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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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  😉

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Fo Guang Yuan Art Gallery and Restaurant
141 Queen Street