Friday 20 January 2017

Catch up on eating out 2015-2016 (Melbourne)

So often when I eat out, I point and shoot with good intentions of blogging about a place but life moves on quickly.  So every now and again - never as much as I would like - I collect these photos into one post to catch up on places I have enjoyed but not had the time to blog.  So much good food and so little time. 

Many are lunches.  Often enjoyed in company.  Or with a good book.  I don't have perfect recollection of all the meals but I would eat each again if given the chance.  Some cafes I have already given a full blog post.  Others are still on my list to return to and write up a dedicated blog post one of these days!  And I am sure I have left some out.  This will do for now.

138 Nicholson Street, Coburg

I had lunch at Ruby's in 2015 with my mum.  This was the vegan breakfast special.  I was particularly impressed by the pumpkin toast.  It went well with the roasted tomatoes, grilled mushrooms, avocado and relish.  I really loved it but it wasn't cheap.  I also had a nutella peanut butter milkshake which I really loved.

Islamic Museum of Australia Cafe
15A Anderson Road, Thornbury

It's a long time since I had a lovely lunch with a couple of friends at the cafe at the Islamic Museum of Australia.  It is tucked away behind the Merri Creek bike path.  It is a really beautiful cafe.  We sat outside on mosaic tables by a colourful mural.  One of my friend's was late because she got lost but she was even more flustered as she was off on a date.  The other was worried about one of her kids.  It was quite an intense discussion over lunch.  I enjoyed the Tesiyeh, a dish of chickpeas with tahini yoghurt and nut topping.  It was nice to have some salad on the side.

Earl Canteen @ Emporium
Level 3, Emporium Melbourne, 287 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne CBD

I was pleased when Earl Canteen opened in Emporium Shopping Centre as I had long wanted to try their much praised sandwiches.  Sadly I am yet to try one of their freshly made sandwiches.  They don't have many vegetarians options.  But I quite like some of the options in their fridge section.  The above asparagus, grain and seed dish - served with a generous dollop of hummus - was a pleasantly healthy lunch.  Washed down with some kombucha.

Flora Indian Restaurant
238 Flinders Street, Melbourne CBD

E and I have visited Flora in the city a few times.  It is a cheap and cheerful Indian restaurant with bright lights and a bain marie.  Just the place to duck into before heading out to a film or show.  The last time we visited was September last year on our way to seeing Joan Baez.  I can't remember what I ate but am pretty sure it was (Small Combo 1) two curries, daal, rice and pappadams.  It was quite filling but I couldn't resist also ordering a Kashmiri naan, which is is a particular favourite of mine with nutty sweet filling.

120 Nicholson Street, Brunswick East

Milkwood is one of those cafes I sometimes pass in the car, wishing I could stop to sit at the outside tables and enjoy the good life.  When I finally ate there, the white brick walls and blond wooden furniture were indeed relaxing.  I ordered from the specials board: grilled tempeh and rice noodle salad with carrots, coriander and carrots slaw, toasted seeds, and a roasted chilli and lime dressing.  I enjoyed it, especially the grilled tempeh.  But I was grateful that the dressing came in a little jug on the side as I found it quite spicy.

The Old Cop Shop
160 Bell Street, Coburg

I had also driven past The Old Cop Shop in Coburg with interest.  However my interest had been in what they were doing with the old building.  When it opened in 2015, I had lunch there with my mum soon after.  I ordered the Super Food Salad: quinoa, kale, beans, avocado, pomegranates, goji berries, seeds, nuts, vegan cheese, dressed with pomegranate molasses and extra virgin olive oil.  It was fairly similar to what is on the menu now, though the price has risen from $21.50 to $23.  The salad was nice and healthy, the interior was an elegant blend of the old police station and fine modern design.  I keep meaning to return but it has been a while.

Ascot Vale Food Store
320 Ascot Vale Road, Moonee Ponds

My mum took me to the Ascot Vale Food Store last year after discovering it's charms.  It is a modern cafe with white walls and a dark wood counter.  I had the corn fritters, avocado puree, tomato jam and snow pea tendrils.  I had some feta on the side with mine instead of the poached egg.  The corn fritters were amazingly crispy on the outside and tasty on the inside.  I really loved this dish.

We also shared the syringe spiked chocolate and raspberry doughnut.  It was really yummy and fun to syringe raspberry sauce inside the doughnut.  And when I talked to the waitress about vegetarian and vegan food she was sympathetic which also endeared me to the place, even though the menu didn't have heaps on it for me.

Little River
208 Albion Street, Brunswick

I have been to Little River a few times now and still would love to write it up in it's own post.  It is a vegetarian cafe that looks the part with lots of recycled timber in the decor.  The most impressive meal I've had was this award winning KA pies vegan Thai curry vegetable pie with salads.  The pie was indeed excellent and most deserving of the award.  However I was also impressed by the fresh and healthy salads on the side.  A slaw and I think a cauliflower salad.  I hope to go back to try more meals there.

Green Refectory Pop Up
99 Sydney Road, Brunswick

In my first few months of blogging, I wrote about Green Refectory at 115 Sydney Road.  Last year I found that its little sister pop up cafe had opened just down the road with its great vegan sausage rolls.  It took me a while to try something different to the sausage rolls.  This scrambled tofu with "mixed vegies", olives and mountain bread was too tempting.  It was nice but I was disappointed in the vegies being something like pickle cabbage and not quite the colourful vegetable accompaniment I had expected.  I remember I had to check something with the staff but can't remember what.  It may have been chillis in the tofu but my memory is hazy.  Still, it is a good hearty brunch for $10.

Small Axe Kitchen
281 Victoria Street, Brunswick

I had lunch here with my mum because we had both heard good reviews.  I chose the soft polenta, broad beans, peas, nettle, mint and lemon for $17.50.  It is not a cheap dish but tastes good and loosk pretty.  My photos don't do it justice but it was such a gorgeous explosion of greens on top of the polenta.  This is comfort food for hipsters.  Yes, it is a new cafe that opened this year to great acclaim.  The design is beautiful but my mum and I had to ask about a few obscure terms on the menu.  I did love the opportunity to have nettle in my dinner. 

Good Days
165 Sydney Road, Brunswick

I still have very fond memories of the spring rolls with noodles and vegies at the sadly departed Vina Bar.  So I was delighted to find that Good Days offered a similar vegan noodle salad when I visited with Faye of Veganopoulous.  We both loved the huge bowl of vermicelli rice noodles with crispy home made tofu and mushroom spring rolls, Asian herbs, slaw of pickled carrot, daikon and green mango, cucumber, roasted peanuts, fried shallots, and dressed with nuoc cham.  This was a really satisfying meal with lots of vegies.  I really need to get back there!

The Glass Den
15 Urqhuart Street, Coburg

After many visits I wrote about The Glass Den last year.  I continue to eat there.  I have had the gorgeous green Avocado Riot, the pretty Rocky Road French Toast and the Curly Fries.  The menu has been updated recently and seems to have left behind the amazing hotcakes.  However, their Facebook page says they will return soon.

I wanted to show you this photo of the beautiful purple cauliflower and cream cheese soup with kale chips and broccolini.  (I didn't take notes so am relying on memory so I hope this is right.)  It was one of the specials that I had last May.  I really loved it even though it was slightly challenging to eat stalks of broccolin in a soup and I think I had to ask for a knife, if I remember rightly.

Little Deer Tracks
44 O'Hea Street, Coburg

It was back in 2011 that I wrote about Little Deer Tracks on my blog.  I have been to the vegetarian cafe a few times since.  Most recently was in August last year when I visited with Faye from Veganopoulous.  I had an amazing meal of spiced cauliflower, roasted shallots and grilled haloumi; raw shredded cabbage and green beans; rice with cashews and sultanas; all sprinkled with pomegranate seeds!

I love pho express
Level 3 food court shop 355, Emporium, 287 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne CBD

As mentioned above, I am very fond of a Vietnamese noodle salad with tofu spring rolls.  I was really pleased to find that I love pho does one in the Emporium food court.  Not quite as fancy as the salad at Good Days.  However it is very handy when in the city and needing a quick lunch.  At $10 I would be tempted to call this cheap and cheerful but I don't want this to denigrate it.  The wait is short, the spring rolls are crispy and the vegies are fresh. 

Lentil as Anything
1-3 St Helier’s Street, Abbotsford

Late last year, I had my second visit to the Lentil as Anything restaurant at the Abbotsford Convent.  I wrote about the former Brunswick Lentil as Anything many moons ago.)  A friend came to visit from the country and Abbotsford was a good midpoint to meet.  I really enjoyed the buffet of stews, curries and rice.  Though I still find it odd to choose how much to pay.  It was very pleasant to sit at any outside seat and catch up with an old friend.

Disco Beans
539 Plenty Road, Preston

I took Sylvia along to Disco Beans last year.  She was not so impressed by her cheese toastie because it came with a salad.  I enjoyed my Mexican platter of refried beans, tortilla chips, guacamole, black beans, salsa and salad.  I ordered some vegan cheese on the side just because I love it.  It was a very enjoyable meal.  I decided to go another time and found it was closed for renovations and has recently re-opened as Spiral Beans.  Let's hope I get along there before it reinvents itself again!

Lygon Street Food Store
263 Lygon Street, Carlton

Late last year while Christmas shopping I stopped for lunch at the Lygon Street Food Store.  I have had their sandwiches occasionally.  They are always good quality ingredients.  On this occasion I had the calzone.  It was filled with tomato and oozy cheese but was made even more satisfying for the antipasto on top - olives, sun dried tomato, roasted capsicum, marinated mushrooms and rocket. A great quick lunch.

Juanita's Kitchen
219 High Street, Preston

I had a great catch up with Faye of Veganopoulous and Rosalie of Quinces and Kale at Juanita's Kitchen.  It was hard to choose but I ordered the Ultimate Bean Stack.  It was really really filling.  Just listen to what was in it: soft corn tortilla topped with creamy pinto beans, vegan chorizo, balsamic mushrooms, roasted capsicum, jalapeno, melted cheese, avocado, salsa with Greek yoghurt and salad on the side.  I really enjoyed it and was pleased the side salad was a bit more substantial than a few leaves of lettuce.  At the end I managed to taste some of the raw desserts we shared.  Another place to return to and sample more from the menu.

So there you have some of my delicious eating out from the past year or two.  We truly are spoilt for choice in the inner north of Melbourne..  There just isn't enough time to visit all the amazing cafes and blog about all the good food.  Maybe I will return to visit some of the places and write more about them.

Meanwhile I suggest you visit Where's the Beef and Veganopoulous who continue to share inspiring places to eat for veg*ns, including quite a few reviews of the above cafes.


  1. I am impressed with this post as I bet it took a while to put together- and I know how easy it is to forget to review / blog places. You've clearly taken in some great meals.

  2. You certainly are spoiled where you are ,so many places to eat at. I am so envious, the places here are so behind the times but its improving especially in the city of Cardiff, Wales. i love the photo of the purple cauliflower and cream cheese soup but wonder is it fully made with purple cauli as i have tried it once and it was never that vibrant so I wonder if other purple ingredients like red cabbage are used. I can understand what you mean about eating stalks with soup :)

  3. What a lot of wonderful food you have here- with plenty of colorful veggies. The spring rolls are calling my name :)

  4. So much good food, so little time - so true! You've eaten so many good meals, I now want to haul myself to Melbourne and eat some pumpkin toast and vegan Mexican food. What a cracking line up of eats!

  5. The food looks pretty good! I do like that vegetarian food s often colourful and visually appealing! :D

  6. We should aim to beat last year's record :P

  7. What a great roundup - and the names of some of these cafes are fabulous. I have tons of photos from food venues that in some cases I can't remember what they were.

  8. You certainly have been to a lot of places! I also often intend to blog the places I've been but then don't get on with it. Good intentions! The Indian restaurant looks like it has great food xx

  9. What a whirlwind! This list reminds me of so many good places I haven't visited in a while.

    It's kind of you to direct some restaurant traffic our way. :-)

  10. "So often when I eat out, I point and shoot with good intentions of blogging about a place but life moves on quickly. "
    Ditto! Or at least instagramming it (which I also suck at haha). This is a great way to put the pictures to use!
    You have enjoyed some really great places and good food! The purple cauliflower and cream cheese soup is by far the prettiest. Wow! And most interesting sounding.
    I am quite partial to spring rolls though, the ones from Good Days and Little Deer Tracks both look so good.
    And that calzone... oh my. I would devour that. Well, in my pregan days anyway. That used to be one of my favourite thing to eat before going vegan. Sadly, I don't find many places that make them vegan & gluten-free.


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