Wednesday, November 18, 2015

A Fan's Notes

November 14, 2015

We've been angling for a visit to A Fan's Notes since our friend Will talked it up as a super vegan-friendly addition to the strip of cafes on Nicholson Street in Carlton North. We were too early for them a week ago, so we took no chances on Saturday and wandered up for a late lunch.

It's a cluttered little cafe, immediately winning me over with posters of The Chills and The Clean, along with an impressive bookshelf and general scruffy-hipster vibe. The menu is full of vegetarian and vegan options, with five vegan or veganisable dishes (an enchilada and a quesadilla along with the scrambled tofu, bircher and burrito discussed below) and another five vegetarian dishes across the brunch and lunch menus. Coeliacs are also well catered for, with six dishes to choose from.

I was almost lured in by the vegan scrambled tofu, with polenta, asparagus, burnt eggplant, roast peppers and snow peas ($17), but instead went with the vegan option on the black bean burrito, hoping they'd replace the scrambled egg with scrambled tofu. Sadly they don't, but you still get a ludicrously fat burrito, stuffed with a slightly smoky black-bean mix and slathered in avocado, a corn and tomato salsa and accompanied by a pile of crispy kale chips ($17).

There are about forty different hot sauces to choose from as well - you can see the bottle of Tasmanian pepper sauce just in the edge of the picture above. I was deeply impressed by my meal - it's not super complicated, but it's executed well, is a mountain of food and was goddamn delicious. 

The sweet side of the menu is not quite as exciting as the savoury, with Cindy limited to either a vegan bircher, with apple and sweet dukkah ($11), or this slightly terrifying banana French toast, with pistachio cream, smoked sugar and rum syrup ($16 - the original dish has bacon, I'm not sure whether the price changes when it's omitted).

Long-time readers will know my feelings on bananas, and this was pretty much my nightmare: some sort of banana bread, with a soggy cooked banana draped across it. Ugh. Cindy was more accepting of the strong banana flavour and pudding texture, but even she was feeling some order envy as she looked at the varied savoury plates around her. 

A Fan's Notes is a great addition to the Brunswick brunch scene - its vegan-friendly savoury dishes are particularly noteworthy. There's decent coffee, friendly staff and great music on the stereo - we'll definitely be back.

The only previous review of A Fan's Notes that I could dig up was this short and positive write-up at Gluttony Fair.


A Fan's Notes
787 Nicholson St, Carlton North
9943 8373
brunchy, lunchy, drinks
facebook page

Accessibility: There's a flat entry way to a slightly crowded interior. You order at the table and pay at a high counter. We didn't visit the toilets.

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