We've been intending to revisit Transformer for breakfast or lunch ever since our dinner visit way back in April. Somehow though we've failed, lazily opting for Wide Open Road or finding ourselves at Smith and Daughters instead. So it was with much enthusiasm that we join Steph, Hayley and a big vego crew for a breakfast meet-up early one Saturday morning. The space is just as impressive in the daytime as it was at night - lots of greenery, a beautiful high ceiling and a pretty relaxed vibe. It was surprisingly quiet, actually, given the shit-fight that breakfast in Fitzroy usually entails.
The menu is short - just six dishes, three of which are vegan or veganisable (half of the menu is GF as well). I went with the savoury Indian crumpet with toasted corn, avocado, cherry tomatoes, quinoa, eggplant chutney and coconut yoghurt ($18) but ruined its vegan-ness by taking up the optional poached egg added on top (+$3).
This is the kind of thing that Transformer does so well, with their slightly fancy and original take on vego food. The crumpet is thick and soft, perfect for slathering with chutney, avo, yoghurt or eggy goodness. There's a nice mix of textures and flavours (although the quinoa feels like a slightly pointless addition) and it's a decent sized dish, leaving me pretty stuffed.
Cindy inevitably chose the buckwheat and wild rice hotcakes, with coffee cacao ganache, mascarpone, date syrup and snap-dried mandarin ($18).
This was the visual highlight of the meal and there were strong arguments made around the table that a vegan version of this is a crucial addition to Transformer's menu. The hotcakes were thick and cakey - noticeably gluten-free, but not in a bad way. The trimmings were where things really went up a notch though - the dried mandarins adding tartness and crunch and the impossibly rich ganache making this a breakfast dessert to remember.
Transformer is a winning breakfast option in Fitzroy - it caters well to vegans and coeliacs, getting a table doesn't involve queuing, and the standard of food is high. Prices are similarly high, but I don't think anyone around the table was unimpressed by the price:quality ratio. Coffee is decent without being memorable, and the Barry White-heavy Saturday morning soundtrack was a great way to kick the weekend off. We'll be back.
There has been a steady stream of positive reviews since our first visit - see Gourmet Chick, What's My Scene?, EightHrs, Oh My Goodness, I'm So Hungree, The Baroness of Melbourne and Veganopoulous.
99 Rose St, Fitzroy
Accessibility: The entry is wide and with a shallow ramp. Tables are well spaced, a mix of mid-height tables with booths and backed chairs, plus higher tables with backless bar stools. There's full table service. The toilets are highly accessible - individual unisex cubicles with marked wheelchair and ambulent options.