Update 31/12/2014: Discobeans has moved from Northcote to 539 Plenty Rd, Preston, but is still run by the same people and still offers vegan friendly Japanese food.
We spent Saturday night in Northcote with friends, revisiting a couple of the neighbourhood's most veg-friendly (& coeliac-friendly!) restaurants. For dinner we hit Discobeans. In contrast to our previous visit we found a table with ease, this time upstairs in their licensed gallery section. With couches, a fireplace and drawings all over the walls, it felt more like a mate's loungeroom than a restaurant.
Michael and I were itching to try the tempeh and chive dumplings from the specials board ($9.50). The serving was pretty and generous, though a little disappointing in the flavour stakes - these morsels had been fried too long, and didn't taste distinctly of either of the feature ingredients. They were a nice appetiser but not the amazing one we'd geared up for.
From there I just kept on snacking, eating the same marinated avocado yu-kke ($8.50, not pictured) and mock meat with soy mayo sauce ($6) that I ordered last time. These were bang on - so fresh, with crunchy and tender and chewy textures in all the right places, hot and cold contrasting nicely, perfectly seasoned. The mock meat got a little rich by the end - a lesson for me to be less greedy and more sharing next time.
Michael tested out the sukiyaki udon with tempeh ($11.50) and wasn't really wowed - he was looking for more vegetables and punchy condiments.
We thoroughly enjoyed the lower-key atmosphere on this non-event night at Discobeans. Though not all dishes impressed, the ones that work really work. And that an omni Japanese restaurant caters so well to veg*ns and coeliacs is more impressive still.
You can read about our previous visit to Discobeans here. We haven't spotted any more blog reviews since then.
238 High St, Northcote
veg snacks and mains $3.50-$13.50
Accessibility: This is a terrace-style retail space with a narrow door. Stairs and narrow passages lead to the art space/bar and toilets. Upstairs, orders are taken at the table, then paid for at a high counter. Table spacing is average.