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Published July 5th 2014
Vegan food that's truly tasty
Serving a Customer at Cherry Darlings Bakehouse in Adelaide's Southern Suburbs
Given a choice between meat based and vegetarian meals, many of us would not choose vegetarian food. The naming of restaurant dishes often underlines the important role that meat plays in most meals - for example "roast lamb with", "chicken schnitzel and", and "confit of duck served with". You won't often find a meal described as "snow peas with grilled grain fed steak".
A vegan diet is probably even less appealing to the general population, as vegan food doesn't include animal products such as eggs and cheese which are so popular in comfort foods. While I can understand and agree with the views of people who say they are treating the animal world more respectfully, even the best vegetarian meals can seem a little incomplete to a confirmed carnivore.
When the Cherry Darlings Bakehouse recently replaced the Tram Stop 4 Cafe in Adelaide's southern suburbs, I decided to take a closer look. After discovering that it relied on vegan food ideas without dairy products or eggs I was just about to move along when I discovered they sold a cheeseburger pie.
Having previously enjoyed a delicious chicken parmy pie from the Hyde Park Bakery, I could understand that it is possible to recreate these flavours in a pie. But could a vegan recipe work without using meat or cheese? It really did not seem possible, so I decided to brave the world of vegan food to find out how it tasted.
My first visit to the Cherry Darlings Bakehouse was on a Saturday lunchtime about a week after it opened. I was astonished to find such a large queue for service that I could barely squeeze into the bakery! After waiting a while I found that there was no hot vegan food available until it was heated so I retreated unsatisfied.
This vegan bakery clearly has wide appeal for its vegan and vegetarian meals, with all of the tables occupied by customers dining in the shop.The play area for kids is still available at the rear of the bakery although you must go outside the shop to reach it. It is well stocked with toys and sheltered under a verandah but might be cool in winter.
Inside the bakery the decor is clean and fresh, with many small retro pictures and art works decorating the walls. Prices for food and drink are the same to dine in or take away, and the furniture is simple but clean and comfortable.
A warmer contains the selection of pastries which changes daily. The vegan food ideas are quite eclectic - cheesy spinach rolls are very popular, as are "sausage" rolls and "meat" pies, while the barbeque rib mac(aroni) and cheese pie sounds quite awesome. For dessert there are colourful cupcakes and vegan house made ice cream to tempt you to a vegan diet. People on a gluten free diet are also catered for. For drinks you can get great coffee, tea, milk shakes, and the more common cans of cold drinks
Colourful Cupcakes, a Sweet Treat at Cherry Darlings
As someone who thinks that the best vegetarian meals come with meat, I couldn't resist coming back again in the hope of trying a vegan cheeseburger pie. On my second try I was able to buy one and quickly retreated home to put it to the taste test.
To my surprise the cheeseburger flavours were recognisable immediately, with tomato sauce and pickled gherkin thrown into the mix too. It was so convincing that my dogs stared at me hungrily while I ate the pie and its crisp crust. It was every bit as tasty as other pie flavours that I have tried in Adelaide.
Owners Tim and Sharleen are not new to making vegan food: they sold their pies, pastries and other products like vegan ice cream wholesale from home prior to opening Cherry Darlings Bakehouse, which they have designated as cruelty free. They want to give people who prefer vegan and vegetarian meals the opportunity to enjoy comfort food, without sacrificing their principles.
Savoury Pastries Include Vegan Meat Pies and Sausage Rolls
Cherry Darlings Bakehouse delivers a whole range of innovative locally made vegan food ideas for people on a vegetarian or a vegan diet. But more than that, they give dedicated carnivores like myself an opportunity to try delicious treats that are not made from animal products. Give them a try - whatever your preferred diet.
As with their near neighbour Dear Daisy Cafe, parking next to the shop is not plentiful. There are a couple of parks at the rear, or it is easy to park on Norman Terrace and walk a short way to the bakehouse. Don't forget to bring the rest of the family as the play area for kids is well sized and handy for the school holidays.
Find out more about Cherry Darlings Bakehouse on Facebook as their website is currently only a single page. The bakery is in Adelaide's leafy south at Forestville, right next to tram stop 4.
Looks really good! If you like vegan bakery goods though, check out The Fakery Bakery - they have a few stockists around Adelaide and a pop-up stall at the Central Markets at the moment, best cupcakes!! And they have heaps more, including pizza scrolls and pies and quiches :)