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 June 11th 2018
Where nature meets a vegan breakfast fry-up
There's one new place in Maidstone and it has Melbourne vegans intrigued on a couple of levels. One, the name is cryptic and there's no clue as to what it means (even after lengthy research). Two, this is a strip-shop cafe with a difference. It's an already thriving business that doubles as a nursery. One For The Crow is the brainchild of vegan business partners Taze Brodel and Stephanie Johnson. Stephanie is the qualified horticulturist of the two.
Vegans and vegan-curious patrons have started heading to this new cafe to explore the food and nature that's the core of One For The Crow's business. Its all-vegan food menu gives diners bang for their buck with hearty meals, delivered from farm to table in plentiful servings. There is a basic, laid-back feel of this place. Think pastel painted walls with timber accents to match the timber tables, as staff wear their comfy jeans and tees. This vibe mirrors the primal hunger that diners have when they arrive, needing to be satisfied by the meals here. Whether they choose from the list on their clipboard menus or point to the daily special scrawled across the blackboard hung above the front counter (a BBQ glazed mock 'chicken' burger with apple cabbage slaw or warming vessels of spiced carrot pumpkin soup), it's a given they're going to be fed well. A few menu options – such as One For The Crow's Big Breakfast, cover off gluten-free options for those visitors needing one.
A vegan big breakfast such as this comes with the crucial basics – grilled tomato cheeks, sauteed spinach and mushies, scrambled tofu and grainy toast aside a small bowl of nut-based margarine. Those who don't need the gluten-free option to this meal receive plant-based chorizo style sausage folded through their tofu. The gluten-free alternative involves slices of lightly grilled, flavoured tempeh strips. The ever-helpful waitress offers a side of guacamole to the meal, which should be taken (there is an additional cost for this). This warming and filling brekkie couldn't be accompanied by anything other than a soy latte, delivered to the table by One For The Crow's smiling barista. Other milk varieties available are coconut or almond, though One For The Crow's decision to offer cow's milk seems completely out of place here. A cooler alternative to a coffee is a choice from the smoothie menu, particularly the chocolate peanut flavour, or the cafe's cold drinks and juices.
Once the eating and drinking is complete, customers can wander One For The Crow to look at the potted plants and nature-inspired paraphernalia housed in racks and shelving near the entrance. If they don't, then it's just as tempting to idle at the table and wait for the body to digest such a hunger-stopping meal. They're made to feel relaxed by the greenery hanging around the shop.
There's enough seating here to cater the Sunday breakfast crowd; tables are turned over at a humming, relaxed pace. If customers want to brave Melbourne's climes and sit outside, they can always grab a throw-rug from the crate butted again the cafe's wall. This warming atmosphere, even in the middle of an icy Melbourne winter, is what One For The Crow is all about. It's another impressive locale to add to Melbourne's ever-expanding vegan culinary scene.