Melbourne is a city with plenty of quirks to its name: the Victorian legacy, distinctive suburbs, independent boutiques and alternative music scene. It’s unsurprising therefore, that such a place caters for every need when it comes to food and has some of best vegan choices around. The variety of creperies, diners, bakeries and restaurants is wide and makes most vegan visitors feel as though they have flown in to the right place.
Starting the day with a good breakfast can seem like a challenge for vegans in some places but not in Melbourne. Informal bistros like Grace Cafe on Rose St specialise in simplicity, with a range of teas and savoury snacks like baked mushrooms, served on equally delightful crockery.
Bigger lunchtime cravings can be satisfied at the brilliantly-named Las Vegan Bakery in Collingwood, where thick-cut chips and generous burgers are the highlights and the comfy community vibe is always good for some downtime.
If you’re looking for something to grab and go, Fatto a Mano on Gertrude St does vegan pizzas, pies and sweet treats, with all options organic and some gluten-free as well. Melbourne is also a good spot for afternoon tea, vegan-style, with plenty of tasty establishments like Sugardough on Lygon Street, which caters for more of an omnivore crowd but has a good selection of vegan cakes.
When it comes to the main event, you can choose from international cuisine like North African, Vietnamese and Mexican right across the city. Lentil as Anything has a ‘pay as you feel’ philosophy and operates in three different venues as a self-service buffet with vegetarian and vegan pasta, stir fry and curries. Chan House is a vegan-friendly restaurant serving South-East Asian and Chinese dishes to eat-in or takeaway from a food court below the Cambridge International School.
Even if you’re trying to keep to a budget, you can cater for yourself quite easily in Melbourne, with places like the Melbourne University Food Co-op offering wholesale goods like grains, tea, spices and dried fruit as well as made-to-order weekly fruit or veg boxes. Vegan favourites like White Lotus Restaurant on Victoria Street also have affordable takeaway options for those lazy nights in.
Melbourne really does offer much more variety than most vegans and even vegetarians are used to, with the abundance of entirely vegan establishments saving those awkward decisions. In fact, it’s a great city for those following other strict diets, with many places serving gluten-free food or cooking without onions and garlic for allergy-sufferers. It may be the capital of alternative Australia, but it’s definitely also a hotbed for alternative gastronomy.