It's been a long time since Michael and I have dropped by the Vegie Bar (probably more than a year!) but it was a convenient location to share dinner with Kristy and Toby, Rachel and Buzz after attending the Neon Pilgrim book launch. Even without our regular patronage the Vegie Bar is doing just fine, thank you very much; we just barely managed to get a table on this Wednesday night.
The menu doesn't seem to have changed much, though this restaurant should be commended for the extensive rotating list of specials scrawled on the walls. This was where Michael selected his dish of chilli tofu, served on brown rice (~$12, pictured below). He commented that we'd be able to make this at home but this didn't diminish his enjoyment of the meal, particularly the dried chillis.
After much umming and aahing, I went for the tempeh burger with a side of chips (~$10, pictured top). These proportions and price were just my style - generous chippage with a modestly-portioned burger and plenty of fresh veges.
Though we might claim to be Vegie Bar veterans, this was our first stab at dessert. Others have suggested that dessert is what the Vegie Bar does best, so this has been quite an oversight! There's usually about half a dozen items in the display case and they are not for the faint-hearted - the servings are HUGE. Michael and I shared a super-fudgy slice of sticky date pudding, warmed so that its butterscotch topping melted in a languid pool, and accompanied by two large scoops of vanilla icecream ($8). It was a delicious challenge between two and would surely mean imminent death for the brave soul who tried to eat it on their own!
Via the others at our table, I also scored tastes of the flourless chocolate cake (more sweet rich density) and a comparatively light vegan chocolate cake (pictured above) - though I could detect hints of tofu, Kristy loved it.
This was one of our better Vegie Bar experiences even if it wasn't perfect. It's a relentlessly rowdy environment; the menu is extensive if not creative and the specials board adds some novelty. The food's cheap and cheerful, and though the portion sizes are unpredictable they are usually generous, sometimes gut-bustingly so. Service is erratic but friendly - the staff made several mistakes at our table during our visit but each time corrected the error with a smile and an apology.