Properly gratifying vegetarian dishes are the indie films of the food world. So blinded are we by the hype of grass-fed blockbuster meats that we hardly even notice horticultural offerings until their last week of release. And by then we’re too busy with our own stuff or just, you know, not in the mood for a change in perspective.
It’s a crying shame because these botanical beauties are so much more than just the supporting cast for the T-bone. I’m not buying all this ‘always a bridesmaid’ rubbish either, hidden wealths of creativity and skill flourish in vibrant bloomings when legumes and endives take centre stage.
We’ve tracked down some of Brisbane’s finest vegetarian dishes that’ll tempt even the most carnivorous palates so that these vibrant, crunchy supporting players get their moment.
Fish Fragrant Eggplant | Happy Boy, Spring Hill
Toddle down for a feed and add yourself to the list of happy creatures. Happy Boy’s fish fragrant eggplant is a classic example of a deceptive title. File it with Jerusalem artichoke and prairie dogs because this sensational slammer is completely vegetarian. And yes, I know that sometimes fish fragrant eggplant can be served with minced pork, but on this occasion Happy Boy are for happy pigs.
Salads | Botanica, Red Hill
Meat is the only thing completely off the table at the unveiling of every spread at Botanica. Their daily repast features heaped bowls of vegetation that looks like it was foraged from Dan Barber’s veggie patch, and a splay of the best-looking gluten free treaties to ever clutter up a window.
Dhal | Curryville, Morningside
Freshness and hiptitude are the secret ingredients that earned Curryville a special place in our hearts, and we think their dhal is pretty amazing at cranking up the flavour notch to levels unprecedented. Throw in some naan bread and you may never dine anywhere else again.
Vegan Ramen | Hai-Hai Ramen, Paddington
Nothing causes quite so much animosity among friends as the ongoing struggle to find a reliable place for dinner that everyone loves. Well here’s some good news, ramen restaurant Hai-Hai Ramen is here to solve all your problems and restore peace to the friendom. Here vegos dive into their enormous puddles of vegan ramen alongside their meat-eating pals getting jiggy with the piggy.
Breakfast Bowl | Gramercy Coffee, CBD
Vegetarians at brunch are often convenience by the simple choice between two stellar options: pancakes or avo toast. However, anyone looking to shake things up with a saucy THIRD OPTION has to hit up Gramercy Coffee for their bountiful breakfast bowl. Expect eggs, haloumi, crunchy broccolini, blistered tomatoes, freekeh, and some fresh watercress to help you greet the day and maybe inspire you to join a farming collective.
Haloumi and Eggplant Burger | Remy’s, Paddington
If there were ever a cheese and a vegetable that could hold a candle to meat it would be haloumi and eggplant. The dual forces tucked inside Remy’s meat-free burger option create a sensation similar to what I imagine would happen if Batman and Superman set aside their differences and tried to solve a jigsaw puzzle together.
Agedashi Tofu | Mizu, Teneriffe
Yeah, like we were going to reach the end of this list without hearing from tofu #keepdreaming. Mizu’s agedashi tofu delivers unto our tables the most gloriously golden chunks of fried tofu swimming in broth with playmates of shitake mushrooms, bamboo shoots, carrots, shallots and nori so it’s practically a salad and therefore good for you and you should order it twice…or opt for it to be made ‘Mizu style’ for a vegan reworking of this lip-smacking vegetarian triumph.
Image credit: Ariana Gillrie