Monday, August 17, 2009

August 5-8, 2009: Brisbane

A brief work trip to Brisbane gave me a great opportunity to take a quick run through the vego scene there. It's booming, with two new veg-only lunch places popping up in the CBD since I'd last visited. First up, VegeRama (1/300 Queen Street, weekday lunches only). It's basically a vegie hot box place, with a wide selection of curries, stir-fries and other treats to choose from. I couldn't go past the burger (which was vegan) - a marinated tofu pattie, with a satay/hummus sauce, grated carrot and beetroot, and other salady bits and pieces on a wholemeal bun ($8 ). It's pretty tasty, but maybe a little pricey for what is really a very simple sandwich. Still, the remaining options at VegeRama looked worthy of investigation, and it's fantastic to see a veg place sitting in a food court amongst all the other horrors.

The second new place in town is the Sanitarium Kitchen (145 Eagle Street), run by the folks who produce all of this stuff. Given the amount of faux meat they churn out, I was expecting a cafe that was high on sausage and bacon-based dishes, but Sanitarium are shooting for something with broader appeal: sandwiches, pastas, curries and tagines, along with their signature dish (and my lunch order), Spanish bean quesadilla ($12).

Inevitably this was a little disappointing - my lunch-time Mexican standards have been raised too high by Trippytaco. The filling was a little on the bland side and, while the sauces were nice enough, a bit of zing was missing. Perhaps I should have ordered something else - Sanitarium was overrun when I visited, with almost all the tables full and a queue of takeaway customers snaking out the door. It's worth noting that the menu doesn't provide any help for vegans, and from all reports Sanitarium aren't trying particularly hard to cater for a vegan audience, which seems like a pretty poor oversight to me.

With the new boys out of the way, it was time to return to some old favourites. Kuan Yin (198 Wickham St, Fortitude Valley) is possibly the best value mock-meat restaurant in Australia. For $10, I got this:

The 'combo' ('fish', 'chicken' and 'pork' I think), comes in one of their cute bento boxes, with all kinds of delicious sides. Throw in a lychee bubble tea, and you've got a delicious and affordable treat. Their hours are a bit weird - I think they close at 8pm most nights - but no trip to Brisbane is complete without a quick visit.

Saturday morning saw me trudging through Oxley Creek Common (highlights: black-shouldered kite, brown quail, scarlet honeyeater), and then swinging past the West End Markets to get some fried breakfast from Ykillamoocow (West End Markets, Davies Park - Saturdays 8am-2pm).

For $7 I wandered off with a dagwood dog and a no bull pie (both vegan). The pies are fantastic - only bettered by the homemade version (I'd rate them slightly above La Panella), and the dagwood dog was pretty great as well (let's face it, I was just excited to be eating a vegie dagwood dog). The markets themselves have changed since we used to live nearby - lots more stalls in seemingly less space = a very crowded morning.

Finally, it was time for a visit to an old favourite: Govinda's (99 Elizabeth Street). It's Krishna food, but it's Krishna food done well and done cheaply (between $6 and $10 all you can eat).

Throw in a run of four straight sunny days with temperatures in the mid-twenties, and it's enough to make you think about moving back...


  1. Yay - I wasn't sure if Ykillamoocow survived the corporate takeover of the West End Markets... I hadn't heard of VegeRama - must try!!!!

  2. Hey guys you should come check out the small selection of vego and vegan places here in Sydney. Newtown is the sort of hub of veganism here, and it's got some awesome restaraunts and grocers.

    Just stumbled onto your blog. I get all giddy when I find a new good food blog, especially a vegetarian one! Good work :D

  3. Ooooo...

    ...all of that food looks sooo good!

    PS Great blog!

  4. It all looks pretty awesome :D

  5. Glad you had a good time up here and found good food. Here in Brisbane, we drool with envy over all the lovely Melbourne veg*n options that you keep showing.

    Aren't the dagwood dogs a blast from the (omni, crappy show-food) past?! Amazing what you can do with a vege-dog and batter.

  6. Amy the first, I can confirm it myself - I stopped by for a dagwood dog last Saturday! Oh yes, BrisVegan, they are a lot of fun (and so fitting now, 'round Ekka time)!

    JD, Will - thanks for stopping by. :-)

    Amy the second, glad you've enjoyed your visit. :-) We've been to Sydney a couple of times, but have not yet done Newtown justice - would love to check out Naked Espresso and Green Gourmet especially!

  7. Better than La Panella's Preston pies? BETTER? This requires independent verification, stat. I'll be there in September. Inter-state pie-off!

  8. Lisa, since you'll be in the area, check out the pies at the Forest too (really close to Avid Reader... and they do tofu cheesecake!). Probably not better than La Panella's, but important for a comprehensive inter-state pie-off. :-)

  9. Hi, We go to the West End markets fairly regularly and get 6 cold "no bull pies" for $20 every few weeks. They make a fantastic dinner heated up at home and served with some sweet potato/potato mash, honey carrots and the green veg of your choice. The stall also has great samosas too that come with a duo of delicious sauces. I haven't tried their "not such a dagwood dog's" (their official name) but am planning to at some stage. Another great place to go in Bris is The Loving Hut - heaps of veg and mock meat dishes and very affordable, it's on Logan Road at Mt Gravatt.

    1. Welcome, Wendy! Yep, we've got our eye on Loving Hut and are keen to check it out when we have enough time on a future Brisbane visit.