Shakahari

As a social worker, I am expected to case note everything I do (phone calls, emails, client appointments) within 48 hours of the event occurring (but preferably immediately). This is for obvious reasons – the longer you leave it, the more likely you are to miss important details. Before I leave work in the evening I catch up on any notes from throughout the day that I haven’t yet had a chance to write up.

I only wish I could have such a sense of urgency with my blogging! This post dates back to March, and as a result, the details of the meal are kind of fuzzy. This meal took place as a celebration for me starting my first ‘real’ job, and so naturally I chose to have it at Shakahari.

Shakahari have long been one of my favourites – I’ve had many a ‘special occasion’ dinner here, in fact, it has always been one of my main go-to celebration meal place. Even with more and more amazing vegan eateries popping up all the time, Shakahari still holds a special place in my heart and continues to provide outstanding vegetarian food. I still remember drinking my first ever long island iced tea here on a birthday years back.

Shakahari have been dishing up amazing vegetarian dishes in Carlton since 1972, and have now expanded to open a second restaurant – Shakahari Too – in South Melbourne. They also hold the title of the longest running exclusively vegetarian restaurant in Australia – how cool is that?

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We got a couple of entrees to share to start us off, and found it difficult to select just three. This was the rainbow pate – I was definitely attracted to the colour in this dish. The pate was lovely, though we could have done with a couple more crackers to split between us.

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This is a terrible picture of the avocado magic – a sort of avocado tempura. I remember enjoying this one a few years back, and it didn’t disappoint this time either. The sauce is coriander based, and brings a wonderful strong flavor to the creamy avocado.

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Lastly, some delicious treats – I can’t remember what they are! I’m looking at the menu thinking it must be the mushroom agnolotti. Whatever it was, I do remember it was delicious.

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For my main, I ordered the ‘Legendary Satay Shakahari’. I can understand why it’s legendary – the satay sauce is the stickiest, creamiest, peanutiest satay sauce ever, and the differing textures of the tofu, seitan and vegetables work a treat.

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Other orders on the table included this dish, which again, I cannot remember – it had many components and from memory the zucchini bits were kind of pickled?

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A couple of people on the table went for the laksa, which was also full of amazing tofu, tempeh and seitan textures.

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Somebody else enjoyed this beautiful pesto pasta dish, topped with soy cheese and pine nuts.

I think there was another main, but it didn’t make the cut due to it’s non-veganness (totally a word).

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Finally, what meal at Shakahari is complete without a tofu crème caramel? ARGHYUMMM. This is a perfect dessert – silky tofu topped with crunchy pistachio toffee and drizzled with a sweet caramel sauce. Yaaaaayyy! I think most people on the table got this, though there were a few non-vegan options making an appearance too.

Phew, I bumbled my way through that one. Luckily, my blog is not going to ever be subpoenaed for court (I hope), so I guess the sketchy details don’t matter too much. Or the sketchy photos. Hmm. Lesson learnt – I think it’s time to try and cut through my backlog again. See you soon blog-world!

Shakahari
201-203 Faraday St, Carlton
Mon-Fri – 12pm – 3pm and 6pm – 9.30pm
Sat – 12pm – 3pm and 6pm – 10.30pm
Sun – 6pm – 10.30pm

Banquet at Gong De Lin

A while back, Veganopoulous posted about a banquet lunch at Gong De Lin which she had bought through an online deal on Scoopon. After noting the array of food, I promptly went online and bought one for myself too. Nothing like a vegan bargain!

The voucher sat in my inbox for months, until this weekend when I finally realised I only had a matter of days left to use it. So the bear and I took ourselves out to dinner last night so as not to let it go to waste.

Prior to Veganopoulous posting about Gong De Lin, I had never heard of the place. They’ve only been around for a year or so, and they are somewhat easy to miss – on the third floor of a building on Swanston Street, up near QV. I had a quick look on Urbanspoon before we went and noted quite a few reviews detailing rude, angry staff and food being reheated in the microwave. This perhaps set my expectations a little lower than usual, however we were pleasantly surprised. The friendly waitress seated us in a booth by the window and brought us some corn soup very promptly. I love getting to sit by the window, especially at such a height where you can look out onto the streets below.

ImageExcuse the crappy camera photos please.

The corn soup was pretty standard, similar to one we had in Box Hill last week – I kind of like it, while finding the texture very odd at the same time. It was certainly nice to sip on something warm after coming in from the cold.

The waitress was very attentive, and offered us a choice of jasmine tea or soft drink (as they were out of plum juice), as well as a choice between spicy chicken or mushrooms for our main. I was so stoked about being given the choice, and ordered the chicken without skipping a beat. She also brought some dipping sauces for our dumplings much to the bear’s delight – just try and keep his paws away from a jar of chilli oil!

ImageNext up – spring rolls. As Veganopoulous said, spring rolls are spring rolls! They were enjoyable and not too oily, accompanied by a chilli dipping sauce. The bear was too busy smothering his in a concoction he had made in his own bowl to notice this sauce until the end.

ImageThe dumplings came out at about the same time as the spring rolls. The skin looked quite thick and I feared it might be cardboard-y, but they were softer than I had expected. I always like it when dumplings, buns or spring rolls are filled with mixtures that have identifiable bits in them. These had little chunks of tofu among lots of greens. I enjoyed them.

ImageNext up a bean sprout salad. This was a little soggy, but I liked the juiciness to break up the entrees – it was quite a palate cleanser!

ImageThis was bear’s dish of the night – sweet and sour pork. I am constantly amazed by the different textures that mock-meat takes on these days – it really is fascinating. Just last week we had some vegan prawns at Vegie Hut (which I hated – too prawny would you believe?!) The sauce was really thick and the flavour spot on. We were given a bowl of rice each to accompany the mains.

ImageThe other main was the spicy chicken. The sauce itself was not overly spicy, but there were chillis scattered throughout the dish which certainly packed a punch. This dish also had water chestnuts (which I haven’t had in SO long!) and peanuts. I liked the stringy texture of the mock chicken.

ImageFinally, dessert. I’m not going to lie – I didn’t enjoy this. Little flavourless balls of dough in some sugar water. Neither of us finished it. By that point we were pretty full anyway, so it was no big loss.

So Gong De Lin is now on the radar – I’ll remember it if I’m looking for a sure-fire vegan Chinese option in the CBD. It was a good deal – $39 for the two of us for all that food, however I did not get a chance to browse the menu to see what the standard prices are. Maybe we’ll just have to come back and find out!

Gong De Lin
Level 3, 264 Swanston St Melbourne
Open 7 Days – 10am – 10pm

Spud Bar and Nostralis Pizza

It’s amazing how quickly I’ve gone from being up to date with all my posts to having a backlog. Gah!

I have been pretty busy the last couple of weeks, completing my first fortnight of my new job. The stress and excitement of starting a new job couple with the travel time to and from work have left me feeling pretty tired by the time I get myself home. Hopefully as I start to get into a better rhythm things will start to balance out a little.

The other week Billy and I went to a show at the Corner, and I needed something to fill my tummy before hand. We went for a walk down Swan St and bumped into Spud Bar, which I have never been to before. I’ve heard lots of rave reviews about the place, and so I thought I’d give it a try.

I asked if they were able to do me a vegan potato, which was no problem at all. Spud Bar is sort of like Subway, but with potatoes – in that they have a range of ‘fillings’ and toppings on display, so you can pick and choose what you want. You can also choose between a potato or a sweet potato for your base.

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I just went with a the standard veggie spud topped with hummus and some tomato salsa. This was pretty good at satisfying my need for a simple, fresh meal. I wouldn’t say the flavour was AMAZING, but it was decent. I did slather it with tabasco sauce though to give it a bit of a kick. Mmm spicy.

Later on in the week, we decided to have a pizza and movie night and I was determined to finally try Nostralis Pizza. I have been wanting to try it for everrrr, particularly since Plush Pizza closed (boooo!). Nostralis do wholemeal, exclusively vegetarian pizzas, with stacks of vegan and gluten-free options. They’ve been in the business since 1981 which I thought was pretty darn impressive.

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My apologies for the shocking photos here. After the time it took us to get these pizzas home, there was no time for excellent lighting or production skills.

We ordered the first two pizzas on the list, just because they sounded interesting and different from the typical pizzas that vegans can access. This was the Nostralis Special, with tomato, bean shoots, capsicum, onion, olives, soy beans, pineapple, chili, garlic and herbs. Chaos!

I quite liked this one, though the structural integrity of each slice was seriously compromised by the thick layer of bean sprouts. This was definitely a two hands job. The others were not such big fans, saying it lacked flavour. I suppose with so many bean sprouts they kind of outshone the rest of the ingredients.

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We also got the Vindaloo pizza, which was described as having tomato, cheese, banglore beans, peppers, sultanas, hot spices, bananas, onions and vindaloo curry paste. I didn’t mind this, but I couldn’t find any banana or sultanas which was a little disappointing. Maybe they were blended into the paste? I’m not sure, I couldn’t taste them either. It wasn’t as spicy as I would have liked either.

Both these pizzas were good, but I had hoped for better. HOWEVER, I would love to go back and try some of the more traditional flavours, as I think they might be more suited to my pizza taste buds.  Also, living a fifteen-twenty minute trip from Nostralis meant our pizzas were no longer steaming fresh by the time we got them home, so next time I’d definitely like to dine in, or at least grab them and take them to a nearby park or something. I think they’d be rocking straight out of the oven.
Spud Bar
226 Swan St, Richmond (and various other locations)
Mon – Fri – 11.30am – 9.30pm
Sat – Sun – 11.30am – 9pm

Nostralis Pizza
55 Hawthorn Rd, Caulfield North
Mon – CLOSED
Tues-Sun – 5.30pm – 10pm(ish)

Spinach and Tofu Ricotta Cannelloni

This is one of my favourite meals to cook when people are coming over for dinner, as it’s so easy to do a big pan full to share. It’s also a go-to when cooking for meat lovers as it never fails to impress – it’s one of those ‘see how normal/delicious vegan food is?!?’ dishes. It takes a bit of time to prepare, but is totally worth it.

The addition of mushrooms and walnuts provide some great texture and flavour, as well as nutritional goodness. The dish is full of protein, iron, fibre, magnesium, vitamin c, d, b12 and more, so eat up!

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Spinach and Tofu Ricotta Cannelloni
(serves 6-8)

1 1/2 cups button mushrooms, diced
1/2 tsp oil
1 cup walnuts
250g frozen spinach
1 box cannelloni tubes (the type that don’t need pre-cooking)
Vegan cheese, to sprinkle on top (optional)

Sauce:
1/2 tsp oil
1 medium brown onion, diced finely
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 400g tins crushed tomatoes (or equivalent fresh)
1 Tbsp tomato paste
Handful fresh basil, torn
1 tsp fresh oregano, chopped
Salt and pepper

Tofu ricotta:
450g firm tofu
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp olive oil
3 Tbsp lemon juice
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
Handful of basil, torn
Salt and pepper

Toast the walnuts in a pan over low heat, then chop finely and set aside.

Saute the mushrooms over medium heat in 1/2 tsp oil for about 3-5 minutes until soft, and set aside.

Defrost spinach and set aside.

For the sauce, saute onions in 1/2 tsp oil over medium heat for about 5 minutes, until softened and translucent. Add the garlic and cook for a further minute. Add the tomatoes and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to a simmer and stir in tomato paste and basil. Season with salt and pepper. Simmer for five minutes, then take off heat. From here, you can whizz up the sauce in a blender/with a stick blender if you’d like a smooth consistency, otherwise you can leave it chunky.

For the tofu ricotta, crumbled the tofu with your hands into a large bowl. Don’t worry about pressing any liquid out of it, as a wetter mix is better for assisting the pasta tubes to cook. Add garlic, oil, lemon juice, yeast flakes and basil and stir well. Add mushrooms, walnuts and spinach and mix through. Taste for seasoning.

To assemble, spread a small amount of the tomato sauce across the bottom of a large baking dish. This is important as the dry cannelloni tubes need to come in contact with some moisture on all sides to ensure they cook properly.

Fill tubes with tofu mix, however you please. I used to use a butter knife to poke it in but these days I just get my hands dirty as I find it’s quicker and easier. Lay the tubes side by side in the dish

Cover with remaining sauce, and poke a knife between each tube to allow a bit of sauce to seep in between them. Sprinkle with cheese and pop in the oven. Cook according to your cannelloni package.

Not only is this delicious straight away, it makes great leftovers and is surprisingly yummy cold too!

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Brunswick eats: The Cornish Arms and Tom Phat

A couple of weeks ago, I managed to cram two visits to Brunswick in the one week. Not one to miss a good vegan dining opportunity, I made the most of being over that side of town.

Firstly, I had a much overdue catch up with a lovely friend of mine for a few drinks. After working up our hunger over a few drinks, she recommended we head over to Tom Phat for a bite to eat. The smell when we walked in was amazing, and I was pretty excited to find multiple options clearly marked as vegan on the menu.

We decided to get two dishes and share them both. The first was Nasi Mesantan with tofu fritters, spiced red rice and chilli-tomato sambal.

ImageIt looks a bit like a mish mash of everything here, but let me tell you – these tofu balls were delicious – crispy on the outside, but really light and almost fluffy inside. Loved the spiced rice and sambal too.

ImageThe second dish was off the specials list, and it was a kind of satay tofu and tempeh salad, with strips of roti bread. The addition of roti bread was kind of strange, but very welcome – it was great to dip in the sauce. I loved the texture of the tofu in this one too, it was cooked in thin slabs and had a great chewiness to it.

These were both really substantial meals, and we couldn’t quite get through them both, but that had nothing to do with their tastiness. We both really enjoyed our meal. The service was fast and friendly, and to be honest, I was surprised they let us come in at 9.30-ish on a Sunday night (but totally glad!)

Next up was a visit to the Cornish Arms on one of those scorching summer days. It was one of the ones that was disgustingly hot all day, and then the skies opened in the evening for a downpour. Luckily, we managed to grab a seat outside, but undercover, and we got to watch the lightning show from the front row. It was a little dicey for a moment there as the pub lost power amongst the storminess and we thought our hopes of a feed there were lost, but luckily the outage only lasted five minutes or so.

As I said in my last post, I’m pretty stoked by the masses of vegan pub food appearing everywhere. I love being able to order a parmy and pot, or whatever else takes my fancy. This time, I decided to do something a bit different and order the beer battered fish and chips. This is different for me as I my memories of fish are not very fond, so I wasn’t at all sure whether I would like this or not. It was too novelty for me not to try though…

ImageThe meals here are not for the faint hearted. I was not SUPER hungry, but this was also A LOT of fried food. But that’s what we were there for! I was surprised at how the fish was served – I guess I was expecting flatter ‘fillets’ rather than big chunky balls. Nevertheless, I quite enjoyed it. The to-fish was wrapped in seaweed before being battered, and was accompanied with a convincing tartare sauce. While I found it pretty tasty, I only got through one piece of fish, with Billy taking two for the team and one lonely little guy being left behind.

ImageBilly went with the ‘steak’ sandwich, which consisted of duck seitan, facon, cheez along with some fillings. We swapped a few bites, and both found it thoroughly enjoyable. In my mind I had expected the eggplant chips to be more finger-like in shape, but I loved these crumbed rounds. I could have eaten a whole bowl of them!

This was one of those occasions where we had to let our tummies digest for some time before we even tried to stand up, and Billy declared that he “would never eat again!” As we know from other posts, this has turned out to be untrue, but you understand the sentiment.

The Cornish Arms is a great place for some solid vegan pub food. I’m definitely keen to try some of their other offerings, but I think next time I’ll try and work up a decent appetite before I tackle a whole meal.

Tom Phat
182-184 Sydney Rd, Brunswick
Weekdays – 11am – 10pm
Weekends – 8am – 10pm
Tues – CLOSED

The Cornish Arms
163A Sydney Rd, Brunswick
Kitchen hours (every day):
Lunch: 12pm – 3pm
Dinner: 6pm – 9.30pm
Pizza & Snacks available every day from 3pm – 9.30pm

A day of deliciousness: Admiral Cheng-Ho, Gelato Messina and Reverence Hotel

Yesterday was a good day. Not only did I get to have hangs with Billy and family and see some bands, we also got to eat some really delicious food. What more could I ask for? Good company + good music + good food = happy.

While trying to decide on somewhere to eat, my mum suggested Admiral Cheng-Ho, which she had read about online. I was only too happy with this decision as it was definitely on my ‘to-do’ list after reading about Cindy and Michael’s visit there a couple of weeks ago.

We wandered in for a late-ish lunch and were greeted and seated by the friendly staff there. Looking over the menu there was plenty of deliciousness, and the majority of it was already vegan (with much of the remainder having the option to be). They do an all-day breakfast (yay!) as well as a selection of sandwiches and salads for lunch.

I was pretty sold on the breakfast menu, and though I loved the sound of the quinoa pancakes I was definitely in the mood for something savoury. I (along with most of our party) went with ‘The Admiral’ – zucchini fritters with sauteed kale, seasonal vegetables, tangy beetroot relish and basil cashew cream.

ImageThis was exactly what I could have hoped for. The fritters were light and fluffy, and while they weren’t bursting with flavour on their own, the sides and balsamic drizzle were the perfect accompaniment, offering beautiful zestiness and creaminess. I was slightly apprehensive of the beetroot relish, seeing as though it is not my my most loved vegetable, however the tanginess did a great job at neutralising the sweetness – which is what I think I don’t like about beetroot in the first place. And oh my goodness, the basil cashew cream…whaaaaaat?! This is AMAZING. I need a tub of this to dip everything in. Seriously.

I didn’t grab snaps of the other dishes – the other two both went for the Umami mushrooms on pumpkin, spinach and sundried tomato polenta bread. They had the non-vegan option, which included goats cheese as well as thyme and red chili oil. It looked delicious and had a good reception from both.

While I would have loved to grab a coffee, I just couldn’t face it in the heat. Billy and Ellen had the guys whip them up a specialty iced chai, which was lovely and refreshing, and mum and dad both went for a glass of coconut water. We were all very happy customers, and I’ll no doubt be returning to give the rest of the menu a good try.

After lunch, we went over to Gelato Messina, which mum had been hanging out to go to for some time. There was a bit of a line when we arrived, but it moved fairly quickly and actually gave us a chance to look over the menu which was quite extensive. They had some really interesting flavour combinations, and while the vegan selection was limited to the sorbets, they had some flavours that were far from ordinary.

ImageI couldn’t resist getting three flavours to try, and I went with blood orange, salted coconut with mango salsa, and pear and white balsamic. The flavours were all beautiful, the salted coconut being a stand-out favourite. The balsamic pear was awesome too, tangy and packed with a pear punch.

ImageBilly went with a combo of the salted coconut, passionfruit and chocolate. The chocolate was amazingly rich, and the fruity passionfruit balanced it out nicely. Billy was stoked, claiming it to be the best gelato of his life and then declaring that it would be the last ice-cream he would ever eat, as there would be nowhere to go but down from there. We’ll see about that….

After wandering Smith St for a while, we headed over west to Footscray, as we were going to a show later in the evening. To kill some time, we headed over to the Reverence for a beer and to get out of the sun for a while. After our late lunch, we weren’t super hungry but looking over the menu we thought we had best sample at least something while we were on this side of the city. I am totally loving the surge of vegan pub food available in Melbourne right now. So many options! The menu at the Rev is Mexican-inspired, with a bunch of snack/small plates and larger meals, as well as a selection of pizzas (and a few desserts).

ImageWe went with some taquitos, which were stuffed with vegan chorizo, sweet potato and refried beans and topped with guacamole, lime and tomatillo sauce with a side of chipotle mayo. HOLY MOLY. These were SO FREAKING GOOD. It was like an explosion of delicious in my mouth. Neither of us had ever had a taquito before, but this will definitely not be the last. We raved about these allllll night. And even today. All we have been doing is planning our next feasible time to visit the Rev for more food.

ImageObviously we couldn’t have bar snacks without the spicy shoestring fries (with chipotle lime mayo). To be honest, neither of us could detect much chipotle or lime in the mayo, but we enjoyed the creaminess nonetheless. The fries were generously seasoned which I love. They were gone in a flash.

And so ends our day of delicious eats!


Admiral Cheng-Ho
325 Johnston St, Abbotsford
Mon-Fri – 6am – 4pm
Sat-Sun – 8am – 5pm

Gelato Messina
237 Smith St, Fitzroy
Sun-Thurs – 12pm – 11pm
Fri-Sat- 12pm – 11.30pm

Reverence Hotel
28 Napier St, Footscray
Kitchen Hours:
Mon – CLOSED
Tues – $3 Tacos only, from 6pm
Wed-Sat – 6pm – 10pm
Sun – from 3pm

A few more W.A. eats

I am fairly certain that this is the last in the backlog of Western Australia posts that I’ve got to catch up on (then it’s on to the Melbourne backlog…). This won’t be highly detailed as it’s been a while now, but I just wanted to give a quick mention to these two places that we ate at while over that side.

Firstly, we headed down to Dunsborough for a day trip with the hopes of heading to Samudra for breakfast. I’d been to Samudra the previous time I was down and was so impressed by the quality of food, not to mention the amazing range of vegan, raw and gluten-free options that were available. On top of that, Samudra contains a yoga studio, eco-clothing store and wellness centre, all nestled in a beautiful gardened area.

Unfortunately it was not meant to be, as we arrived to find it closed for renovations. This was the second time we were turned away, as last time I had tried to share the joys of the place with Billy, we were turned away due to a private function. Sighhhh. Oh well.

We wandered around until we found a little cafe called Rabbits Surf Cafe. While there was nothing vegan on the menu, the staff there advised us that we could mix and match a few things to make up a suitable breakfast, so we decided to do that. We both went with a cooked brekkie of toast, tomatoes, mushrooms, spinach and avocado.

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Billy really enjoyed this, and demolished it in no time at all. I have to admit that I was still a little disheartened by not getting to have breakfast at Samudra and that probably affected my enjoyment of the meal. Nothing about this was bad, but I had been prepping myself for some delightful buckwheat pancakes or raw muesli or something of the sort. This was pretty much the standard breakfast you get from a place that doesn’t have vegan options.

I shouldn’t be down on it though – we were accommodated really well and it was certainly a decent and filling breakfast. Billy had a coffee on the side, and I went with a green smoothie.

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This was tasty, but I wish places wouldn’t serve drinks in plastic cups when you are eating in – it seems wasteful. A glass would have been much preferable.

While in Mandurah we also went out to dinner to a place called Catch 22, which is on one of the wharfs. It has a little bit of a ‘fancier’ vibe to it, and prices to match.

We had a really friendly girl serving us, who was very helpful, cheerful and patient with us, and explained to me what could be altered on the menu to suit my requirements (I believe she was vegan as well). It even said at the bottom of the menu in fine print to advise staff of any dietary requirements so that they could assist us to the best of their ability, which was nice. For me, the best option seemed to be the vegetable stack. It sounded pretty delicious, so I was sold easily. Here is a terrible photo of it.

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Okay, so the good…I loved the texture of the creamy potato, and the juicy flavour of the mushrooms topped with chives. I freaking love chives.

However, firstly, the dish was brought to me with feta cheese on top (as it is listed on the menu). I advised the waitress who apologised profusely and took it away. The dish came back with one mushroom removed from the top (the one with all the cheese on it). It was not replaced with another one, and there were still a few smidgens of cheese on the dish. I am not one to make a big deal, so I continued with my meal, however, if I was actually allergic…this may have been a problem.

I was one bite away from finishing what was a fairly tasty meal. I put the last mouthful in, only to chew down on a sharp piece of plastic, about 2cm long. Not the most pleasant surprise…it could have at least been a gold coin or something. This was really quite disappointing – I’ve never before found a plastic shard in a meal at a restaurant. I understand how easily this could have broken off a container, but still…not enjoyable.

Again, I advised the waitress who was even more apologetic, and came back with complimentary coffee. It was a nice gesture, and quite a decent meal, but I have to say I would probably not return. This is more to do with the fact that there was not much else suitable that appealed to me on the menu than the mistakes that were made (everybody makes mistakes!), but they definitely did impact on the experience.

Rabbits Surf Cafe
9/28 Dunn Bay Rd, Dunsborough W.A
Mon – Sun – 8am – 8.30pm

Catch 22 Restaurant
Unit 1/4 Zephyr Mews, Mandurah W.A
Mon – 10.30am – 5pm
Tues – Sat – 10.30am – 9pm
Sun – 8am – 9pm

Ssss…Subiaco and Scarborough on a Saturday and Sunday

While in Perth, we stayed with my Nanna and Grandad in Claremont. It was so lovely catching up with family and just hanging out, and for me it felt as though it were just yesterday that I was there. Hard to believe it has been a whole year since I was in Perth, finishing up my uni placement.

Claremont is a stone’s throw away from Subiaco, which is the home of a weekly farmers market every Saturday morning. We took the train over one morning to check them out.  It’s a great little farmers market, with a lovely vibe. As we walked in, we were greeted by the Subiaco Ukelele Free For All (SUFFA) group playing – mad deja vu to the Cruelty Free Festival this time last year. They are fabulous and never fail to bring a smile to your face.

We wandered around the markets, picking up the odd bit of fruit and veg and browsing the different wares. We found one little stall (that I can no longer remember the name of) that was selling a range of little cakes and treats, mostly raw. Billy picked up a little pecan tart and I chose a gorgeous little blueberry cake. Billy’s was being digested before I could even reach for my camera. Mine survived long enough for this shot…

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Billy’s was a little bland, but mine was packed with flavour. It was almost just a blueberry puree, and rich like a jam. Just lovely!

After the markets we wandered around the op shops, then completed our morning with a trip to Gelare, as we had heard rumours of a couple of vegan flavours. We weren’t disappointed. Not only did they have the usual vegan sorbet flavours, but they had vegan chocolate, cappucino and coconut flavours. We shared a cup of coconut and cappucino.

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Yum! The cappucino was awesome, and for me it was necessary to balance out the coconut which I can find a bit overpowering sometimes.

The following evening, we decided to check out a place in Scarborough called the Wild Fig for dinner with my Nanna and Grandad. We had read a bit about the place (and it’s sister cafes – the Naked Fig and the Pickled Fig, in Swanbourne and Fremantle respectively). While the website declared that the menu changed seasonally, there appeared to be several delicious sounding vegan dishes. I was quite excited.

The Wild Fig is a nice open space, looking out over Scarborough beach. It was just starting to get quite busy when we arrived, as it had been a warm day, and being the weekend, many people were migrating up from their day the beach.

Looking over the menu I was surprised to find that the two main vegan options I had been eyeing off were nowhere to be seen! In fact, the only vegan dish apart from the sides was the bruschetta. I was a bit disappointed to have no choice after such a promising online menu (that included an amazing sounding lemon and thyme polenta dish and a szechuan pepper and cashew crusted tofu dish, as well as a vegan pannacotta…YUM), and was told by the waitress that they have a vegetarian night on wednesdays with plenty of veg options. I couldn’t quite understand why at least one of these was not made available on a regular basis. Aaaanyway.

We started with a trio of dips with bread, which we were assured were all vegan. You’ll have to excuse the TERRIBLE pictures, as the lighting was just starting to get dim around this time.

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These were nice, I particularly liked the centre dip – a sundried tomato based one.

Next up I got the bruschetta. As it was an entree, I decided to get a side of chickpea salad, as I thought it would be quite small.

Again, please excuse the horrible pictures here. It’s all I got.

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This wasn’t what I expected at all. The bruschetta was a mix of tomato, red onion, sweet potato, pumpkin, rocket and balsamic. This was decent, albeit a little plain compared to the other dishes I was teased with. I was disappointed by the plain toast arranged on top of the veggies, somehow I thought it should have been a nice thick slice of something rather than a flat piece of toast, particularly given the price.

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This was nice, but again, a little plain. It was dressed with olive oil and did not have a whole lot of flavour. In fairness, it was just intended as a little something on the side. It was nice and fresh though, I’ll give it that.

The service was okay, but seemed to be quite disorganised. Our dips came out quite quickly, but there was a big gap in between until a different waitress came over all of a sudden and asked if we were ready for our mains. There was also an extra main added to our bill, though the waitress noticed the mistake as she gave it to us. It wasn’t at all a bad experience, in fact, despite what I’ve just said we had a pleasant time. I just couldn’t help be disappointed by the lack of vegan options on the regular menu, after seeing so many listed. I would still love to go and try some of them on their vego night.

Subiaco Farmers Markets
Subiaco Primary School
271 Bagot Rd, Subiaco
Every Saturday – 8am-12pm

Gelare
51 Rokeby Rd, Subiaco
Mon-Sun – 9am-6pm

Wild Fig
190 The Esplanade, Scarborough
Mon-Sun – 6am-10.30pm