Cindy and I headed to St Kilda on Thursday evening for the rather excellent Cherchez La Femme 'Feministmas' shindig. Theoretically, this gave us the chance to sample some of the hip and happening restaurants in the neighbourhood, but neither of us really had any idea what they might be. Instead, we decided to rectify a ludicrous gap in our blogging history - we'd been in Melbourne for more than seven years and had still never visited Veg Out Time. Finally, we thought, we'll be able to tick it off.
Except that we seem to have been beaten to the punch - the old Veg Out is gone, replaced by a Thai place. Luckily, just a few doors down is Veggie Time, a restaurant that seems to be a continuation of Veg Out - it's got the same mix of hotbox and made to order dishes, a similar menu, even some of the same furniture. We haven't been able to confirm that it's the same people running it, but it seems pretty likely.
The hotbox dishes are pretty appealing, with a nice mix of curries, vegetable dishes and tofu.
I went for the meal deal - $9.50 gets you a plate with rice and two dishes. The black pepper tofu was excellent - the tofu dense and well marinated and the sauce bright and spicy. The lemongrass tofu was a bit less exciting - with sweetness overpowering the chilli/lemongrass flavours I was hoping for. Still, it's a hearty meal for an excellent price.
The a la carte menu revolves a bit more around salads and noodles - there's pad thai ($11), char kway teow ($11), laksa ($11) and so forth. Almost everything is vegan, although some of the noodle dishes have optional egg. Cindy was intrigued by the idea of a vegetarian prawn salad ($8.50).
This turned out to be a bit less exciting than I was hoping - it was basically a big bowl of garden salad (everything below the top layer in the photo above was leafy greens) topped off with a couple of prawns fashioned out of tofu skin stuffed with a tofu and veggie mix (and possibly a tiny bit of mock meat). It came with a peanutty dipping sauce for the prawns and a vinaigrette for the salad. On the whole, this was a bit heavy on the greens and a bit light on the prawns, but it was cheap and healthy and had enough novelty to be fun.
Veggie Time isn't doing anything very innovative or exciting, but they're a great option among all the mediocrity of Fitzroy Street - fast, tasty and with loads of options, it's definitely worth a visit next time you venture down to the beach.
There are a couple of reviews of the old St Kilda Veg Out Time around (e.g. here and here), but nobody seems to have visited Veggie Time as yet.
49 Fitzroy Street, St Kilda
No phone listed anywhere that I can find
veg dishes $8.50-$12
Accessibility: There's a small step as you enter (although there are also outdoor tables at street level). Things are reasonably spread out inside, with a mix of low and high tables. You order and pay at a low counter. We didn't visit the toilets.