Saturday, 29 September 2018

Vegan lunches, Melbourne's inner north

When I go out to cafes I often snap a photo but these days I often wait til I have been back to blog it more.  So today I share some vegan lunches I have had recently when out and about.  Often I have been on the run so it can be carb-heavy rather than full of leafy greens.  Quite a few places are favourites and have made a few appearances on my blog.  (And yes I am doing you a favour if you are in the middle of watching the AFL Grand Final by giving you some distraction from the tension of the match!)

Cnr Roberts & Stewart Sts, Brunswick East 3057

We have been going to CERES for years and seen many changes.  Lately my favourite place to eat there has been the hole in the wall style cafe in the grocery section.  The top photo is some of the grocery shelves.  The above photo is a vegan cheese and spinach pastry I had there recently.  It was slightly lemony but very tasty and nice meal on the go.

Lord of the Fries
Shop A4 Barkly Square, Shopping Centre
90/106 Sydney Rd, Brunswick 3056

Lord of the Fries seems like it has been around forever though the first cafe opened in 2005.  We have been to many of their cafes since then and it seems to have become like MacDonalds for vegans.  (While it was once vegetarian, now I am told it is all vegan.)  So I was pleased to hear it is opening in Barkly Square.  Sylvia and I visited a the pop up store there a few weeks ago on the 30th birthday of the shopping centre we fondly know as Squarkly Bear (another institution that feels like it has been there forever).  We were able to sit with our lunch while watching young gormless kids try to follow an aerobics routine.  Sylvia had hotdog and fries.  I had the mini original burger and tried some French Canadian fries but I think I still prefer the fries plain.  The store will reopen in November.

Glass Den
15 Urquhart Street, Coburg 3058

Glass Den is another regular haunt of mine.  I go there more for hot chocolate with friends of late but we eat there every now and again.  I wrote about it in 2016, and have written updates since then.  The last time we visited it was really busy (at 10.30 on a Sunday morning) so we had to go on the wait list.  It was a shame that so much of their menu has moved to mock meat.  I miss their coconut bacon.

I wanted the bruschetta (with sauteed garlic, wild mushrooms and kale, grilled pumpkin, toasted nuts with toasted garlic ciabatta, Persian feta and beetroot dust - with a vegan option) but ended up compromising with Sylvia to have waffle chips so she could try some of my unicorn hotcakes (mine wasn't vegan but you can choose that option).  The chips were amazing but the hotcakes were too pretty to eat.   were really good but as we both got desserts, I think our eyes were bigger than our stomachs.  Which is quite understandable at the Glass Den where the food is a work of art.

La Panella Bakery
465 High Street, Preston 3072

While passing by La Panella recently I remembered that vegan blogs used to rave about it years ago so I went in and had a sausage roll.  It is a very traditional style of bakery with meat pies, sausage rolls and slices.  It was a nice sausage roll but not amazing.  A bit like the bakery which is nothing flash but hits the spot.  A good place to eat on the run if you are in the area and want something simple.

Cornish Arms
163A Sydney Rd, Brunswick 3056

It has taken me a long time to get along to the Cornish Arms which has been a mainstayer of the vegan food scene in Brunswick for many years.  If you are a vegan wanting to eat a burger, souvlaki, parma or kiev this is your place.  To be honest, I haven't been so keen because I am not into mock meat but I have been curious.  Finally we had lunch there in April.  We had the vegan fried mac and cheese bites with aioli, nachos and chips.  A bit of fried starches overload but all very good.  I was pleased Sylvia ate the mac and cheese bites for a while.

Sand Witch @ Coburg Farmers Market
Coburg Primary School, Urquhart Street, Coburg 3058

I really loved the Colli-sour sandwich at the Sand Witch at the Coburg Farmers Market.  The filling of 'crispy cauliflower between layers of pickles, green salad and topped with preserved lemon tahini’ is surprisingly amazing.  Click on the link above for Veganopoulous' review where she also looks at the Hash Burger with a potato cake and fried eggplant.  I hope the Sand Witch will be back at the market soon with her innovative sandwiches inspired by her Israeli and Moroccan heritage.

5 and dime bagel @ Coburg Farmers Market
Coburg Primary School, Urquhart Street, Coburg 3058

We occasionally love to go home from Coburg Farmers Market with a a half dozen bagels from 5 and dime.  These are proper chewy dense bagels.  A couple of weeks ago I stopped and got the vegan cream cheese on a toasted pretzel bagel.  It was just wonderful with a dash of sunshine and good company.

Union House, Tenancy 603/604, University of Melbourne, Tin Alley, Parkville 3052

Mexican takeaway seems one of the easiest fast foods to get lots of vegetables into a meal.  Zambero does it well and I recently heard they have added vegan cheese.  So I went along and had a Classic bowl.  (Honestly I need a degree just to work out the difference between their bowls).  This comes with rice, refried pinto beans, cheese, tomato salsa, lettuce, corn salsa.  I subbed some cauliflower for the beans, black rice for jasmine rice and chose bbq for my sauce.  So many decisions.  But it was a most excellent lunch washed down with a bottle of kombucha.

Vegie Bar
380 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy 3065

The Vegie Bar is an iconic vegetarian restaurant in Fitzroy that was started in 1988 so it was there when I moved into my first shared house in Fitzroy and the Brunswick Street foodie scene was emerging.  I wrote about it in my 7th post on this blog over 11 years ago so I really need to update that because it has changed a lot since then.  Late last year I had this Better than a Big Mac.  It was really excellent.  Not only did it bring back memories of having a Big Mac but I agree it is better.  But it wasn't just the nostalgia.  I have had many conversations about inadequate vegie burgers in cafes and these patties were perfect tecture that had me raving in happiness!  I had sweet potato fries on the side but I keep dreaming of going back for another and getting regular fries just for old times sake!

Lunch from Home

Though it is lovely to eat out, I often bring in my lunch to work.  Lately I have been using some vegan waxed wraps.  An alternative to beeswax, they are made with candelilla wax, pine resin, jojoba oil and coconut oil.  I am still getting to used to the best ways to clean them and the scent of pine can infuse the food sometimes but they seem quite good.  The colourful fabric cheers me up at lunchtime.  The sandwich above is vegemite and whole walnuts in a seeded ciabatta.  Vegemite and crushed walnuts was a favourite sandwich as a kid but in a roll I think the walnuts need to be in bigger pieces.  I highly recommend this combination.
This post is part of the Vegan Month of Food (Vegan MoFo) in September 2018.  Go to my Vegan MoFo list for more of my 2018 Vegan MoFo posts.


  1. I have only been to Glass Den but I enjoyed it. I have never had Vegemite and walnut sandwiches but it sounds interesting.

  2. I love the sound of that cauliflower sandwich and I want to make a version of it now! :D

  3. So much good food - the cauli burger in particular looks delish. I think Lord of the Fries is due to open in London soon too!


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