380 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy 3065
(03) 9417 6935
Any self-respecting vegetarian knows that when you’re looking for a good vego meal, you must follow the hipsters, and Brunswick Street is proof of this. This cosmopolitan street in Fitzroy is textbook Melbourne, with hole-in-the-wall bars, unique boutiques and obscure night clubs, not to mention the endless vegetarian fare. Perhaps the most popular of these is the Vegie Bar.
I’ve got to say, the first time I tried the Vegie Bar, I had already built it up far too much in my mind. I heard about it last year from an omnivorous friend, who professed that the fake chicken there was amazing. And we all know that if a non-vego approves, it must be seriously legit food. I delayed visiting, however, because quite simply I’m a very lazy person and Brunswick Street is a whole thirty minute walk. When I finally made the journey there earlier this year, however, I realised that the least of my problems was my lack of motivation – this place is seriously popular and getting a table can be excessively difficult. When I arrived at about 6 on a Friday night, it was immediately obvious that my chances of eating were slim; not only was there a long line of hungry people waiting to get a table inside, but it was so packed that even the waiting area was full so people had to wait outside in the cold for an hour at the least. We decided it wasn’t worth it and ended up getting Thai food but it made me even more determined to try this vegetarian bounty.
So I was a little surprised when I arrived for dinner the other day to find that we were seated immediately. Admittedly, even though I knew that this was a fully vegetarian restaurant, I was still completely taken aback when I realised I could eat anything from the menu. After years of making difficult decisions at restaurants as to whether I’d like this one vego option that inconveniently contains the only vegetable I don’t like or nothing, I found it very hard to choose at this excessively hip restaurant. I ended up going with the gyoza dumplings for an entree, the lentil burger for my main (after the waiter gave me a five-minute-long spiel about how good it was) and the sticky date pudding for dessert.
The gyoza dumplings arrived almost as soon as we order them but honestly, they didn’t taste all that different from the many super-cheap dumplings that I’ve eaten in Chinatown. The serving size was a little disappointing too, with only three on the plate that I was sharing with a friend. I was ridiculously keen for the burger too, but I found it to be a bit of a let-down as well. The lentil patty fell apart as I was eating it and I couldn’t at all taste the satay sauce used. It was a lot of effort with very little pay off. On the other hand, I tried some of my friend’s Mexican burrito and it was delicious, filled with beans and cheese and all of that good stuff. My other friend’s Asian noodle dish with fake chicken was pretty damn tasty too, with the chicken living up to its reputation, even though it was a little chewy.
Dessert was probably my favourite part of the meal. I shared the sticky date pudding but found myself wishing that I hadn’t – I wanted it all to myself. Maybe I just have a soft spot for this dish but it was done well, with the standard icecream and whipped cream on the side.
As a side note, I’m keen to try the Vegie Bar again because despite my experience, reviews over on the blog, where’s the beef? are just so ecstatic about it, I feel like my disappointing meal was a rare thing.
EDIT: The other night I went back to the Vegie Bar. This time I had the fake chicken wrap and it was great – much better than my last visit. If every experience was like this one, I’d give it 40/50 but it’s still hit and miss so my original score stands.
- Taste: 7/10
- Nutrition: 7/10
- Atmosphere: 8/10
- Cost: 8/10
- Convenience: 2/10
- Overall: 32/50