Friday, January 15, 2010

January 9, 2010: Plush Pizza

It's been remiss of us to only make it to Hawthorn's Plush Pizza now for the first time. Actually, it's been remiss of Melbourne's entire veg*n blogosphere not to blog it more often - I've only been able to find two reviews, both of them from 2007. Plush has a lot going for it - the menu boasts 19 vegetarian pizza topping combinations, they're willing to veganise just about all of them and they offer gluten-free bases (although I hear that these aren't great). They're right on the #75 tram line and while they've a few seats for eating in, St James Park is a short stroll down the street with a gourmet beer purveyor on the way (just take a bottle opener if you want much choice).

And for all that, they turn out some damn fine pizzas (thank goodness!). Michael couldn't resist the Hothead (pictured above, $15.80), and had the veganised version with tomato sauce, 'mozzarella', tomato, capsicum, vegetarian sausage, fried tofu, jalapenos, tobasco sauce, parsley and spices. This was sufficiently spicy that Michael advised me not to try it. Alternatively, it may have been so delicious that he didn't want to share it. I did, at least, get to try a chunk of the vegan cheese. It was pleasant, if bland - if I were going vegan I'd probably request no cheese rather than paying out extra for the fake stuff.

I ordered the Barbecue pizza ($15), layered up with tomato sauce, mozzarella, baby spinach, red onion, vegetarian sausage, roast potato, barbecue sauce and shaved parmesan. It was THE BUSINESS. The barbecue sauce was super-smoky, the roast potato chunks were gorgeously tender and caramelised and the spinach and light hand with the cheese kept it tasting reasonably fresh. The only downer here is that the barbecue sauce contains honey, so isn't vegan-friendly.

Most of the menu items feature a similarly high number of toppings but they look thoughtfully composed - I'm looking forward to trying the Aztec, Potato Swoon, Satay Sublime and Tom Yum pizzas, as well as testing Plush on the sparser classics like garlic, margherita and pesto. And if Plush's ideas don't appeal, they also offer extra toppings of your choice for a price - you could probably build up almost anything you wanted from their margherita.

The bases were good stuff, too - quite thin and crisp, but with enough substance to support the toppings. They're not up to the high standard of, say, I Carusi, but they certainly edge out the typcial takeaway competition, such as Crust. If only they did home delivery!

Edit 10/07/11: Sadly, Plush Pizza has closed - Melbourne veg community will miss it terribly.

Address: 85 Burwood Rd, Hawthorn
Ph: 9819 1188
Price: veg pizzas $6-$21, vegan cheese 50c-$1 extra


  1. Plush is pretty amazing, unfortunately the wrong side of town for me though! I agree about vegan cheese, I don't usually miss it if I get a pizza without. That said, I couldn't imagine orering an Eat Pizza without the vegan cheese!

  2. Not really offical reviews, but I have blogged about plush here: and I'm sure one other time where I raved about having pesto with satay together and Theresa blogged about it here:

    I tend to be slack with places that I frequent though, I guess because it feels like old news.

  3. Loved plush when we went! Coming from the sticks, the idea of gourmet pizza is such a novelty to me, and gourmet pizza with vegan cheese is just a bit mind blowing. I lurved all of the mushroom&dill, Ben Specials, and various other 'specials' that Kristy and Toby and Tim and Caroline and Dan had formulated. So yummy.

  4. love the sound of the pizza but hawthorn is so far away - sigh!

  5. You had me at "tabasco sauce". Love that stuff!

    Please go back and try the Tom Yum pizza - I do enjoy living vicariously through you :D

  6. Oh, the Potato Swoon is excellent, I partook in some just last week. Even the margherita veganised is great. I love Plush, and if I wasn't somewhat allergic to avocado, I'd eat the Ben Special every day.

  7. Lisa, you're right - the vegan cheese is a big part of Eat Pizza's pepperoni slice.

    Thanks for the links, Kristy! Strangely they didn't turn up in my Google searches.

    Theresa, Johanna & Hannah - it is sadly a bit of a distance, isn't it? (For some of us more than others. :-D) But I think it's worth the double-tram ride, if not a journey of 100s of kilometres.

    Avocado allergy, Fiona? Oh, that is rough.

  8. thank god richmond is on the 75 tram line. ben special = pretty much the best pizza i've ever eaten in my life, and consistently so.

  9. Satay and Tom Yum are class. You would loooooooooooooooooooooove Ben's Special, Cindy.

  10. Heh, I'm getting strong Ben Special vibes from y'all. :-)

  11. Hi Cindy.

    Yeah, you definitely have to try the Ben Special, it's my favourite. (It is mildly spicy, and is finished with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar, so you'd have to keep those in mind if you're opposed to either.) The Chunky is also very good.

    Are you sure that what you tried from the Hothead was vegan cheese? Plush are fairly sparing with the Cheezly, so if it was something that was any kind of "chunk" it may well have been a sliver of fried tofu rather than vegan cheese - which would explain its blandness!

    Also, as a Hawthorn local, I wanted to point out that in addition to being on the #75 tram line, Plush is only about three minutes' walk from Hawthorn train station, and as trains are faster than trams, you'd be shaving about 10 minutes off of your travelling time (from the city) by taking the train. :)

  12. Hi Joanne! I'm pretty sure it was 'cheese' - somewhat chunky but sparingly distributed across the pizza. Thanks for the advice re: public transport - Michael offered the train as an option but I insisted on tramming it for some reason. :-)

  13. I Ben Special'ed it on the way to a party the other night - even my brother (for whom it's a big allergy no-no) said it filled the car with a heavenly smell. My other go-to is the Leaf Eater - light but tasty. I go the Satay if I want to get stuffed. My friend once ate a Hothead by himself and didn't fare well for it.

    I must confess after getting addicted to EatPizza (check out Krisy's photo on their pinboard) and Nostralis' garlic pizza, I'd forgotten how good Plush is if you've got the $$$.


  14. Thanks for the tips, Bec. We still haven't been to Nostralis, though I'm keen - it's even further away than Hawthorn for us!