I'm in Melbourne often enough - so why not write a bit about some places I've seen :)
Published August 16th 2014
As a long-term vegetarian I am always on the hunt for new vegetarian-friendly restaurants across Melbourne city. The range has widened immensely over the past few years, and general restaurant menus are much more vegetarian accessible than the once were. Nonetheless, there is always something very inviting about looking through a menu and knowing that EVERYTHING is an option for the vegetarian diet.
One of my all-time favourite venues in Melbourne is the Vegie Bar on Brunswick Street, Fitzroy. I first discovered this absolute gem when I was about 16 and into my second year of vegetarianism. By this point my family and friends had accepted that I wasn't going to get over this 'phase' as they thought it to be any time soon. So my close family-friends arranged an outing to Melbourne with the Vegie Bar as our main destination.
Naturally, I was delighted that such a place existed and was just so…friendly. I mean this in the sense that they were obviously vegetarian friendly, but the vibe to the place had something about it. It was just so welcoming. And the food, well that was absolutely delicious. This was about seven years ago.
I then went again to the Vegie Bar about four years ago.This time, the Vegie Bar had obviously undergone some changes. But the main change that impressed me was that the menu had grown extensively. From the humble lentil soup I devoured on my first visit, I was now overwhelmed with such a variety of options. And once again, just astounded that everything was an option for me. Yet again the Vegie Bar had impressed me and satisfied my taste-buds.
Now, again there were some years in between visits. So when arranging a dinner date with a fellow vegetarian friend of mine just this month, I decided that I this place was definitely worth a visit.
Again, given my absence from the venue, a number of changes had occurred once again. For now there was not only amazing food, a sensational vibe to the place, but also a courtyard and bar out the back. I didn't think my favourite vegetarian could get any better. But it did.
My friend and I arrived without a booking, which for a Friday night in Melbourne isn't the best idea, so there was a forty minute wait. Normally, a hassle? Not here! For the funky bar out the back was a perfect place to wait. Here we had a chance to catch up over some drinks and admire the quirky artwork surrounding the bar area, all of which added to a very comfortable environment.
The service was excellent, and as soon as a table was available the waitress called us over. Now, ordering a meal was the most difficult part…once again because the options had only improved with time. And I must reiterate, they were ALL an option for the vegetarian diet. From curries to stews to pad Thai and soups, even the raw food menu options intrigued us. The starters, the wraps and the main all sounded just perfect. It was as if the menu had interviewed the vegetarian taste-buds and catered perfectly to their desires.
For a place that I describe to be so wonderful, and very busy, the prices are astonishingly reasonable. For a starter of a samosa and two rice balls, between us my friend and I paid around $7. For a very sizeable main meal of a dahl lentil and potato curry with rice and naan bread, it was $13. Exceptional value for amazing quality food that is exceptionally healthy and nutritious for the vegetarian diet. Not to mention many vegan and gluten-free friendly options available on the menu and upon request.
So whether its lunch or dinner you're craving, the Vegie Bar will meet your needs from 11am onwards Monday to Sunday. I do recommend making a booking in advance for Friday and Saturday nights, unless you don't mind waiting with a drink in a funky bar. Also on the weekends if you're searching for a hearty breakfast, the Vegie Bar can deliver from 9-11.30 Saturday and Sunday mornings.
Next time, I really mustn't leave my visits to the Vegie Bar so few and far between. But at least I can rest assured that each time I return, impressed I shall be!