As well as a full cooked breakfast, Matt was keen to re-experience Australia's pub scene. Of course we took him to our favourite, the Fox Hotel. There was plenty of room for us in the upstairs beer garden on a Thursday evening.
Michael had us sharing a plate of the mushroom and tofu gyoza ($10) to kick things off. These were surely never going to live up to Matt's Tokyo gyoza experiences and unfortunately didn't even live up to my previous Fox gyoza experience - the dumpling skins were a bit thick and undercooked. This was a minor complaint though - they were pretty good all up and again I appreciated the accompanying greens.
For his main meal, Michael tried the crispy battered salt and pepper tofu with green papaya salad ($17). They sure got the crispy batter right (again, I hope the Edinburgh Castle is taking notes). The green papaya salad was a refreshing partner but had none of the chilli heat Michael's enjoyed in green papaya salads elsewhere.
I had a shot at the whole field mushroom lasagne with three cheeses and spinach ($17, served with chips and salad). Like vege stacks, lasagne is a common bland token to vegetarians on restaurant menus and with three cheeses promised, there was some risk of receiving a plate of congealed gloop. But this lasagne had already earned positive reviews on Eat More Vegies and MEL: HOT OR NOT and they weren't wrong - this is an excellent dish for mushroom lovers. Its dark colouring in that photo is all you need to know about the rich depth of fungi flavour here. I happily dragged my chips through the juices and saved the salad 'til last.
We've very nearly covered the full range of vegetarian mains offered at the Fox. It really is something, that it would take two of us 5-6 visits to do so. And with the seasons shifting at the moment, there's half a chance that the menu will be revised again soon anyway. We'll be there to test it out when it happens.
The Fox Hotel
351 Wellington St, Collingwood
veg entrees $5-17, veg mains $16-17
Accessibility: There's a small step at entry level. Several of the indoor rooms (and probably the ground level outdoor space) have widely spaced tables; the beer garden is up a narrow staircase with rail. All orders are taken and paid for at the high bar. Toilets are at ground level.