria

‘Midget Library’:

state library victoria

Music, looong ago:

state library victoria

After the State Library we walked down to the Melbourne Town Hall for their open house:

state library victoria        melbourne town hall melbourne town hall

melbourne town hall

Where the Melbourne City Council sits:

melbourne town hall melbourne town hall

We had planned to see more buildings but the hours raced by before we knew it. Next year I’ll be more organised! The next day Arthur and I went to the Royal Melbourne Hospital for their tunnels tour.

Now for a What I Ate, though again I’ve found photos from the past month. Some leftovers from a MoFo experiment:

hummus zaatar plate

I made a chilli with black beans and kidney beans, lime rice, guacamole and shoved it in a tortilla with shredded Daiya and the leftover Spicy Bean Nacho Balls (frozen food product by Colonial Farm). Addictive stuff, photo is at the top of this post.

Another lunch at Fo Guang Yuan Art Gallery Waterdrop Tea House Restaurant I Have No Idea What The Real Name Is. This was my third visit and the same waitress has served me each time. On this third visit, I asked my usual “is it vegan” question and was told “vegan means no gluten”. Uh oh. Though I am sure (I hope…) none of my meals there were non-vegan as the waitress had gone to the kitchen to check when I asked about egg and dairy specifically. Enough boohoo. Pictured below is the roti with curry sauce and the steamed buckwheat bbq buns:

fo guang yuan roti

fo guang yuan dumplings

Once more, with flashy insides:

fo guang yuan

One of the emergency foods at home is Fry’s shnitzel. I’m not crazy about them to be honest but every now and then I don’t mind a shnitzel sandwich:

frys shnitzel

Eggplant (mooshed up) and lentils:

lentil dhal rice

Lord of the Fries currently have a Western Burger special. You get two onion rings inside the burger. I love onion rings but never get them because of the greasy oily factor making me feel sick, but having a couple in a burger works for me:

lotf western burger

We went to Loving Hut in Northcote and I ordered the BBQ soy skewers and Vietnamese fried rice. I ended up taking the leftovers home for lunch the next day as picky-eater-family didn’t like it:

lovinghut northcote bbq soy skewers loving hut northcote vietnamese rice

A vegan gourmet style pizza from Eat Fresh Pizza in Maribyrnong. We love this place:

Eat Fresh Pizza

I’ve also been a little slack in introducing our cats. We adopted them back in June and they were about five months old. Arthur and DeeW got to choose a name each so Arthur chose Maltesers (his favourite chocolate) and DeeW chose Punky. Yes, after Punky Brewster. She wanted to name the cats Punky Brewster and Henry Warnimont. We Just Said No (bwahaHA get it, Punky fans?) because they were only allowed to choose one name. Anyway, our new babies get up to lots of mischief. They broke a vase but it was an Ikea cheapie and secretly I was glad because it was a bit fug. Here they are, taking over the dolls’ bassinet:

cats bassinet

Okay, I’ve got a load of veg that isn’t juicing itself. Better go do it. Have a great weekend!


Lunch at Fo Guang Yuan Art Gallery, City

Fo Guang Yuan Art Gallery Restaurant

I’m on a mission to try all vegan food options in the CBD. It’s a great mission when eating is your favourite hobby. One restaurant on my list is the Fo Guang Yuan Art Gallery restaurant, serving vegan and vegetarian meals. As well as the restaurant, there’s a Buddhist temple, meditation hall and gift shop. I finally got to visit and let me state here at the start that I’m already hanging out to go back.

I arrived at about 1:15 for a late lunch and all tables (except one, lucky me!) were taken. The menu has stir fry and noodle options, as well as some set $12 daily special meals for certain days of the week. Being a Monday, I was able to order the crispy veg chicken with homemade lemon sauce.  This arrived in a bento box with other accompaniments and a separate bowl of rice. If you look at the photo, there’s a sort of spring roll, broken in half, in the top left.  This was really tasty and not oily.  I’m hesitant to call it a spring roll because, you know, spring rolls are just spring rolls. Has anyone ever said ZOMG YOU GUYS THAT WAS THE BEST SPRING ROLL EVAHHHHH about a regular spring roll? If your answer is a yes, please leave a comment telling me where I can find such a spring roll. Until then, I shall consider mind blowing spring rolls the stuff of fables. Anyway, I never order a serve of spring rolls for myself but I’d order these spring roll like delights. I should have asked what they were but you know, I was too busy trying to eat it all delicate-fashion but failing horribly because elegance in a dining establishment is not my strong point. I once came home with a dumpling in my boot and I have no idea how it got there.

The top right of the bento box photo was a simple shredded and lightly sauteed (I’m guessing) Chinese cabbage. The bottom right was sliced cucumbers with a little thinly sliced tofu, dressed simply with sesame oil. Nice and light. The chicken with lemon sauce was nothing like the awfully sweet lemon sauce you get in Chinese restaurants. This was a completely different dish so don’t make the mistake of thinking it’s a sweet sauce. I would order this again but only after I’ve worked my way through the entire menu:

 Fo Guang Yuan Art Gallery Restaurant

I had ordered an appetiser (purely for blog research and not to indulge my chosen hobby of eating) and had quite a tough time deciding what to get. All the appetisers are $8.00. I eventually settled for the crispy taro and sweet potato rolls. These arrived after my bento box and I’m glad they did because they were sweet. Not in a sugary way, just the sweet potato and taro way. They served me well as a kind of dessert, even though they’re not a dessert item, but I did make quite a mess all over the table (and my face and my clothes and the floor…) eating the crispy coating. By the end of my lunch I was absolutely stuffed. This is the start of my mess making. The table was covered with bits of crispy coating by the time I finished:

 Fo Guang Yuan Art Gallery Restaurant

Service was fantastic. I really like the atmosphere in there and although the place was busy it wasn’t noisy or overwhelming. The one word I’d use to describe it is pleasant. Pleasant is great because I like to concentrate when reading menus and I know I’m going to take my time again trying to pick something from the menu. Seriously, check out the appetiser menu but time yourself and see how long it takes to settle on something. I double dare you. PHYSICAL CHALLENGE:

Fo Guang Yuan Art Gallery Restaurant menu

Fo Guang Yuan Art Gallery isn’t that difficult to find, even though I know others have said it’s tricky to locate because they were looking for a restaurant. Just look for the Art Gallery itself, and go up the steps. The restaurant is right there:

      Fo Guang Yuan Art Gallery Restaurant

Look for this on the street:

 Fo Guang Yuan Art Gallery Restaurant

If you’ve eaten at Fo Guang Yuan, leave a comment telling me what you ate, what you recommend and how long it took you to choose an appetiser  😉

Fo Guang Yuan Art Gallery on Urbanspoon
Fo Guang Yuan Art Gallery and Restaurant
141 Queen Street