The Daily Veg - cafe reviews around Melbourne

Since 2007, we've evolved from vegetarian to vegan. We love our food & wine just like anybody else!! This blog aims to review tasty vegan options, creativity & quality that can be found at cafes in & around the Melbourne city & suburban region. We initially became vegetarian due to our adorable indoor bunnies. Veganism was just the next step!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Soul Mama

Place: Soul Mama

Where: Jack Boulevard, St Kilda

In a nutshell: Veggie restaurant - vegan friendly, great views

I really like Soul Mama! If you're looking for a relaxing lunch with fabulous views of the beach from the giant sized windows, then Soul Mama is the place to go.

We've been to Soul Mama quite a number of times and it's always a nice day out. The staff are really nice & friendly and the service is great.

The only disappointment unfortunately is the way they serve the food. I'm not a fan of "slop in a bowl" and the bainmarie and lining up for food doesn't appeal to me.

Last year Soul Mama briefly swapped over from the bainmarie to an ala carte menu & it was fabulous!!! The food was brilliant off the menu. Unfortunately, it was short lived & they went back to pre-made bainmarie.

Yesterday I chose to order a few entrees off the menu instead of the normal bowl. This was not a bad option but maybe there need to be a few more options on the menu.

Nimal had the usual bowl and he was a bit annoyed. At the bainmarie he was asked if he wanted a bowl or a plate (the plate has separate segments so the food doesn't all end up swirling together). He said plate & was given a bowl anyway.

Apart from the food factor (which is good though so don't get me wrong!) our table was great! We were right near the window on a really cold & wet day so it was great to watch the weather change & the sea turn nasty right in front of us whilst we enjoyed a lovely glass of wine, lunch & a delicious soy cappucino.


Place: Invita

Where: Therry Street, Melbourne

In a nutshell: Small cafe near Vic Market - vegetarian food & very vegan friendly

Unfortunately, we chose to visit on a Sunday market day. The cafe was busy, the weather was a bit cool as you sit outside in a tent-like arrangement and we were looking for something a bit more special for a birthday lunch. Nothing against Invita as they have some great cakes & yummies to eat for vegans so we enjoyed two very nice pieces of cake.

The lunch menu did look a bit pricey (around $12 for rice balls) but the location is fantastic & the food looked great for people who want to go to visit the market & have a nice vegan meal or snack afterwards.

Monday, March 02, 2009


Place: Shakahari

Where: Faraday Street, Carlton

In a nutshell: vegetarian restaurant with a very vegan friendly menu (all mains were vegan)

Cost: not cheap but great quality (entrees: around $12-$14 - mains: btw $18-$19)

We hadn't been to Shakahari for quite a few years so it was great to revisit. I have to say that the food was fabulous!! We really enjoyed our meals (entree: avocado rolls were great! mains: satay with seitan & tofu was so tasty & filling. Madam Fang croquettes were very tasty too)

There are vegan beers & a vegan sparkling wine & red wine. The cocktails are great - the strawberry daiquiri was yum!

Decor hasn't changed since we visited years ago but it's funky & colourful so always looks great & has a nice feel to the place. There is also a comfortable looking beer garden out the back too which would be great to visit on a warm night.

We totally recommend Shakahari. The food was great, the service was very friendly and it would be a great place for vegans to take family & friends for a special dinner as all the food is tasty, filling & impressive.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Vegie Valley

Place: Vegie Valley

Where: 193 Coleman Parade, Glen Waverley

In a nutshell: Asian vegetarian & vegan

Would we go again? Yep!

It was our third visit to Vegie Valley last night and it was the best meal we've had there.

We started off with spring rolls and lettuce delight. Both very nice but the lettuce delight was a bit messy.

Main meals - we had the peppered "chicken" hot plate which was great! Very tasty. We also had the tofu with lemongrass. The tofu was really lovely & light - wish we knew how to cook it like that!! The tofu was a bit chilli hot but it was still really nice.

The meal was great. The service last night was very attentive (moreso than we've had before) but the decor is always something that could be improved. The air conditioning is always a bit cold, the chairs are quite restrictive (your elbows keep hitting the arm rests) and the tables are covered in thick white paper (I feel like bringing along some bulldog clips to pin it back) but apart from that, it's a great meal & a good night out.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Grumpy's Green

Place: Grumpy's Green

Where: 125 Smith Street, Fitzroy

In a nutshell: funky, new, eco friendly veggie cafe

Would we go again? yes, need to check it out a second time

We visited Grumpy's Green recently during a power outage at our home. It was super hot & after calling, we were assured there would be air conditioning. There was & we were very happy!!

Our first impression of Grumpy's was the atmospheric interior. It was dark and moody and I liked it (although another person I spoke to said it was too dark).

We ordered our drinks (not sure if there are any vegan wines - best to ask) but there are vegan beers on offer.

We chose two entrees as we were hot & couldn't be bothered having that conversation to change the mains to vegan options. It would be great if Grumpy's could provide vegan sour cream, vegan cheese or vegan mayonnaise instead of having to omit them from the main menu meals.

The food was quick to arrive which was great as we were hungry. We enjoyed the marinated tofu skewers (very nice - $9) and the chickpea battered vegetables (loved the chickpea batter!! very crunchy & tasty - $9.50).

We will definitely go back to Grumpy's again soon to check out the live music on Friday & Saturday nights. I hear that the menu is also going through some changes & they are open to suggestions.

I suggest vegan desserts!!! Definitely need some of those! I'd also like vegan friendly wines marked on the menu.

For more information on Grumpy's Green, please visit -

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Ranges at Olinda

Place: Ranges at Olinda

Where: 5 Main Street (Dandenong Tourist Road), Olinda

In a nutshell: Relaxed, inviting cafe (used to be a favourite)

Would we go again? Only for coffee or a beer

In the past we have visited Ranges cafe often. Since becoming vegan we often chose just the fries or the wedges & a beer/wine. We already knew that the wine would not be vegan (we're becoming more fussy about that too now) but to our surprise on our last visit we happened to spy a small handwritten note which was for the staff hidden on a wall.

Under the heading "Vegan", it read: can't have - chips, dairy, meat, etc. What surprised us was the chips listed first. We asked why & the response was that the chips & wedges are pre-cooked in beef tallow. Ick!!

We did stay for a meal in the end. We had the vegetable & chickpea soup (veggie stock used - we did ask!) and the roast vegetable bagel (minus the pesto). The soup was nice but not a patch on Kallista's vegan soups!! The bagel I was told was okay but nothing special.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Kallista Tea Rooms

Place: Kallista Tea Rooms

Where: Monbulk Road, Kallista (about 40 km East of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia)

In a nutshell: relaxing environment, vegan friendly (mostly vegetarian), produce, books, local artworks, views of feeding parrots and cockatoos

Open: 6 days a week (closed Wednesday) for Breakfast and Lunch - 8am - 5 p.m.

Prices: Soup $8.50, Main Meals mostly $14-17, Biscuits and Cakes $3-7

Although we have been regular visitors to the Dandenongs for some years, we only recently discovered the benefits of this establishment, which we had previously driven past many times without a second thought. I think it may have been the name - "Tea Rooms" - that put us off, conjuring up images of old ladies drinking tea at tables with frilly doilies, knitted tea cozies and stodgy old English food - which is indeed what some places in the Dandenongs are actually like! We are pleased to report that this is not the case with the Kallista Tea Rooms! While old ladies are presumably welcome, the cuisine on offer is fresh, modern and decidedly friendly to vegetarians and vegans.

Our introduction to the Kallista Tea Rooms occurred at a banquet organised by a coalition of local vegans. We were treated to a wide selection of vegan dishes, including appetisers, main courses and desserts. Particularly memorable was the French Onion Soup, topped with a seeded-mustard crouton and so full of flavour that we were in heaven! Also of note was a vegetable tagine, subtly spiced, accompanied by delicate, fluffy couscous with pistachios and other delicious things - a fantastic dish.

We have returned to the Kallista Tea Rooms several times and have enjoyed Lentil and Tomato Soup, Tomato and Basil Soup, Chickpea Curry, Tomato and Caramelised Onion Tart, and Zucchini and Pea Fritters. It came as a pleasant surprise to find that there are also excellent vegan options among the sweet treats, which have included a rich Chocolate Cake and Pine Nut, Lemon Verbena and Thyme Biscuits! The menu changes from time to time and we were disappointed when the aforementioned Tagine was omitted from the latest version, although the new dishes were also very good.

Unusually for a non-vegetarian restaurant, the menu and specials board indicate which dishes are vegetarian and which are vegan, or are available in these options. This eliminates the stress of having to interrogate staff about the ingredients used, which often makes eating out an ordeal for vegans. It is a relief to be able to just order whatever we want without worrying about whether it might be cooked in butter or chicken stock.

As far as we are aware, there are no vegetarian restaurants or cafes in the popular tourist areas of the Dandenong Ranges (Sasafrass, Olinda, Kalorama, Mt Dandenong, Kallista and Monbulk), which is a pity. However, if vegetarians and vegans wish to eat out in this area and are prepared to do so at a non-vegetarian establishment, we can heartily endorse the Kallista Tea Rooms.

We're back!

After starting this blog a few years ago, we have since become vegan which means that we now do not eat any animals products - dairy, eggs, honey or other derivatives.

Finding restaurants & cafes that serve vegan food is something that we are keen to find and share our discoveries with other people looking for the same ethical & cruelty free options to their dining experiences.