Melbourne Vegan Eats Part 2
May 29th, 2018 | 4 minutes to read
In my last post I wrote a few places to have your vegan appetite satisfied, in this one I will cover another two. Those are the ones we found available during Christmas holiday, which was a difficult time to find special food.
Gopals Pure Vegetarian
When we were in Melbourne it was around Christmas, so we found a few vegetarian restaurants that we planned to visit were all closed. We were disappointed and hungry, and found Gopals in the nearby area to our rescue. In order not to get disappointed again, we did call them. And they answered cheerfully that they opened until late.
It is located quite close to the city center, on the street opposite of the St.Paul’s Cathedral. It wasn’t facing the street though, so you had to check the sign hanging under the celling. After three floors of stairs, we landed ourselves on the second floor, where the restaurants is.
The decoration is rather simple. On one side you have walls with round black boards featuring the meal sets, under that it’s the food counter. On the other side there was couches, tables and chairs. There are tables and chairs in the middle areas too. However, my favorite place is the tall windows, painted in white, you can sit here and eat while admiring the green leaves just outside. A few painting were hanging on the wall, together with the warm light in round glasses, it gives a spacey, cozy yet simple ambiance.
Food is served behind the counter. A few Indian curries, one Thai tofu curry, samosas, koftas etc as hot dish, and a few salads as cold dishes. We chose the Vegan meal deal which includes two types of hot dishes, two kinds of salads, one dessert (you can choose between oat balls and sweet couscous) along with home-made drinks. We found that quite price-valued.
Thai tofu curry, kofta ball in tomato sauce, carrot and red beet salad, chickpea salad, chocolate oat ball, lime and mint drink.
Two indian curries with white beans, bean sprouts, red cabbage and spinage salad, chickpea salad, cardamom and vanilla ball, apple and wheat grass drink. And roti bread for both of us.
We found the food mild but flavored in the right balance, they’re all fresh and tasty. The food were in good portion so we ate ourselves very full. The chocolate oat ball reminded me so much of the Swedish Chokladbollar and I don’t mind having a second helping if I still had the space in my stomach haha! And soft drinks were pretty good too, especially the lime and mint one. It might be slightly too sweet for my taste, but it’s quite refreshing!
The staff were very friendly which made our order quite pleasantly. We had our meals next to the window and it was nice to eat under the green while observing the busy street downstairs.
We highly recommend Gopal’s as restaurant to go to when you’re in town in Melbourne. For inexpensive price, we got a very satisfied meal (including desert that we don’t need to pay extra) and friendly service.
- Address: 139 Swanston St, Melbourne VIC 3000, Australia
- Webiste: http://www.gopalspurevegetarian.com.au/
Gong De Lin Vegetarian
Gong De Lin 功德林，as you might guess, is a Chinese chain restaurant. I tried the Shanghai branch once but didn't go back, as Shanghai has so many other better offers. Here in Melbourne, especially in CBD, we don't have many vegan choices and we have been to Lord of the Fries and Gopals several times, so we finally decided to try this Chinese joint after a long afternoon of strolling around in the city botanic garden.
The restaurant is located on the 3rd floor of the building, near China Town, so it's only accessible by the lift. There are simple table, chairs and separated sofa style chairs, which are often seen in China. The atmosphere is warm, casual and relaxed. We were lucky to sit next to the window, where you can enjoy a bit CBD skyline and street. The only thing I dislike is that they also burn some incense there, which is understandable as they're an Buddhist inspired, although I found that a bit disturbing on my appetite as I don't like to associate the smell with cooked food together.
Menu caters a lot of mock meat dishes that are commonly seen in Chinese vegan/vegetarian restaurants. We were almost attempted to order our usual favorites, but I decided to try something new.
The Chinese title for our first dish (below, left bottom) is called Every Piece is a Treasure. The main ingredients are Lion's Mane mushroom chunks with macadamia nuts, together with carrot, cucumber and baby corns. Lion's Mane mushroom, also called Monkey's Head (猴头菇）in Chinese, is a common meat substitute in Chinese vegan dishes. The texture is tender and smooth yet a bit chewy. It has to be prepared well to bring out the wonderful flavor. Macadamia nuts are everywhere in Australia. So in a way I feel it's a nice dish that features its original taste and main ingredient while adding something local. The sauce is slightly light, but overall we also like this dish.
Judging from the two dishes we chose here, we would say it's a very pleasant dining experience. If you're curious about Chinese vegan dishes or want to impress your non-vegan friends in Melbourne, this could be a nice place to sample some.
We also tried another dish (below top right), hot and spicy Sichuan style mock chicken pieces stir-fry with sliced water chestnut, red paprika chunks, cubed carrots and cucumbers, red and green chilis. The mock chicken pieces were made of deep-fried extra firm tofu. Honey said water chestnut were presented only in Chinese cuisine in Chinese restaurants in Sweden, although it's not a common ingredient in China. The sauce was very authentic Sichuan style, hot chili pickles (泡椒) were used to add its particular flavor. If you don't tolerate very spicy food, be cautious when ordering this one then! Although it's also a bit spicy for us we do love this dish very much.
- Address: 3/264 Swanston St, Melbourne VIC 3000, Australia