For a couple of years my mates K and Worbit have screeched about the potato-based vegan nachos at some cafe in Sydney. While walking home from Maya Vegetarian we spotted Mad Spuds Cafe and I confirmed with K that they were the venue of said nachos. A walk back to the cafe made a nice break in my hotel-bound working Tuesday.
Mad Spuds Cafe is the kind of cute and slightly daggy cafe that reminds me of the places I ate out as a student - charmingly cluttered with furniture, potato-themed knick-knacks and postcard-sized pictures. The spud-centred menu didn't do much to dispel this feeling, filled as it was with big eggy breakfasts, burgers, 'chicken n avo' sandwiches, stacks and nachos. Nevertheless, this cafe has found its niche and been widely, regularly blogged for years. Their many vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options are labelled clearly.
The famed potato nachos ($15) are available in beefy, vegetarian and vegan versions. Unfortunately working towards the latter type seems to be a process of subtraction rather than substitution - other blogs show plates stacked with cheese, sour cream and chopped tomatoes, while my vegan-ordered potato skins and beans were topped with a just little guacamole and some garnishing sprouts. As nachos they looked underwhelming but as lunch they were delicious - the beans were sweet and filling, and the signature spud skins were crispy outside and waxy-tender inside with a very snackable seasoning. I methodically worked my way through the whole plate.
Staff were in high demand and inconsistently attentive, but got the job done. As I looked around at the other tables, meals looked brighter and less stodgy than I expected - I'd enjoy a chance to sample more.
Fellow veg*n blogger Vegangela loves Mad Spuds Cafe. The cafe has received widespread coverage and compliments from omni bloggers, see The Food Book, 2 Hungry Guys, Jenny Chews, Memoirs of a Foodie, A Hedonist's Love, Foodversation, Gondo's Kitchen, The Hungry FoodTech, AdjacentAngles' Food Adventures, polyphagia, Project Sweet Stuff, The Classic Styler, Eat Your Teacup, Fight the Craving, i'm sorry scale, Little Miss Tanya, The Hungry Engineers, Eat Show & Tell, My SeeFood Diet, My Little Yummy Food Blog, hello it's ming, cameras & cuisines, Indulging Gluttonous Urges, Crystal Noir, Constant Diner, jeroxie, Buggles and Squeak, ChococolateSuze, Juju Chews, The Brunch Club, The Food Pornographer, Potato Princess, confident liar, Oh Hey Sydney!, Gastronomous Anonymous and Love My Foods & Sugar.
Wordtography and Edesian Feast liked the food but thought it was pricey; eat sleep live repeat, The Chronicles of Hilda, Richard Elliott and food baby were also ambivalent.
Mad Spuds Cafe
479 Crown St, Surry Hills
(02) 9698 8108
menu front, breakfast, brunch & lunch, spuds, skins & salads, drinks, specials
Accessibility: There are a couple of steps up on entry (see photo above). Tables are crowded inside but have a clear pathway through the centre. I ordered at the table and paid at a low-ish counter. I didn't visit the toilets.