One of our favourite Melbourne-based food bloggers and Instagrammers, Kitch Catterall (aka @soybabie_) is helping us get the New Year off to a healthier start by sharing her favourite plant-based cafes and eateries in Melbourne. And, she’s thrown in a few of her forever-faves from her hometown of Perth, too! For more delicious inspiration for vegan and plant-based living, check out @soybabie on Instagram.
Melbourne is well-known across Australia as being a vegan hot spot, with a number of amazing exclusively-vegan restaurants on offer. Narrowing down a ‘best-of-the-best’ list is incredibly hard, so make sure to follow me on Instagram to see more of my favourites. Here are just a few of my must-tries:
High Street, Northcote
From the plant studded, open space café front with beautiful mismatched wooden seating, to the beautifully crafted menu, this place is a tranquil, healthy haven. I love that the menu offers optional superfoods and herbal medicines that can be added to meals and drinks. They also have a fridge full of delicious, house-made raw vegan cakes that feature interesting twists such as raw pannacotta. Shoku Iku is situated almost directly opposite Terra Madre, an amazing health food mecca that is 100% worth a visit.
Shanklin has one of the most lovely team of staff I’ve ever come across. I received a big warm welcome upon entering, and the wait staff were so attentive and I didn’t even have to make eye contact with them to try and urge them to take my order. As for the food, Shanklin offers a great menu with a lovely mix of both uber healthy bowls, salads and toasts, and some more decadent meals for those who feel like a treat. They also have fresh juices, smoothies, great coffee and some superfood lattes as well.
This humble little hole-in-the-wall has been a staple for me between work and Uni — you can’t beat a vegan jaffle for under $10! Union Kiosk has recently transitioned from being vegan-friendly to 100% vegan, with a great menu of both savoury and sweet jaffles, including a Vego Bar jaffle! The staff are always so kind and happy to have a chat. They also have a little selection of changing vegan cakes such as vegan lamingtons, brownies and cookies. The couple who own Union Kiosk are lovely, down to earth and radiate happy energy with an ethos that focuses on making wholesome, comfort food and sending out good vibes.
Mary Miller Café
One of my absolute favourites! Tucked away in the middle of a beautiful residential street in Fitzroy North, Mary Miller has a cozy yet bright and airy décor, with plants hanging from every corner. The service is always great with a menu that changes with the seasons. My favourite dish is the vegan pop chicken burger, which is so realistic that I had to keep asking my meat-eating friend to confirm it was indeed faux chicken! All the food is fresh with a great balance of wholefood nutrients and a touch of indulgence. Mary Miller also supports a mix of small local suppliers, from the Husk cups made from coffee grounds, to their superfood latte blends.
Tonic & Grace
Located in Melbourne’s south side, Tonic & Grace is a lovely, light and airy café with a beautiful and unique menu. Offering a departure from the all-too-familiar, Tonic & Grace take what you’d perhaps expect to see on menus elsewhere and reinvent it with their own twist. My favourite meal here is the vegan chocolate pancakes, with coconut cream, fresh fruits, coconut and edible flowers to decorate. However, everything we have tried here has been delicious. Highly recommend!
Smith & Deli
A crowd favourite and renowned vegan destination, Smith & Deli is the around-the-corner lunchtime extension of Brunswick Street’s celebrated vegan restaurant, Smith & Daughters. The deli is as exactly what you would hope for from a vegan reinvention of the classic sandwich deli: specialising in comfort food and classic combinations using mock meats and tofu supplemented for eggs. They also sell a great variety of vegan produce to take home such as ice creams, cheeses, frozen meals, snacks and sauces. I’d absolutely recommend it for both vegan and none vegans alike, as it is such a pinnacle in Melbourne.
Another great spot in Hawthorn, this quaint little cafe is easily accessed on the 48 tram from the City. My absolute favourite thing on the menu is their Vegan and Gluten Free Oreo waffle. The dish does include Oreo cookies (which contain palm oil), so not something everyone will be comfortable with. However, if you are willing to let that go and indulge in some incredible waffles that don’t otherwise contain animal products, then these are a must. They’re super crispy and soft in the middle, dripping in a delicious berry compote and loads of other yummy goodies like frozen coconut yoghurt. Sardi also offers great smoothies, coffee and plenty of other vegan options for sweet and savoury lovers alike!
And lastly, a little shout out to my original home of Perth for still having some AMAZING vegan eats available, too. It’s been a while since I’ve eaten at these places so I won’t list any specific dishes but if you’re in Perth, or visiting, and looking for great vegan fare, try one of these spots:
- Roho Bure: Vegan ice cream in Fremantle. Absolutely amazing!
- Flora & Fauna: Vegan café in Northbridge, homemade cakes and wholesome café food
- Little Bird Café: Northbridge café with a great variety of vegan options and vegan cakes
- Varsity Burgers: Chain restaurant with locations all over WA. This American-style burger and football joint has vegan options for every category on the menu like pizzas, hot dogs, loaded fries and burgers, so you can enjoy binge eating session alongside your non-vegan friends
- Raw Kitchen: located in Fremantle, Raw Kitchen is a definite a must-dine. It is a beautiful warehouse space dedicated to food as medicine, with an amazing eco shop at the front for all of your waste-free essentials. The food is cooked by vegan speciality chefs and is definitely some of the best plant-based, whole food vegan eats I’ve ever had. It’s a little more on the pricey side, but is worth every penny — great for birthdays or special occasions.