Wednesday 27 July 2011

Little Deer Tracks - Coburg chic

It was with great excitement that I heard that there was a hip new vegetarian cafe - Little Deer Tracks - in our neighbourhood.  Oh joyful day!  As soon as possible I headed down with Sylvia and my friend Heather.  The place was busy.  Locals were dropping in for a takeaway coffee and there were kids everywhere.  Yet we were able to find a seat near the window.  This is important for trainspotters because the cafe is near the train tracks.

I found a tin of crayons for Sylvia, who proceeded to spread out books and dolly over the table.  She wanted chippies.  I ordered her toast with honey and hash browns.  I didn't taste the toast but the home made hash browns were amazing.  They are crisp, golden and look like large round chips.  I suspect Sylvia would have enjoyed them more if she hadn't been distracted by her toast.  My advice is that if the waiter recommends the hash browns, just say yes.

Heather chose the eggs florentine.  She enjoyed it but commented that it had a lot of spinach in it.  When I was discussing this with Will the following day, he mentioned that he had seen quite a few eggs florentine dishes lately with ham in them.  I had almost asked if the baked beans had meat in them before I remembered that the whole menu was vegetarian.

I have seen some comments about the cafe not beating its chest about being vegetarian.  I understand that some people have very narrow views of vegetarianism but for those of us who chose avoid flesh, it is great to have a safe place where meat doesn't sneak into those meals we usually can rely upon.  It is a sign that attitudes towards vegetarianism are changing when a new vego cafe heralds the gentrification of a suburb rather than hippificiation.

Which brings me to my order of the bean pie, undercooked green beans (this description made us laugh), mashed potato and tomato relish.  Fortunately we arrived late enough (11am) to have the choice of either breakfast or lunch menu.  I chose this because a good vegetarian pie doesn't often come my way.  I am very glad to have encountered this one.

It was one of the best pies I have had for ages, possibly ever.  The pastry looked sturdy but was light and buttery.  The innards was a hearty bean with some light spices (I think I detected cumin) in a dark gravy.  The green beans were just cooked with a slightly lemon tang.  The mash was rich and creamy.  Of all the components of the meal, the relish didn't quite strike the right note.  It was a bit cold - maybe as a result of coming straight from the fridge rather than being room temperature.  However this is only a mere quibble with what was an excellent meal.  (I noticed that Michael had the same meal but with broccoli so this must change according to season.)  It was exactly what I want on a cold winter day.

After we had finished eating, I was stuffed to the gills.  I would have loved a chance to have dessert but that will have to wait for another time.  Yet I can't resist a cake display.  Sylvia was getting restless so we walked over to gaze longingly at the rich chocolate cake, lamingtons, cherry pie and carrot cake.  She had a play with a display of pigs at the top of the counter.  The staff behind the counter were friendly and happy for her to pick up the little figurines.  We paid up and walked home, stopping to enjoy the daisy bushes on the way home.

Update August 2016: Have been to Little Deer Tracks a few times since this review.  Had a fantastic lunch there this week of spiced cauliflower, roasted shallots and grilled haloumi; raw shredded cabbage and green beans; rice with cashews and sultanas; all sprinkled with pomegranate seeds!  Such a lovely way to eat lots of fresh vegies!  Photo above.

Little Deer Tracks
44 O'Hea St, Coburg
03 9354 3449


  1. How wonderful to have this open near you :) I wish more suburbs would make that gentrification shift (and yes, I'm also glad it's viewed in such a light, rather than the more negative connotations of old). I'll look forward to hearing about the desserts, if you make it back for those!

  2. YUM! I love a good pie, and that one looks amazing! Wish that place was near my house :D

  3. It's a great pie isn't it? I feel like I should try more of the menu, but I reckon I'll probably order it again when we go back.

  4. Just dropping in to say, randomly, MOG! I LOVE MOG! :)

  5. What a find! And Sylvia seems to have given it her vote too ;0)
    PS - Google Chrome has solved my comment woes!!

  6. This looks like a fab place to try if I am in Coburg - your pie looks superb.

  7. Oh, yum! I'll have to visit that one.

  8. Oh, how delightful! I'm so envious of all the dedicated vegetarian places in Melbourne! In Canberra, all we have (that I know of) are a couple of Asian places, but mock-meat gloopy Chinese-ish foods aren't my favourite!

    I love the sound of those hash browns. I must admit I used to love McDonalds' hash browns...

  9. Sounds like a great eatery.

    Hope your having a good holiday.

  10. Even in London we struggle to find a decent veggie cafe of the standard that your's looks. If I'm ever in the area.. We don't eat out much but tonight we're going to a really cheap and 'local" Turkish place (one thing London does have is ethnic cuisine). We've been before and I plan to post a review of it this time. Only thing is it's not veggie and I like to support purely vegetarian place ideally.

  11. Sounds like a great new resto--and yay for new vegetarian places in the neighbourhood! Haven't heard of bean pie before this, but your description makes it sound wonderful.

  12. Thanks Kari - hope to be back for dessert

    thanks vegiebug - it is great to find a pie that is a step about the usual ones I find in bakeries

    Thanks Michael - I feel the same way about the pie - but my mum tried the baked beans last week and said they were very good

    thanks nixwilliams - I love mog too (especially when they catch the burglar and give him a cuppa tea)

    Thanks Chele - glad the comments are working for you again - kudos to Google Chrome

    Thanks Cakelaw - it is not near any of the main shops at Coburg but not too far to walk from them or from public transport

    Thanks Catherine - yes definitely one to try - v different from most local places

    Thanks Hannah - I love good hash browns - can't remember McDonalds - it has been a while between visits - much better than gloopy faux meat

    Thanks shaheen - yes and yes

    Thanks Adam and Theresa - Turkish restaurants are always good for veggie - and fortunately there are lots around us - there even seems to be a veggie turkish place that I must try

    Thanks Kath - indeed

    Thanks Ricki - this bean pie was unlike any I have had before - and so so so good


Thanks for dropping by. I love hearing from you. Please share your thoughts and questions. Annoyingly the spammers are bombarding me so I have turned on the pesky captcha code (refresh to find an easy one if you don't like the first one)