A vegan cafe run by vegans, the Banana Lounge is the latest addition to West End's thriving dining culture. Set back from the footpath on Boundary Street, look out for the big yellow sign and billowing flags.
Our party of four walked through the outside dining area into the cafe proper, the interior of which was light and airy with warm, neutral colours bar one bright yellow feature wall. My initial impression was the owners had taken the time and care to create an attractive, welcoming atmosphere and to ensure the comfort of their customers.
For a purely vegan cafe, the menu was surprisingly extensive with a wide selection of breakfast, lunch and beverage items. Breakfast is served until 2.00pm with options ranging from basics like Organic Fruit Toast ($4) and House-Made Banana Bread ($5) to more substantial options such as Organic Tofu Scramble ($12) and the Hearty Breakfast ($12), which one of us ordered with a side of mushrooms ($3). Everything was tasty enough but the beans in their rich sauce saved this otherwise dry dish.
The rest of our party chose burgers from the All-Day Menu. Both the Satay Tofu Burger and Beefy Leafy Burger ($9.50 each) were well received with no complaints - they were simple, satisfying and fresh. The small side salad was commented upon and it was suggested (half jokingly) that a few hot chips wouldn't go astray.
There is a mammoth selection of hot and cold beverages from coffee and teas (with a choice of dairy milk substitutes such as soy, oat, rice and almond milk) to freshly made smoothies, juices and milkshakes ($6). The coffee ($3.50) was smooth, full bodied and a little nutty, thanks to the almond milk. And to top your meal off, there is an array of delicious looking sweets displayed on the counter including Lemon, Maple & Pistachio Cake and Chocolate Fudge Cake ($5.50 each).
Overall we were satisfied and will definitely return to sample more of the menu. Next time you're in West End give the Banana Lounge a try for a fresh and healthy dining option, and to help support small businesses. A dinner menu may be on the cards so keep an eye on the Banana Lounge's Facebook for updates.