Fresh on my hunt for the best vegan breakfast in inner-city Melbourne, I decide to try The Mercy Seat as my first destination. Chosen for its range of vegan breakfast options, it is also conveniently within walking distance of my house.
Located on Johnston Street in Collingwood, the cafe is just down the hill from Smith Street and in the same building as the bar, 99 Problems. The two businesses share the same epically wallpapered toilets, nooks and crannies to sit in and an outdoor area carpeted in Astro-Turf. While 99 problems is open nights, The Mercy Seat opens during the day Wednesday to Sunday for lunch, breakfast and of course, coffee.
Generally pretty quiet during the week, it is a perfect place to settle down with a coffee and a book or laptop. Though they do not have Wi-Fi, there are a few unsecured networks in the area if you feel the need to check Facebook, or I guess, do work. The music is a consistently enjoyable mix that spans eras and veers towards the indie and alternative persuasion. Happily, it is also played at a volume level that means you can still talk to your cafe buddy comfortably -no interpreting of hand movements required.
Although the menu isn't large here, it is tasty and all vegetarian. Both breakfast and lunch are served throughout the day and are priced at around $10 or under.
Vegan breakfast options include Scrambled Tofu and a vegan BLT bagel, both of which are delicious although the scrambled tofu is more satisfying for a Sunday morning slow breakfast. My mother had the Bircher Muesli when she visited Melbourne recently and raved about it for 2 days.
The lunch menu, mostly vegan or veganisable, is comprised of a range of toasted pides, (vegetarian) Meatball Sub, Blackened Tofu Mushroom Burger and (vegetarian) Creole Chicken Burger.
Neither too fussy, too complex or too big, this is the kind of food I often find myself craving as I sit in a cafe staring enviously at my friend's sandwich or pie while eating some overpriced, exotic-grained salad.
Whilst I can't say that The Mercy seat has the best vegan breakfast I have ever eaten, they do stand out in my mind; partially because they have a range of vegan options and partially because I have a very soft spot for both their scrambled tofu and their music selection.