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Whether you’re looking for totally plant-based food or cafes with separate meat-free menus, it’s easy to go vegan in Melbourne. Here’s our guide to dining with kindness.
Home Vegan Bar
Home Vegan Bar in Docklands specialises in delicious plant-based food. The philosophy is holistic and healthy. Cleansing cold-press juices and superfood smoothies are only the beginning. Start the day with the big vegan breakfast, with scrambled tofu on toast and all the trimmings. Or order their double 'cheeken' cheese burger topped with mayo. Vegan wine is available on tap.
Paleo-inspired and 100 per cent gluten free, Seedling’s goodies are as tasty as they are nourishing. Find plenty of plant-based options among their range. Think smashed avo with vegan feta, coconut acai bowls and smoothies chock-full of fresh fruit. Take away gluten-free and vegan sweet treats are available for the road too.
Funghi e Tartufo
This pasta wonderland in Hardware Lane is 100 per cent vegan. Housed in a converted 19th century warehouse, Funghi e Tartufo specialises in traditional Sicilian cooking. Twirl your way through bowls of silky spaghetti carbonara sans dairy and try homemade potato gnocchi in a rich mushroom bolognese sauce. The restaurant also caters to coeliac and low FODMAP diets, so no one misses out on an Italian feast.
Uncover a hidden Vietnamese roll gem in Melbourne's tiniest laneway. Heartbaker Bun Mee does a sweet and crunchy vegan roll for plant-based foodies. It's filled with marinated mushroom, vegan butter and chilli jam. Plus a burst of fresh salad including coriander, carrot daikon pickles, cucumber and onion. The vegan banh mi clocks in at just 10 bucks, perfect for a cheap lunch.
It’s not all pescatarian at Pinchy’s lobster and champagne bar. Their ‘made friendlier’ vegan menu is putting those prized crab tacos in the shade. Try the spiced tofu taco topped with pea-green balls of avocado mousse. Or their lobster roll alternative, the 'lion’s mane' mushroom roll. You’ll want to try several of Pinchy’s small-serve dishes, inspired by Spanish bite-sized dining.
Scoopy Milk Bar
A towering mountain of snowy shaved ice, boba and fresh fruit await at Scoopy. This hidden laneway dessert bar is an insta-fave for their cute bingsu offerings. You can get a single serve treat for just $9.50. That includes the new vegan lychee bingsu. It's made with oat milk and is topped with lychee pieces, popping pearls, pineapple jelly and grass jelly. Then it's sprinkled with toasted almonds to add crunch.
Gong De Lin
Take the lift on Swanston Street up to level three and enter the vegan and vego sanctuary that is Gong De Lin. The Chinese cuisine served here uses mock meat and tofu to recreate the textures and, dare we say, flavours of meat-based dishes. Serves are generous and the choice is stupendous. Ease in with chilli wontons packed with greens. Then warm up with a clay-pot tofu stew or plate of crispy vegan fried chicken.
Craving Korean food, minus the meat? Chef Paik has also opened his first bibimbap restaurant in Melbourne. These healthy rice bowls are a lighter alternative to traditional bibimbap. For the authentic Korean experience, follow the line of people queueing outside the door in West Side Place. Try the signature dish topped with tofu, fresh colourful veg and a drizzle of soy sauce.
Meat-free Mondays have gone New Orleans–style vegan at Beast CBD. Drop in for hush puppies, aka Cajun corn bombs in maple butter. Or fire up with mock Southern fried chicken in hot sauce and the vegan smoked BBQ brisket. If you’re not already a meat-free convert, it’s a deliciously smoky-spicy way to go vegan for the night. And any day of the week, the burgers can be vegan or meaty at Beast. The choice is up to you.
Daughter in Law
The food is unapologetically 'unauthentic' Indian at Daughter in Law. And that includes some inspired vegan dishes to try. Like Colonel Tso’s cauliflower, fried Indo-Chinese style in a spicy-sweet sauce. Chana masala chickpeas served with crushed pomegranate. Or try the turmeric-gold coconut curry with vegies.
Feeling peckish? Head straight to Union Kiosk. This tiny family-run kiosk on Causeway Lane is perfect for vegans on the go. Toasted jaffles are the stars of their 100 per cent vegan menu. Order a classic like tomato, cheese and Dijon, or check their socials for newcomers. Like spicy Buffalo chicken with ranch sauce and cheese. Yep, all those ingredients are vegan.
There's nothing but whole foods hiding in the nourishing dishes at Bowls Baby. Everything on the menu is gluten free, refined sugar free and brimming with fresh, tasty ingredients. Start the day with a blended bowl for brekkie. These fruit and nut–topped smoothies are all dairy free with a range of alternative milks on offer. For lunch, grab a loaded whole bowl. Think BBQ jackfruit, falafel or spicy tofu with a bevy of healthy add-ons.
At Maha, Middle Eastern flavours are given a contemporary spin in a dining experience to fire the senses. Dishes are designed for sharing, and there’s a special set menu for vegans. The meze course stars smoked eggplant with date vinegar dressing. Shared mains include Turkish dumplings drizzled with spiced vegan butter. And for dessert you might add on the Turkish delight doughnuts with walnut ice cream and rosewater honey.
Hearty, healthy and kind on the earth. Head to Om Vegetarian where the bestselling meal is the $7.50 all-you-can-eat thali meal. You get three curries, rice and naan all of which you can refill to your hearts content. Need more choices? Vegie Tribe is a plant-based, pay-by-weight, all you can eat buffet restaurant. Or follow the sounds of the Hare Krishnas to Crossways at 147 Swanston St, where yet another all-you-can-eat vegan feed awaits for $8.95.
Last updated on Thu 9 Jun 2022
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