Shebelle: Ethiopian & Moroccan Restaurant, Café & Bar

African is the new Mexican. Well… For me, at least.

Shebelle 1
Shebelle
241 Barkly St
Footscray, VIC 3011
AUSTRALIA
Ph: (03) 9689 8188

The new, soon-to-come restaurant location: 33 Holmes Rd, Moonee Ponds, VIC.
My visit/photos are from the restaurant’s old location.

Shebelle 2

Although they share a continent, Ethiopia and Morocco aren’t exactly close in proximity. Their cuisine, however, pairs up pretty fantastically. Shebelle is just up the street from Lentil As Anything; look for the numbers on the shops, because the signage doesn’t stand out when you’re driving past. Continue reading

Grumpy’s Green

Firstly: Happy international day of the nacho, y’all! Not only is it world nacho day, but Melbourne is also celebrating Mexico’s “Day of the Dead” festival – for a week. Click here for info on events.

Today I went on a mission for Mexican food. Radio Mexico wasn’t opening until 4pm (I was only in town for lunch) and Trippy Taco had crowds of people wandering in, despite there being no tables available – so Mr. AA & I went for a little wander and ended up eating at Grumpy’s Green – a vegetarian, eco-friendly lounge/bar.

Seating Area
Grumpy’s Green
125 Smith Street
Fitzroy VIC 3065
AUSTRALIA
Ph: (03) 9416 1944

Don’t let the name put you off – these guys aren’t grumpy at all. In fact, they’re pretty upbeat. The main bar/lounge/band area is dimly lit – which I imagine is great in the evenings, but it’s a little hard on the eyes during the day – So Mr. AA and I walked through the naturally lit dining area (pictured above) into a small, four-table intimate court yard. Continue reading

Jerry’s Vegifix

Mr. AA & I spent our 6 year anniversary weekend away at Chopped Rod & Custom festival – it’s a weekend of camping, old cars and music. It’s not a food-oriented event by any means, so I was caught off guard (food-wise) and ended up taking some impromptu photos with my phone – which, as you can see, are fairly questionable in quality.

Chopped Rod & Custom 2012

For the first time ever (we’ve been a few times!), Chopped had some vegan food on offer: Jerry’s Vegi Burgers.

Veg food @ Chopped Rod & Custom 2012

I was excited and impressed – I’d prepared enough food to get me through the weekend (including a raw lemon cheesecake!), but to show my support for a veg-friendly caterer and encourage the organisers to make this option available again, I bought dinner at this stall on Saturday. I’d heard from a very reliable source that the crispy noodle salad on offer was pretty good – better than the veggie burgers – so I placed my order. Continue reading

Las Vegan Bakery/Café

Las Vegan Bakery/Café in Melbourne

Las Vegan Bakery/Café
22 Smith St
Collingwood
VIC 3066
AUSTRALIA
Ph: (03) 9415 9001

Upon entering Las Vegan, it was apparent to me that my anxiety levels were quickly rising, so Mr. AA & I opted for a table outside, even though the weather was a little questionable. The space is small and cramped with badly arranged furniture that makes you feel like an intrusion. I didn’t take any photos inside because it felt too awkward, but there’s potential for the space to feel a lot more comfortable, it just needs some attention. Thankfully, our waiter was kind and relaxed, and after looking at the menu, I could see these guys had a sense of humour. Continue reading

Brewhouse Coffee Roasters

Brewhouse 1
Brewhouse
7 Eve Court (access via Abel St, not Breen St!)
Golden Square, VIC

402 Hargreaves St
Bendigo, VIC
AUSTRALIA
Ph: (03) 5442 8232

This venue looks great and I’m annoyed that I didn’t take any photos of it for you all! It’s in the heart of an industrial area and is inside a big shed. The counter & kitchen are tucked inside a shipping container with doors & windows cut out. Outside the barrista station hangs four giant industrial lamps; throughout the rest of the shed, light globes hang with rolled up paddock-style wire fencing wrapped around them as makeshift light shades. The tables are long, wooden and rustic looking and they’re paired with metal chairs.

Brewhouse has moved – I haven’t visited the new location yet. Continue reading

Bath Lane Café

Bath Lane Café
13 Bath Lane
Bendigo, VIC 3550
Ph: (03) 5441 5400

Mr. AA often goes on a “man date” with one of his mates when he has the day off work. They recently went to the Bath Lane Café together, and Mr. AA, being the wonderful, considerate man he was, scanned the menu for vegan options to see if he could bring me there (without me having to dissect the menu and ask to have a special meal made up).

As it turns out, a wonderful lady that I met online via my osteopath is the manager there. She makes a kick arse coffee that will have you climbing the walls if you don’t drink coffee often; it’s super strong and it’s refreshingly fabulous to finally be served soy milk that’s velvety as opposed to foamy! Nice work, Jaime.

Bath Lane Coffee
Can you tell we have a mutual girl-crush? Check out the super cute heart in my coffee! We also both happened to be wearing yellow cardigans – I think our friendship is meant to be. Continue reading

T’hooft

T’hooft
322 Lyttleton Terrace
Bendigo, VIC 3550
AUSTRALIA
P: (03) 5444 4448

T'hooft Inside 1

T’hooft is a kitschy little café in Bendigo with a big reputation. The retro barrista caravan and mismatched ’50s dining furniture will score you a mountain of hipster points just for looking at it sideways. Seriously – you don’t even need to step in the front door! Continue reading

Indian Empire

Indian Empire1

Indian Empire
64 George St
Launceston, TAS 7250
AUSTRALIA
Ph: (03) 6331 2500

I love Indian food. There’s no way that anyone who knows ANYTHING about me couldn’t know this. What I love most about visiting different Indian restaurants is that they often have very similar menus, but they all make everything differently/in their own way. Indian Empire is no exception to this.

Prior to my visit, I didn’t think to see if their menu was online. It in fact is. So… When I arrived and looked over the vegetarian section, I was feeling a bit nervous and uncomfortable. Just about everything there was known to me as containing cream, or was listed as containing paneer… Then I panicked and thought “what if they use ghee in everything???”.

Thankfully, the woman managing the restaurant was really helpful and accommodating – and best of all, she didn’t pull a face at me for being vegan. She pointed out a number of items in the vegetarian section that could be made without the cream, or could be made with vegetables instead of paneer, and she assured me that there wouldn’t be any ghee in my meals. ROCK AND ROLL, KIDS. Would it be inappropriate for me to propose to her? Probably… I’m sure she didn’t “swing that way” and neither do I (not that there’s anything wrong with that) – plus, Mr. AA was sitting right across from me.

Indian Empire2

These onion bhaji were very different to the ones I get at my favourite local restaurant, Curry Garden (which will forever be known in Bendigo as the “downstairs Indian restaurant” because there’s an inferior Indian restaurant next door and upstairs) – BUT they were almost as good. For a start, these were in clusters rather than rings and the seasoning was only very light. These would have been excellent if they weren’t burned.

Indian Empire3

The first main I chose (YES I CHOSE MORE THAN ONE!) was the dal makhani. I haven’t had one of these since going vegan because they’re always made with cream and every other restaurant I’ve been to has been unwilling to compromise on this.

This used to be my favourite curry… And I think it still is. Though really, it’s hard to pick just one. Normally dal makhani is mild, sweet and runny but this one had a bit of kick to it and it was really thick, rich and earthy. When I say that, what I mean is – you know you’re eating lentils. That’s definitely not a bad thing if you’re crazy about lentils like I am. I’d eat this curry over and over again in a heart beat.

Indian Empire4

My second choice was the vindaloo, made with vegetables instead of paneer. Holy hell. This had a tomato base and was heavy with a very aromatic mix of spices… Topped with the kind of heat that made my mouth tingle and my nose run. The best part was that even though it was hot, I could still taste all the flavours. I could actually decipher individual vegetables on my palette. That’s how spicy food should be, people!

I also ordered rice and roti, but didn’t photograph them. Rice is rice, not much to say there. The roti was perfectly thick and chewy – I hate when restaurants make their roti too thin and crispy – what kind of sauce do they expect you to mop up with that?

Dumpling World

Dumpling World1

Dumpling World
Cnr Argyle & Liverpool St
Hobart, TAS 7000
AUSTRALIA

If you Google “Dumpling World Hobart” or find it via the Happy Cow website, you’ll be told to go to 3/138 Collins Street. Let me assure you that at this spot, there’s nothing more than a shop front that’s being renovated. I was almost in tears. Two days later, we found the *real* address for Dumpling World entirely by accident – and oh what a happy accident.

Dumpling World2

Dumpling World has a tacky menu on the wall, covered with photographs of the food, but don’t let that turn you off. To the right of the entry is a dining area and to the left is the counter, kitchen and a bar height bench along the window for singles and pairs to sit and eat at. You can see into the kitchen from the bar style bench which was great for me because I knew my dumplings weren’t frozen and mass manufactured – they were being hand made with love right in front of my eyes.

Dumpling World3

I’ve eaten in Footscray and Richmond – both immigrant areas of Melbourne that are heavily populated with Asian restaurants – and JAPAN, for God’s sake… and I’m telling you now that nothing else I’ve eaten comes close to these dumplings. They are AMAZING. The wrappers don’t split when you pick them up with your chopsticks and the filling is more than just carrot and cabbage. There’s Asian greens and herbs inside; SO MUCH FLAVOUR! Delicious, finely chopped flavour. I can feel myself starting to salivate right now…

I’d definitely go back for the dumplings alone. There’s items on the menu other than dumplings – noodles dishes, Asian soups, stir fries with rice… But I can’t confidently comment on how many of them are vegan friendly. I know the tofu noodle dish doesn’t contain any oyster sauce, but I failed to ask if the hokkien noodles contained egg (they can go either way). Also, I’m sad to say that my gluten free readers are out of luck here.

Dumpling World on Urbanspoon

Heartfood

Hi Everyone!

Sorry I’ve been MIA – I just arrived home from a fabulous trip in Tasmania, where Mr. AA & I got engaged. I have plenty of updates coming up for you (both eatery reviews and recipes), so stay tuned!

When we arrived in Hobart, even before checking in to our cabin, I insisted on making a special stop for lunch. We’d heard of a place called “Heartfood” via the Happy Cow website, so we made our way into town. Hobart is a surprisingly easy city to navigate – once you have all the one way streets worked out. After 3 days, we felt like locals! Ha.

Heartfood1

Heartfood
64 Liverpool Street
Hobart TAS 7000
AUSTRALIA
(03) 6234 2884 ‎

Heartfood is a little take away shop – much smaller than I was expecting – that’s only open for lunch. There’s 4x tables of two in there and a giant floor-to-ceiling mirror to make you feel a little less claustrophobic. Mr. AA & I sat at a table looking out, watching the hustle and bustle of Liverpool St. If you don’t fancy sitting inside, there’s a communal outdoor eating area that all the surrounding eateries share which is just a short walk to the other end of the arcade.

Heartfood2

This was the first thing I saw when I walked in and I might have let out a little squeal of excitement when I realised they had sweets I could eat (I’m not kidding). To the right of this was a drinks fridge, which not only stocked Phoenix cola, but also coconut water with no additives (I don’t know about y’all, but I struggle to find coconut water that doesn’t contain sugar – what’s with that?)! To the left was the bain marie, which housed all the hot, savoury options which change daily.

Heartfood3

All of the dishes were clearly marked – most of them were both gluten free and vegan. I was having a lot of trouble making a decision, so I chose to try two dishes with rice.

Heartfood4

At the back is a tomato/veg/tofu dish. Mild and not overpowering – but not too bland either… Though it seemed pretty dull compared to the amazing coconut milk curry on the left. None of the food was spicy, so if you don’t dig chili, then you’re in for a treat.

Heartfood5

This was the vegetarian lasagne (not vegan) and a couple of vegetable pakoras. Mr. AA said these were both excellent and he was thoroughly satisfied!

Heartfood6

I have no idea why this is called a “rainbow cookie”, but it was AWESOME. It was like a chewy muesli bar bite with chocolate on top. I might have gone back for another one of these.

Heartfood7

I went back on another day during our trip for a take-away lunch (yes, I liked the food that much) and got another great veggie curry! This one was tomato based (not creamy) and comparable to a mild aloo mutter, only with a bigger variety of veggies in it.

I was thoroughly satisfied and impressed and wish there was a Heartfood around the corner from where I work, so could eat there every day! It actually made me a little homesick for Lentil As Anything.