What a pleasant surprise to walk into my favourite South Melbourne Market and discover there's a new kid in town. MARKO has been at site 99 South Melbourne Market, Cecil St, South Melbourne just a month or so and they're completely plant-based and vegan. They're open from 11.30am to 3pm Wed-Fri and 11am to 4pm Sat & Sun. With prices an average of $12-$14 and less for sides, it's the place to eat not just for the environmentally conscious but for all who love good food.
On the edge of the market along the restaurant/eatery strip, it has a great offering of plant-based food. The brainchild of Dehne Bingham (former CEO of Belles Hot Chicken and 100 Burgers Group), MARKO is set on serving food that's better for the planet, and let's face it, better for us too. The restaurant's name is inspired by a street (Markovich) in Bendigo which was home to many migrants who handmade everything they ate from scratch It was this memory that played a part in inspiring the birth of MARKO.
As such, everything served at MARKO is grown from the ground up with locally sourced, plant-based ingredients that have a fresh taste and offer a fresh take on dining out. The surrounds of the restaurant at the market is pleasant, bright and spacious, and opposite the restaurant, they've just added a MARKO Falafel Stand, now open for business as at mid-May 2021. You can grab one of their famous falafel pitas or even a falafel snack pack and a side of chips from this outdoor kitchen for a falafel to go. For a more relaxing, sit down leisurely lunch, head for the restaurant opposite.
Bristling from the excitement of finding this vegan restaurant in the bustling food sector of the market, I ordered the Spicy Falafel which was a house-made green pea falafel, quinoa tabbouleh, tomato, dill pickles, pickled onions and tahini sauce. Next up was the Marko Hummus Plate, with again, house-made whipped hummus, served with crispy chilli oil and flatbread. The chilli oil was inspired and a great addition for the tastebuds. The Corn Ribs were also topped with crispy chilli and lightly blanched with a bit of a zing that made it sing.
The chilli oil might look a little dangerous in the midst of the hummus (in the pic), however, it's quantity was well balanced by the generous serve of hummus. It was very moreish and quite filling. Outside, adding to the atmosphere of the takeaway kitchen was one of the waitresses handing out free falafels on a stick. You can bet we grabbed a couple of those freebies off the plate as well, and had a taste before our lunch order arrived. I can tell you that everything I ate was fresh, tasty and fulfilling, and I'll definitely be heading back to sample the rest of what's on the menu.
MARKO has a range of burgers, pitas and bowls of Sprouts & Forbidden Rice; Avocado, Corn & Tomato; and a Seasonal Green Bowl. You'll also find Crispy Cauli, Spicy Cauli and a range of Chips & Sides. Their Feed Me menu at $23-$25 combines some of their favourites. If you're after drinks, there's a range of Cocktails, Continental Platter Natural Wines curated by The Point South Melbourne, Ales On Tap, Local Beer (cans) and Local Alcoholic Seltzer by Moon Dog. Visit them at the South Melbourne Market for a delicious and Insta worthy 100% plant-based feed.