We had poorly thought through dinner plans with AOF and Lisa on Saturday night, and found ourselves flapping about trying to come up with a venue late in the afternoon. After finding a few more hyped up places booked up, we ended up going for Madame K's in Fitzroy. We called ahead and booked a table before turning up, which turned out to be wise - it's pretty full on a Saturday night. It's a lovely place, with a stylish blue fit-out and a massive and varied menu.
We decided that the best way to sample from the menu was to share dishes, so we ordered three starters and three mains between the four of us. The starters (from left: Japanese spiced tofu with salad and vegan wasabi mayo, $11.90; steamed wontons with mushroom, mashed potato and water chestnut, $7.90; pan-fried chive dumplings, $6.90) were excellent, with each of them named as somebody's favourite. The chive dumplings probably won it for me, although the wasabi mayo that came with the tofu was the pick of the condiments.
We mixed up the mains as well, starting with the prik khing (stir-fried crispy tofu with red curry paste, beans capsicum and chili, $15.90).
I love the way Madame K's loads their dishes up with veggies - this was full of fresh capsicum, zucchini and snow peas with a few spongy bits of tofu to really soak up the mild curry sauce.
We embraced the mock-meat with our other two mains - the nasi goreng ($16.90) comes with skewers of satay 'chicken' and mock prawns.
I really liked this - the rice was nicely fried and the satay sauce hit just about the right balance between spicy and sweet.
Our final main was Thai spicy salad (spicy and sour salad with musrhroom made lamb, fresh herbs, lemon juice, lemongrass, fresh chili, cucumber, tomato and green salad, $15.90).
This was the spiciest dish of the night - I've been disappointed by overly mild Thai salads at loads of places, so it's nice to get one that cranks things up a bit. The 'lamb' wasn't to everybody's tastes, but the fresh veggies and sharp dressing more than made up for it (for the record: I was pro-lamb, as I'm pro- almost every kind of mock meat).
We somehow found room for dessert, and Cindy and I split a black sticky rice with lychees and (soy) ice-cream ($10.90).
We've more often sampled black sticky rice at breakfast, but the addition of ice-cream was enough to make this desserty. It's not the most exciting dessert in the world (no chocolate for starters), but it was a warm and satisfying end to an excellent meal.
Madame K is a reasonably safe bet in the veg-heavy northern end of Brunswick St (where it competes with The Vegie Bar, Yong and Lord of the Fries). We've had patchy service in the past, but things ran pretty smoothly on this busy Saturday night, so they might have got themselves organised these days. If forced to choose I'd tend to favour Yong, but Madame K's provides a bit of variation and is well worth a visit.
Read our previous reviews of Madame K's here and here. How I See It, A pretty health life and veganopolous have all enjoyed their visits since our last blog post, while Mel: Hot or Not was less impressed.
Madame K's Vegetarian
367 Brunswick St, Fitzroy
snacks & mains $4.90-16.90
Accessibility: There's a small step up on entry and tables are quite densely laid out. We ordered at the table and paid at a medium-high counter at the back. We didn't visit the toilets.