Vegans of Melbourne, we are happy to report that chefs all over the city have heard you loud and clear, and are creating dishes that aren’t only ethically sound, but also innovative. You’ve probably got your meat-and-animal-product free needs, but as you know by now, we at The Urban List are all about providing options and broadening your dining horizons.
Although not every place on this list is 100% vegan, we’ve found the tastiest vegan dishes available within some of Melbourne’s best-known food joints so you can go out with a group and actually, y’know, order something. From ice cream and sweet treats to pub-food menus entirely devoted to veganism, go forth and enjoy our latest Melbourne vegan favourites.
If you love the heat of Sichuan flavours but struggle to find a vegan-friendly environment, we have found just the place tailored to your needs; it’s the Shu that fits, if you will (sorrynotsorry). Start your night off right with some street food such as the shitake and soy wonton with pickled chilli jam, and the beetroot spring rolls with green chilli sauce for freshness and crunch. Moving on to mains, sample the tofu stew in chilli broth with Sichuan peppercorn to satisfy a spice craving. In even more excellent news, the desserts here are vegan friendly too; ever tried an avocado cheesecake before? Now’s your chance.
Fox In The Box
Yes, food allergies can be a pain in the backside for those amongst us who have to live with them, but Fox In The Box is here to help. All the food prepared at Fox In The Box by the intolerable chef (name due to his own foodie issues, not personality) is gluten free, fructose friendly, lactose and dairy free, and other allowances can be made, just let the staff know what you need. In terms of vegan dishes ready to go, hit up their Eggplant Schnitzel with silver beet pesto. A juicy cheek of aubergine is lightly caramelized, then coated and shallow fried with your choice of ‘tomato soorz’ or curry aioli.
Smith and Deli
Smith and Daughters’ Mexican fare has been a huge hit in the Melbourne vegan community since it opened, but their latest venture, Smith and Deli, has us ranting and raving in excitement. Their deli sandwich menu is a dream for those who may occasionally miss the flavours of meat but aren’t willing to compromise on their morals. Try the Parmageddon with a ‘chicken parma’, Napoli sauce, pesto and ‘mozzarella’ inside, all in a toasted crunchy roll. For morning tea, their vegan vanilla slice is to die for, sticky and sweet in all the right places. As well as an impressive take away menu, Smith and Deli also have an impressive array of vegan grocery options for you to recreate the magic at home.
The good folk from Vegie Bar have upped the anti for vegetarians with their latest venture, Transformer. The menu at this vegetarian Melbourne restaurant is creative, experimental, and focuses on championing the vegetables. While not everything on the menu is vegan, everything is vegetarian and some of the dishes can be made vegan if you so desire. Give the grilled king oyster mushrooms with confit garlic and pine nut puree, smoked shallot and porcini salt a go if you want a deliciously juicy and savoury vegan dish. Their cocktail list is also infused with fruit and herb flavours; wash it all down with a Transformer G+T, made with Melbourne gin company gin, fennel, pink grapefruit and tonic for a tangy and refreshing beverage.
Richmond, Windsor & Fitzroy
Undoubtedly one of Melbourne’s most celebrated gelaterias, we love Messina even more now that we know they’re taking care of the vegans amongs us as well. All of their sorbets are dairy free and vegan, including flavours such as salted coconut and mango salsa, blood orange, chocolate sorbet, coffee & hazelnut praline, and pandan & coconut. Everything is made on site from scratch, so you know it’s a guarantee you can count on. If you’ve already exhausted the flavour sensations of Messina try Miinot Gelato in Pascoe Vale South, they have 4-5 vegan flavours at a time on rotation.
While not everything on the menu here is vegan friendly, this East Brunswick gem does a damn good breakfast, no matter what your needs may be. The Full Vege Breakfast at East Elevation is one such example, swapping out eggs with chipotle tempeh or mushroom, to go with spicy beans, oven-dried tomato, avocado and sautéed spinach.
For something more lunch-time appropriate, check out the roast eggplant and tahini with pumpkin puree, green beans, moghrabieh and fresh pomegranate. If you’re after something a bit sweeter, try the lemon and coconut tapioca with stewed cumquats, persimmon, blueberry and cacao nibs for good measure. In short, East Elevations vegan offerings are filling, flavoursome, and freaking delicious—a great option for Melbourne’s vegans.
The Cornish Arms
Sydney Rd’s vegan saviour is the dream destination for those craving pub fare but can’t stomach a chicken parma or beef burger. The options here are as delightful as they are plentiful, with not just a few ‘vegan options’ but whole sections of the menu dedicated to vegan perfection, making it a total must for Melbourne vegans. A BBQ Meat Loathers pizza is a particularly amusing fake meat fiesta, but if tofurky doesn’t float your boat their all veggie Vegan Verdure pizza may be more to your liking. Their vegan mains cover everything from Rendang curry to burgers to a vegan double down—yes, you heard us correctly, vegan double down: cheez, facon, and tomato between two southern fried mock chicken fillets with mash’n’gravy and slaw.
This Melbourne vegetarian and vegan friendly stalwart is pretty picky where they select their ingredients from, so you can be assured your meal comes from selected local, organic and fair trade farms. The buffet-style menu at Munster Haus changes daily, where customers have the freedom to make their own bowl of goodness. One such creation they made recently was a Szechuan tofu and eggplant dish with garlic shoots, chilli and ginger. Choose your size of bowl and then you decide what to fill it with, from pizza slivers and salads, to pickles and dips to top the dish off. They also offer up gluten free and onion/garlic free dishes for those with a few extra allergies, so everyone can get amongst the healthy and tasty options.
If you need to fill up on some vegan goodness while shopping up a storm in the CBD, visit Supercharger at Emporium. This build your own bowl scenario starts off with picking two bases, including rice, quinoa and some delish mashed potato varieties. Next step is to pick the toppings, from ‘super proteins’ such as braised assorted mushrooms in ginger broth and ‘super smashes’ like the avocado and silken tofu smash with tomato and spices—their take on guacamole. You can also add raw and fermented ingredients to your dish, and top it all off with one of their super sauces. If you’re a little indecisive they have ready-made bowls to go, and we recommend grabbing one of their blended-on-the-spot juices while you’re at it. In other good news, this great Melbourne vegan option is about to open a store in Prahran, so keep your eyes peeled.
Eating healthily and vegan fare generally go hand in hand, and this clearly celebrated at Northcote’s Shoku Iku. With a focus on organic and raw that is both filling and nourishing, think East Asian tradition with modern nutrition. The first thing you’ll probably notice is their impressive list of herbal and medicinal teas, but if you’re after something a bit more filling in the drinks department, go one of their daily-changing smoothies, made with almond milk. For lunch, their raw, gluten free wrap is filled with vegetable couscous, beetroot dip and plant based sour cream, and comes with side salad of your choice. On a side note, if vegan desserts are your jam, you have come to the right place, with something new to try every time you arrive.
Want more of the best vegan in Melbourne? Search ‘vegan’ in The Directory!
Image credit: Shu, Jenna Fahey-White for The Urban List