Justine de Jonge is a Melbourne freelance travel writer and blogger who loves travelling the vegan road. She also loves blogging about her vegan travels at www.fireandtea.com .
Published March 25th 2020
As the traffic rumbles down Port Road in West Croydon, Joy of Flora is seeking peace and quiet in adjacent Rosetta Street. Here is where Joy of Flora delivers its love of vegan food, art and sustainability to their patrons.
As you wander the walkway towards Joy of Flora, you're greeted by a mural that has been painted along the footpath near colourful tables and chairs. It's a vibrant mural featuring chillies, onions and lime wedges. Joy of Flora celebrates all that is vibrant and colourful about fruit and vegetables, and how plant-based meals bring joy to all who come here. If you can find the joy in flora, you can find joy for the tastebuds and nutrition for the soul here.
Once inside, you're met by friendly and laidback staff that is only too eager to present their slice of joy. The interiors are quirky, colourful and bright; crisp wooden tables and chairs below a backdrop of local artwork. The paintings bring more colour and joy to the space, while leading you to a secret garden out the back. On a sunny morning, it's best to sit outdoors so you can drink in the sun and catch the light breeze. Another mural adorns the sheltered space, of women bearing gifts.
There's a sheltered and peaceful area where you can sit, in a position that overlooks the meandering garden. Plants stand tall to catch the sun, as a small shed leans into the greenery; its walls painted in a rainbow of colour. The garden represents Joy of Flora's wider community who have come together to create it. It's a work in progress; a bee awareness garden filled with plants to attract bees and pollinators to the area. Bees are having a tough time of late, and are struggling to find enough plants to feed from. Joy of Flora is trying to change that, using its own back-garden as a vehicle for change. Nurturing nature is another of Joy of Flora's missions.
Joy of Flora's food is another branch of its community spirit. Locals wander in regularly to grab a quick beverage or stay longer for a lazy brekkie or lunch. To start, try one of Joy of Flora's herbal tea blends or a creamier alternative like a turmeric or beetroot hot soy drink. Once your beverage arrives, there's ample time to sit back and sip while you look over the tranquil garden.
Joy of Flora holds regular events here that showcase the area's local talent – musicians, artists, makers and more. By day, the vegan food trade is what brings Joy of Flora to the locals. An array of fresh salads and quick meals are on hand for a quick takeaway, while short-order menu items suffice for a bulkier sit-in meal.
For a tasty brunch, try the 'Shrooms, on Toast, mushrooms on toast that are sautéed and glazed in balsamic then partnered with juicy cherry tomatoes and wedges of freshly sliced avocado. For something more festive, choose a daily special like their Mexican bowl piled with beans, roasted veggies, brown rice, jackfruit, guacamole and salad. No matter what you order at Joy of Flora, you're promised a plate of floral goodness and bursts of joy in every mouthful.