$49.50. The cost of our meal tonight for three hungry locals including a healthy vegetarian, a very hungry pescetarian and one tall open-minded meat eater.
Being locals to Flemington, a trip to a vegetarian restaurant on Racecourse Road is more attractive than a trip to a similar restaurant on Brunswick St, where we would be fastened in Melbourne traffic and struggle to find a car park. The main genre for restaurants in Flemington is Malaysian or African / Ethiopian. Places such as the insanely busy Laksa King and Abyssinian are well-known in the area for their hustling atmosphere and consistently delicious dishes. We acknowledge that we've noticed the new establishment's existence a couple of doors down from the Douttagalla Hotel, and agree that we dismissed it due to its effortless signage.
After investigating the menu online, we admitted we shouldn't judge a book by its colour per se, as for a start there is variety on the menu, from curries to tofu burgers and even raw brownies for dessert. The dishes are genuinely healthy with main meals made from mostly vegetables, and brown/whole grains used wherever possible. Veggie Villa is clearly cheap, which isn't unusual in the area, but more so if you compare it to other vegetarian restaurants.
The eatery is located at the bottom of what seems to be, according to the people that appear to walk in and out of the building and through the back kitchen, a residential two-storey building that overlooks Racecourse Road. The place is strangely quiet, on a Monday night we are the only customers. We sit in a small second-hand dining area, with remnants of the previous Indian restaurant. Illustrations of the Taj Mahal remain, as does the brown wooden furniture and maroon decor. The straightforward black and white signage dominates the window view and the empty drink fridge and wooden tables give the place a sports-club ambience.
However, we are not here for the decor, we are here to check out the menu (which is curiously similar to Yong's Green Food's menu). What I like about this restaurant (and Yong's) is that the menu is strongly based on vegetables, and not full of mock meat Asian dishes as at most vegetarian asian eateries. The staff consists of a single wait person and one chef in the kitchen. The service is casual, but lovely, and we are able to drink the wine I brought with us.
I order the Allo Prantha (2 pieces is $7), whole wheat flat bread stuffed spicy potatoes and herbs. Two large round thin flat breads in a basket are in front of me and they are hard to put down, especially when dipped in sides of pickled chilli and white 'butter'. My friend favours something plain tonight and receives a serving of the raw sushi ($7), some corn chips and guacamole ($5) and roti ($4 for 2 pieces).
The original stir fry is a dedicated healthy person's delight with a selection of seasonal veggies and tofu cooked in your choice of sauce (satay, tamari or tahini) and served with biodynamic brown rice. Albeit healthy, the satay doesn't taste like your south-east asian oily peanut chilli sauce. Lacking strong flavours, the stir fry is put to the side as we enjoy our wine.
For $6 you can pick up a raw brownie, and for $7 you have the choice of raw chocolate cheese cake, raw blueberry cheese cake, raw white cheese cake, raw pecan tart or raw chocolate mousse. Next time I come here I look forward to a cheesecake.
The variety is impressive, the service is lovely and the location is perfect for us inner westies. Take away is also available, what a great new eatery for the area.