Tag Archives: vegetarian

Mission #1: Yong Green Food

A restaurant recommendation that has often come up during my vegetarian mission is Yong Green Food. I made a quick stop by the other day and thought it would be the perfect opportunity to test out my new Canon 600D camera. Continue reading

Mission #1: Choosing Vegie Meals

In line with my first mission, I thought in addition to eating at vegetarian places, that I would try opt for the vegetarian dishes at everyday restaurants. And so the challenge began at my local (near work), Miss Jackson. Continue reading

Mission #1: Shakahari Too (Event)

The Event
As part of my monthly mission, I decided I would also hold a monthly event to go along with it! This would allow bloggers and friends to join me, allowing some interaction and fun offline and not just online. You can imagine how nervous I was when I started inviting friends to a vegetarian event…

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Luckily, I have some amazing supporters who came to share this unique experience with me. I was after somewhere I hadn’t particularly heard of, but still sophisticated enough for my first dinner event. I came across Shakahari in Carlton and realised they had a second branch in South Melbourne, which looked worth checking out.

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It looks small from the front, but they led us to another dining area at the back. The fish on the walls and mythical creatures on the menu seemed to provide some undertones of possible spiritual influences on the type of food they serve.

20140815_190036 Entree
I found the menu quite accessible for people who aren’t vegetarian – as everything still managed to sound familiar yet delicious. Whilst we decided on our mains, we enjoyed the Avocado Magic for entree; tempura avocado wedges and capsicum rolled in eggplant, served with coriander and sesame puree.

I feel like this was quite creative for a vegetarian entree, and I particularly enjoyed the puree to provide more flavour to the batter.

My friends also ordered a few non-alcoholic drinks. The left drink tasted a bit like apple juice, whilst the right included tamarind and had a bit of a sour aftertaste. I feel that the vibe of the restaurant meant these drinks are supposed to showcase natural ingredients and provide some sort of cleansing in the body.

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Mains

  • Nonya Lodeh ($22): Basmati rice, coconut curry, pappadum (Vegan, Non-dairy, GF)
  • Italian Secret ($22): Spaghetti or Linguini tossed in herbal oil, fresh basil and pesto (Vegan, Non-dairy, GF)
  • Green, Green Laksa ($20.50): Udon noodles in Thai krachai and basil green coconut stock (Vegan, Non-dairy)
  • Croquettes Quinoa ($20.50): Patties of mashed yam, potatoes, quinoa and more (Vegan, Non-dairy, GF)
  • Lasagne Conchita ($22): Lasagne layered with cousous, kale, pumpkin, chia seeds and more (Dairy)

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I had the lasagne, which was so large I struggled to finish it. The layers filled with couscous really made a filling meal and The Sunday Oven beside me also couldn’t finish her’s. For the first time in my life, I would recommend making the lasagne a tad smaller and providing more of the sides and salad to balance it out!

I felt like I also had a bit of food envy for the people who ordered the laksa – it looked delicious and I usually enjoy tofu dishes.

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Desserts

  • Lemongrass Coconut Cheesecake ($15.50) (Dairy)
  • Flourless Chocolate, Cherry and Fig Pudding ($15.50) (Dairy, GF)
  • Tofu Caramel ($14.50) (Vegan, Non-dairy, GF)
  • Black Rice and Sago Pudding ($14.50) (Vegan, Non-dairy, GF)
  • St Ali Coffee Ice-Cream ($6.50, not pictured)

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After some talk, most of us still had room for dessert and I loved the variety in the menu that seemed to cater to all my guests’ tastes.

I had the tofu caramel, but was slightly disappointed as the caramel flavour wasn’t as strong as I’d hoped nor did there seem to be enough sauce to liven up the tofu. My friend’s black rice on the other hand was delicious. It wasn’t pretty, and looked like “cat food” according to Consider the Sauce. But warm and topped in milk, pandan and coconut caramel, the flavour truly shone.

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Some of my guests also chose the freshly made ice-cream. The coffee flavour was made with St Ali coffee and tasted stronger than your usual coffee ice-cream, but I really enjoyed it at that strength.

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Thanks to everyone who made it to this event and I hope you enjoyed the food. I’m glad everyone also enjoyed my cards and programs for the Environmental Film Festival Melbourne – the event that inspired this vegetarian theme.

There’s no mock meats here, so don’t expect that, but expect some flavoursome and creative vegetarian food. I’ll be trying more vegetarian places this month, but feel free to provide suggestions for next month’s event and theme!

Shakahari Too is located at 225 Clarendon St, South Melbourne and is open for lunch Tue-Sat 12-3pm and dinner Wed-Sat 6-10pm. They will start opening Tue-Sat 6-10pm from 2nd September.

Shakahari Too on Urbanspoon

Mission #1: Lentil As Anything

You may have heard of Lentil as Anything, as there are several branches in Melbourne. It’s known for its unique payment method – you pay however much you feel it’s worth.

20140810_174059The most popular one is located at Abbotsford Convent, and so I had this in mind for my vegetarian mission. It wasn’t until I started looking it up online that I discovered there was one much closer to home in Preston.

The interior was small and basic, which was expected for a place that runs on donations. However as we were waiting for our food, we decided to check out the courtyard at the back.
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It definitely had that grungy feel with graffiti and dreamcatchers decorating the place, but it also looked like a great spot if you were to drop in for brunch or on a sunny day.

20140810_174527As it was cold, we remained at our table inside, but we were glad we made the effort to see what was hidden at the back.

20140810_175030This branch provides table service, which was prompt. I went with the curry platter, which came with some rice, dhal, curry, salad and pappadum. It wasn’t amazing, and the curry and dhal could have been a lot hotter (temperature-wise and spiciness-wise). To be honest, I’ve tried dhal made by a film festival colleague, which tasted a lot better!
20140810_175023My friend ordered the Indian minestrone soup, which seemed to have a herbal flavour in the soup that wasn’t to my taste. A little towards the end my friend also believed he found a hair in his soup at which point we moved on to the salad…
20140810_175534The Vietnamese salad was surprisingly delicious. I was reluctant to order something Vietnamese at a place like this because, as we are both Vietnamese, I didn’t think it would be up to standard. However the tofu on top was excellent, covered in some nice, sweet sauce.

Our only gripe would be there was not enough tofu!
20140810_180135My friend enjoyed his cappuccino, whilst I ordered a hot chocolate. It looked lovely but took a little while to come out and the froth felt cold.
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And so I’m glad I got to try something out of my comfort zone, which is what the mission is all about. Unfortunately the place did not surprise me with some amazing food, but the people were lovely and attentive. I might give the Abbotsford Convent one a go in the future.

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Lentil As Anything is located at 288 High St, Preston and is open for lunch 12-3pm and dinner 5-9pm everyday. Check out their menu here.

Lentil as Anything on Urbanspoon

As always for this month’s mission, I would like to remind you I have chosen vegetarian as my first adventure to raise awareness of the Environmental Film Festival Melbourne. Our program is now live and you can watch our trailer below!

Mission #1: Vegetarian

It’s not what you think – I am not going vegetarian for one whole month. Although, perhaps one day I will discipline myself enough to conquer that challenge.

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Instead, I am starting my first mission, which I’d love you to be part of! I want to focus on certain cuisines each month, to be more adventurous and explore specific genres. Furthermore, I want to involve my friends and readers, by taking blogging further than just reading and commenting online. Read on!

Mission Overview
Part of this month will involve me going out there in search of some great vegetarian places – and I would love recommendations of where to go. Everything from your niche little local, to the inner suburb gems. Even if I can’t make it to those places, I will gladly list them in my “Insiders of the Month” on the righthand column.

During this time, I will post my usual, miscellaneous adventures, but towards the end of August, I will report back to you guys with a series of vegetarian experiences.

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Dinner Event
I’d also like to invite you all to a vegetarian dinner, so you have the chance to share this adventure with me. To ensure everyone can comfortably chat to each other, this will be a small dinner event, so spots are limited. Please express interest as soon as possible via email with numbers, so I can organise this adventure!

Where: Shakahari Too, 225 Clarendon St, South Melbourne.
I am leaning towards this restaurant after reading some good reviews about both the southern and northern branch. Click below to see the full menu – I am still open to suggestions if you’d like to sway me!
When: Friday 15th August, 7pm
Price: Mains $20-$22.50, Desserts $6.50-$15.50
RSVP: By 10th August
Facebook event: Click here – invite open to everyone!

menu

Why this cuisine?
I hope to do this every month – but the main reason I chose vegetarian as my first mission is because I wanted to raise awareness of an organisation I work for. Well, volunteer for. We are all volunteers, so I’d love your support for this fantastic festival. Please take a read below and I hope you enjoy my first mission!

EFFM2014_LOGOS 150wThe Environmental Film Festival Melbourne is a non-for-profit organisation and annual event, now in its fifth year. This year, the festival will run from the 4th-12th September at Kino Cinemas, 45 Collins St, Melbourne. I’d love for you to come or to check out the website here.

Look out for our program, launching soon this August. Share this with your friends who might be interested, and if you’re feeling generous, you can also support us with a donation here

Madame K’s Vegetarian

Sometimes spontaneity provides you with more memorable experiences, especially when out to dine. After an unfulfilling meal at Henry and the Fox (a post on this will be coming in the future), we ventured to Brunswick St for a second round.

Our initial plan was to drop by the popular vegan and organic restaurant Yong Green Food, but this plan was thwarted after their voicemail said they were closed for a break.

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Next idea was Vegie Bar, but this place is crazy-busy on weekends. But Melbourne is full of eateries and we were bound to find something else on Brunswick St – and my friend then spotted Madame K’s Vegetarian.

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It was smaller than Vegie Bar but still full of diners, and we were lucky to get a table for three.

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It was a bit cramped and the staff kept squeezing between me and another table, but I was just glad we managed to score a table on a Friday night.

We started off with some chive dumplings ($6.90, below – sorry for blurry photo). They were panfried and surprisingly full of flavour – I honestly didn’t realise these crispy vegetarian dumplings could be so tasty! I think the dipping sauce also had an attractive, strong flavour – similar to soy but a lot more compelling.

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I wasn’t entirely hungry after Henry and the Fox (how rare), thus I went for an entree of lamb sliders. I assume it was “mushroom made lamb”, as described in all their other lamb dishes on the menu. They won my curiosity as the description did not mention the common brioche buns but instead, naan bread. They were quite different but I don’t think it worked as a wrap for me.
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The doughy and thick nature of the bread means I would much prefer dipping it in some nice curry. The other ingredients reminded me of the minty flavours you would get in a Vietnamese dish. Unfortunately, I probably would have preferred these ingredients in a normal bun, as the bread is a tad chewy to bite off whilst trying to enjoy a wrap.

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My friends on the other hand, were still ready and gearing for another full dinner. They both ordered rice dishes, which were quite similar in taste.

One was a mushroom dish (above, $16.90), with various mushrooms, eggplant and Thai basil served with Jasmine rice. You have the option to choose Jasmine or brown rice. The dark sauce resembles oyster sauce, but I felt like the flavour was more interesting and intense than your average oyster sauce.

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This sauce was similar to what was used with the tofu and cashew dish (above, $16.90). And this was a good thing because we all enjoyed this flavour a lot. I think perhaps the sauce’s aroma and flavour was enhanced by the Thai influences, rather than your typical Westernised Chinese takeaway.

Whilst we enjoyed our meals, I noticed a constant stream of takeaway customers coming in and out of the restaurant. Service was quite quick – the only issue was they didn’t realise my entree was actually my meal, so they were waiting for me to finish before serving my friends’ mains. This was quickly sorted though.

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Finally, we couldn’t say no to dessert as we were enjoying a good chat and thought the banana roti ($10.90) sounded too good to pass on. I was still dreaming of Chin Chin’s amazing banana roti, but this was different and delicious in its own way. It was a bit like a crepe but with a thicker base of roti, with not only banana, but also strawberries, soy ice-cream, their homemade sauce and a bonus kiwi fruit.

Thus, I’m not ashamed to say – we ordered another one of these! I’d happily go back but I’m aiming to try Yong Green Food first. If you decide to go here, I’d suggest booking or going on a slightly quieter night during the middle of the week to get a better table.

Madame K’s Vegetarian is open for lunch Sat-Sun from 12-3.30pm and dinner every night from 5-10pm. Check out their menu here.

Madame K's Vegetarian on Urbanspoon

Chez Dré

A trip down memory lane often leads to memories of food. It’s been a little busy lately so apologies for the lack of posts, but as I tried to rack my brain for places worthy of writing about that were visited a long time ago, Chez Dré came to mind.

Was it the delicious brunch food or desserts that keep it still in my mind? Probably both.

It’s not far out of Melbourne CBD, only a short tram ride away and a little walk off Clarendon St. And typically for a hip brunch spot, its entrance is down a sloping alleyway. It’s one of those always-busy places and, on both occasions, I was seated closer to the entrance of the place and not fully inside where one would be able to see the counter and desserts display more clearly.

Despite my visits being 1-2 years ago, they seem to stick to a slightly similar menu. My first experience, I chose the Moroccan Baked Eggs ($18.50, below), which perhaps has set the standards for me whenever I order baked eggs now.

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It was a decent size and presented well with the spicy sausage pieces scattered in a circle. This is unlike some bigger servings that choose size over quality, and don’t put too much effort into the presentation. This provided just enough of everything and I think the spicy sausage made the dish a winner.

Another bonus was the dipping sauce of tahini yogurt for the baguette, creating a beautiful Mediterranean air for the dish. My friend ordered the same on my second visit (below), although the presentation was slightly different, with the addition of more greens such as mint.

I can’t remember what my friend on my first visit had exactly, but by the photo, it was probably scrambled eggs on sourdough ($9.50) with extra sautéed mushrooms ($4). Despite the simplicity of the meal, my friend kept wanting to go back to Chez Dré after that day. I also ended up with one or two takeaway macarons (vanilla and coffee I think?), which I remember were quite good but not extremely special.

On the second occasion I wanted to save room for some of their proper desserts so I went for the Veggie Petit Déjeuner in French, being the vegetarian big breakfast ($18.50). It included poached eggs, sautéed mushrooms, potato rosti, tomato, avocado and tomato relish.

I think this was a great vegetarian option of the classic big breakfast. I especially enjoyed the potato rosti, a large addition to ensure that you can still get full with no meat. A look at the current menu looks like they have updated this to roasted herb potatoes.

Something that should not come as an afterthought at Chez Dré, are the desserts! We had so much trouble deciding what cake to share ($9.50 each) that the inevitable question of, “Why not both?” sprung to mind.

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Thus we ended up with the Hazelnut-Praline Crunch and also the Blueberry Cheesecake, and the closest I can find on the current menu seems to be the Blueberry and Chestnut Tart. The hazelnut was certainly not the prettiest and we chuckled at the unpleasant look of it. However, it was amazing with its combination of mousse and praline layers, living up to the crunch of its name. The crumble at the top topped it off too – this piece disappeared into nothing extremely quickly.

The cheesecake was nice, but as with most cheesecakes it’s better in small doses. You can see the high amount of the creamy section compared to the base, providing an imbalance and also a cake that is too sweet even for three eager girls to finish. The hazelnut was definitely the winner – although looking at their menu now, I’m tempted by the sound of the Banana, Caramel and Ghana Milk Chocolate gateau!

I would happily agree to drop by Chez Dré any time, but as my food adventures continue, two visits is already plenty, but I would definitely recommend it to other people.

Chez Dré is open 7.30-4.30pm seven days a week and can be found at the rear of Rear of 285-287 Coventry Street, South Melbourne. Find their current menu here.

Chez Dré on Urbanspoon