I'm a freelance writer based in Perth, Western Australia, who enjoys writing about the things I love: travel, nature-based activities, the arts, spirituality and creative, fun activities for children.
Published July 19th 2013
Update May 7th 2017
Hari's Vegetarian has ceased trading at this location.
See www.facebook.com/harisvegetarian for details.
Update May 7th 2017
I've just noticed that Hari's Vegetarian Restaurant is no longer at this address - apparently their lease has expired.
Sumptuous Cruelty-free Cuisine Close To the Heart of Sydney
As someone who has been following a vegetarian diet for many years I have been long aware of the challenges faced by those of us attempting to embrace a meat-free lifestyle. While cooking at home is a breeze once you're armed with the appropriate culinary skills and some good recipes, eating out always proves to be much more difficult for strict vegetarians. In Australia, vegetarian and vegan eateries are practically non-existent outside major population centres and even our state capitals only offer a limited selection of establishments that totally eschew meat, fish and eggs. For this reason, when I heard about Hari's Vegetarian and Vegan Cafe, a new Hare Krishna eatery close to the heart of Sydney, I was very excited and vowed to make a visit when time permitted.
Hari's Vegetarian Cafe, Ultimo
Situated in the heart of Ultimo on the ever-busy Broadway, Hari's Vegetarian and Vegan Cafe is one of Sydney's most recently-established cruelty-free eateries. Run by the Hare Krishna people whose vegetarian diet is based on strong spiritual and philosophical principles, it serves only pure vegetarian cuisine, devoid of meat, fish and eggs. In addition, the vast majority of the meals are vegan, while raw food enthusiasts and those who are gluten intolerant are also well catered for. Therefore, if you have special dietary requirements be sure to ask the staff for more details.
Compared to other Hare Krishna restaurants, the decor of Hari's is rather simple and minimalistic: a style that doesn't appeal to everyone. If you're hoping for a cute little place oozing with atmosphere, you may be somewhat disappointed. However, delicious food and genuinely warm, friendly service are hall-marks of Krishna eateries everywhere and this one is no exception.
The cafe's interior.
Like most Hare Krishna places Hari's offers several meal options, the most popular of which is their vegetarian buffet, consisting of rice, dal (a lentil soup), savouries and a choice of two vegetable curries. For those who'd prefer a lighter snack, there is also a selection of side dishes including vegetarian quiche, vegan pizza, vegan lasagne, cauliflower pakoras, spinach and tofu pastries, samosas and vegetable curry pies. Salad lovers won't be disappointed either and a wholesome selection is always available which often includes a popular teriyaki tofu salad and a roast vegetable with quinoa salad. I tried both of these on my recent visit and can highly recommend them.
The cafe's buffet selection is wholesome, hearty and very yummy.
The delicious salad selection at Hari's.
When I first became vegetarian years ago, one of the hardest things for me was to stop buying cakes as they almost invariably contain egg. Over the years I, like many other vegetarians, have learnt to make my own, substituting the eggs with either dairy or soya yoghurt. However, finding cafes that serve egg-free cakes remains a problem for those who enjoy eating out, so I was over the moon when I saw the mouth-watering selection of baked goodies on display at Hari's. These included carrot cake, black forest cake and a couple of different cheese-cakes: all egg-free and all delicious. There were also vegan, raw and gluten-free sweets, as well as the perennial Hare Krishna favourite, halava (a yummy pudding-like sweet made from semolina) with custard.
Who said that vegetarian cuisine is boring?
Since most of us need to watch our budget it's comforting to know that a meal at Hari's is refreshingly affordable with main meals beginning at around $10.00, side dishes at around $6.00 and sweets at around $5.00. The buffet is especially good value and when I visited, the serving I was given was extremely generous. Takeaways are also available for customers who need to have their lunch on the run. Finally, for a very competitive rate, the cafe also offers a vegetarian and vegan catering service: one of the few in Sydney and certainly one of the best. Therefore, if you're holding a function, small or large, and are looking for expert and affordable catering, be sure to ask Hari's for a quote.
Although Hari's specialises in vegetarian and vegan meals, many of its most dedicated patrons aren't exclusively following a meat-free diet. Therefore, regardless of what your usual meal preferences are, for a delicious, healthy and feel-good dining experience, be sure to check out Hari's when you're next in the City. Situated minutes from down-town Sydney and just a short bus trip away from Central station, it's extremely accessible. It's also a great spot for students due to its location midway between the University of Technology and Sydney University.
For more information about Hari's Vegetarian and Vegan Cafe, take a look at their website, email them at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone them on 02 9212 1010.