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The Laughing Owl

Home > Melbourne > Breakfast | Cafes | Lunch | Vegan | Vegetarian
by Justine de Jonge (subscribe)
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 April 25th 2019
A cafe in Belgrave with a conscience
A road-trip to Belgrave in Melbourne's outer east brings patrons back to nature and food inspired by nature. Nestled in The Dandenongs is the vegetarian and vegan café The laughing Owl.

The laughing Owl cafe vegan vegetarian
Grab a table at The laughing Owl in Belgrave


The Laughing Owl is placed along the main strip and flanked by other small eateries and specialty shops. What makes The Laughing Owl special is the fact that you need to arrive early in order to secure a table. The shop is cosy and warm, with a beaming atmosphere to match the rhythmic hum of the ever-busy coffee machine at the counter. Every nook and cranny houses a table, bench and chair so that space is maximised and patrons can vie a spot at this popular café.

The laughing Owl cafe vegan vegetarian
The laughing Owl is popular so bookings are advised!


The laughing Owl cafe vegan vegetarian
Choose from The laughing Owl's delicious vegetarian and vegan choices


The Laughing Owl is a 'café with a conscience', emphasised by its dedication to plant-based fare and ethical ingredients. Patrons are spoiled for choice if they want to sit back over a long and lazy brunch, or who stop quickly for a takeaway coffee and cheeky treat from the over-flowing cabinet. Towering cakes anointed with fresh flowers, smaller treats like slices, biscuits and balls all add to the selections here so it's no wonder a steady stream of foot traffic wander in and take a few moments to make their choices.

The laughing Owl cafe vegan vegetarian
Warm up from a selection of coffees, hot chocolate or vegan chai


Patrons also have a choice when it comes to their coffee – takeaways are served in recycled jars, complete with screw-top lids that eliminate spillage. In a time when minimising waste is so important, this genius solution to disposable cups and lids is a popular point in The Laughing Owl's conscious business model. Patrons can also buy an eco-cup if they choose.

The laughing Owl cafe vegan vegetarian
Crispy zucchini fritters with house-made chilli jam


If patrons are lucky to score a table (yes, The Laughing Owl can take bookings in advance), a tasty short order menu waits with flavours to satisfy plant-based and non-plant-based customers alike. For a cooler day, the zucchini fritters are a delicious choice. Lightly fried patties snuggle within a light salad of greenery and corn salsa, all flavoured by a sweet and spicy house-made chilli jam. The heat from the chilli will warm a cold body if the weather conditions outside are less than favourable. The Laughing Owl's 'naked' burger is another filling choice; dense burger patty that's layered with salad, balsamic glaze and creamy condiments.

The laughing Owl cafe vegan vegetarian
The laughing Owl's 'naked' burger


While patrons wait for their meal (not too long a wait), they indulge in a soy latte, warming hot chocolate or vegan chai while admiring the quirky furnishings. A gorgeous selection of glass bottles and lanterns hang from a ladder attached to the ceiling, playing in the sunlight peering through the vast shop window-front. Lights are strewn across the shop's ceiling, joined together by dried tree branches.

The laughing Owl cafe vegan vegetarian
Gorgrous furnishing to create a cosy ambience at The laughing Owl


It's best to leave some room for something sweet afterwards. There are many gluten-free options for vegetarian and vegan patrons, and a slice of the day's cake is always a reliable go-to that will satisfy the sweet tooth.

The laughing Owl cafe vegan vegetarian
Delicious sweet treats are found at The laughing Owl


Whether it's served at the table or as a takeaway for later, it's a wonderful finish after a tasty and satisfying brunch. Patrons lucky enough to get a table at The Laughing Owl won't leave disappointed.
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Why? A 100% vegetarian cafe with a concience and vegan options
When: 8.00am to 3.00pm Monday to Sunday (closed Tuesdays)
Phone: 03 9754 2596
Where: 1652 Burwood Hwy Belgrave Belgrave Victoria 3160 Australia
Cost: Hot and cold drinks from $4.00, mains from $16.00, cakes and slices prices as marked on the day
Your Comment
great article Justine.
by May Cross (score: 3|6978) 472 days ago
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