Cindy and I spent Sunday morning grabbing a few bits and pieces for our new place on what was hopefully our final IKEA trip. We were buggered afterwards and our initial plan of lunch at Touchwood was torpedoed by a half hour long wait for a table. Luckily, I remembered that Cafe Azul was nearby and had a good rep for vego brekkies (thanks to a long ago recommendation from Joanne).
We nabbed a table in the front room (they have a courtyard as well) and perused the menu. It's very veg friendly, with some fairly standard eggy dishes, quesadilla rancheros, a veganisable burger and some salads. The drinks menu has a bit of variety as well - the wattleseed latte ($4.50) had Cindy immediately intrigued.
Cindy found the wattleseed latte an excellent non-coffee option, with enough spiciness and bitterness to be interesting. The coffee itself was fine without really knocking my socks off.
Food-wise, I was all about the tofu scramble with Spanish onion, capsicum, herbs, baby spinach and organic quinoa and soy toast ($16.90).
I was very impressed by this - the tofu was well seasoned, with turmeric and cumin providing a nice rich warmth. There were plenty of veggies as well, although the big glob of spinach was a bit much on its own and could have been combined with everything else a bit better. Still: a good scrambled tofu is a rare treat around Melbourne, and this was a very good one indeed.
Cindy had to order something sweet to go with her hot drink and her options were pretty limited. The ricotta hotcakes with salted caramel, pear, citrus chantilly cream and candied walnuts ($17) from the specials list were the only realistic option.
Everything was well prepared, but the whole dish was a bit heavy on the sugar - the cream was sweetened, the walnuts candied and the salted caramel super sweet. It all got a bit much by the end. A version of this that had plain roasted walnuts and regular thickened cream might have offered more contrast.
Cafe Azul is a reasonable option for veg*ns wandering Bridge Road - the staff were very clear about vegan vs vegetarian dishes (my scramble was vegan, but I think they'll butter your toast if you'd rather), the cabinet has vegan pies and a smattering of vegan sweets and the food is solid. The staff were pleasant and there was a quietly friendly atmosphere to the whole place. It's definitely worth a visit if you're in the area, but probably not somewhere you'd head across town for.
Pigging out around the world and Melbourne Din(n)ing Blog were pretty positive about Cafe Azul, while Bitch, I Like It Hot! was a bit more ambivalent.
346 Bridge Road, Richmond
veggie breakfast: $6 - $18.50
Accessibility: There's at most a small step on entry. Thing are pretty cramped, with most of the front room filled with tables. You order and pay at a medium high counter. We didn't visit the toilets.