Sunday, 6 May 2007

The Vegie Bar: a tyranny of choice

Today we went to the Vegie Bar on Brunswick Street in Fitzroy for lunch. It is a favourite place of ours not just for the good cheap veg food but because it is always buzzing with people but we never have a problem finding a table. It is a large café divided into two rooms with high ceilings, brick walls, tattered posters and the grungy vibe of Brunswick Street.

I have to take a moment to reminisce about Brunswick St. When I first moved into a share house many years ago, this was my local street and, despite many changes, I am mighty fond of it.

We got a table at the Vegie Bar at the window, so we were able to watch the characters of Brunswick St – the man in leathers selling poetry, yummy mummies, the Big Issue seller, guys in velvet jackets and large sunglasses, older ladies in fluffy red berets – they are all there. E even spotted a guy in a t-shirt reading Eat More Vegies!

We looked out over a grungy old-style post box and over the road to a recycled clothes shop, called Shag, where I take such pleasure in browsing through garments in vintage patterns. Beside it is an old timer, the Grub Street Bookstore, where in my student days I loved browsing the second hand books. To the other side of us is the old Punters Club where I saw some fine indy bands perform in its grungy darkness – today it is Bimbo which has been forgiven from replacing the Punters because it does such good chocolate pizza. I could go on and on about all the wonderful memories and places but back to the Vegie Bar.

Brunswick St has a fantastic selection of cafes (although there are also duds) and I always feel spoilt for choice. Similarly at the Vegie Bar, for a vegetarian used to one or two choices on most menus, the array of pizzas, curries, stirfries, and roti wraps presents a tyranny of choice. It even has vegetarian dim sims, which are so hard to find.

To drink I had the berry blaster which was a berries, banana and yoghurt smoothie (I think) – was a pleasingly deep pink, sweet, fruity, thick and filled with berry seeds. E had the organic ginger beer which is light and refreshing with lime.

E always chooses the lunch duo special because it is the best bargain in town (and this Scottish lad likes a bargain). It is two curries (today it was lentil dahl and chickpea dahl) with brown rice and roti. It also has a few lettuce leaves but I don’t see the point of them. The roti at the Vegie Bar is always excellent – large soft flaky sheets of bread. I was so full from my meal I hardly touched his, which is a shame as it is always a treat when he doesn’t have meat when we eat out. But the curry I tasted was good.

After much angst over how to indulge my taste buds I chose one of the specials – the Italiano pizza. It had pesto, napoli sauce, baby spinach, spanish onion, sundried tomato, olives, pumpkin and mozzarella cheese. The crust was thin and crisp. The cheese looked like a fluffy white cloud but was still rich and stringy when pulled apart. The pumpkin was thin sliced and tender. The sun dried tomatoes were plump and juicy. It was all wonderful.

Lunch on Brunswick Street usually means we have time to wander the fab shops. I have to give a mention to the Rose Street market which had a plethora of green goods (in the environmentally friendly sense) – bags made of recycled car seats, jewellery made of buttons, and notebooks made of old hardbook covers and recycled denim pages. Then after a day of green food and green politics, I went to Tea Two purchased a green gadget: a green teapot (which I have photographed with my fave Room of One’s Own mug).

Vegie Bar
378 Brunswick St
Fitzroy 3065 VIC
Phone: (03) 9417 6935


  1. Sounds like a great area! Love places that you can just lazily wander around…not many of them in LA. Didn’t know there was such a thing as chocolate pizza! I want some!!

  2. Thanks Scottish Vegan - you should visit Melbourne some time to check out the great cafes and eateries - but failing that, the next best thing would be to try chocolate pizza - I had a recipe which has got lost but will try and share it some day if I get to the bottom of my piles of papers :-)


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