Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Cafe la Terra

Update January 10, 2013: Cafe la Terra has closed down.

Michael and I stumbled on Cafe la Terra during our Monday wanderings, noticing the word 'vegetarian' featuring prominently on their signage and a menu of cheap Vietnamese meals stuck to the window. We stopped by for a meal the following evening, refueling between bands at what will probably go down as our gig of the year (sorry, Pulp) - the reformation of Snout, in honour of the Tote's 30th and Wally Meanie's 44th birthdays.

Contrary to our initial impression, Cafe la Terra is neither 100% vegetarian nor 100% Vietnamese. There's also a substantial list of breakfast-themed sandwiches, some of which contain meat. The lunch and dinner menu looks meatless (and largely vegan-friendly); Vietnamese style meals and drinks feature prominently but give way to pasta dishes and milkshakes further down. Nothing costs more than $10.50, and at $4.50 each our coconut juices almost seemed expensive.

I started out with a samosa ($3), handmade and stuffed with tender vegetables.

Michael shied away from the 'tofu country and steam rice', which is cooked in Napoli sauce, and ordered the curry vegetables and rice ($9.50). It was simple and hearty.

Having done a little blog research during the day, I chose the steamed spring rolls ($6.50) and was really impressed. The veges were cooked perfectly, soft but not squidgy, all of them retaining their distinct flavours. With a little sweet soy sauce poured over, I didn't spare a thought for their supposedly-tastier deep-fried cousins.

Eating at Cafe la Terra is almost like visiting a welcoming stranger's home. The dining area felt like a cluttered loungeroom, the food was modest but tasty, and the staff were lovely.

Fashion Rebel wrote a positive review of Cafe la Terra earlier this year. You May Call Me Frank recounts a bad experience three years ago; we don't know if the cafe is still under the same management.

Cafe la Terra
corner of Johnston and Campbell Sts, Collingwood
9032 2929
veg snacks and meals $3-9.50

Accessibility: This cafe has a small step on entry. There are tables outside on a wide footpath; the interior is quite cluttered but the tables appear reasonably spaced. We ordered and paid at a low-ish counter.


  1. Oh I used to walk past there all the time, never went in though. Argh I miss Melbourne. Just found your blog, am loving it (but it makes me angry as I am jealous of all that delicious food available EVERYWHERE in Melbs)

  2. Those straws are wacky! The interior looks really friendly and happy, and it's great that they have lots of vegan options.

    Actually, looking at the photo again, I've walked past that place a bunch of times and never bothered to check out the menu. I will have to try it out soon.

  3. I like cheap and cheerful places like this, I'll have to check it out sometime. The steamed vegie rolls look great.

  4. Oh! Is this the place with the 'everything inside is for sale' sign outside? I've had juices here before a gig, and keep meaning to visit for the food.

  5. That curry looks amazing! I want it in my belly RIGHT. NOW.

    P.s. I have added you guys to my links page. I noticed that there's been some people who have found my blog through you and thought I'd share the love :)

  6. Thanks Lou! Even if you're no longer in Melbourne, we can still trade recipes. :-)

    Louise - I've never previously taken much notice of this bit of Johnston St either. I'm glad we ventured in, though.

    leaf - while I haven't tried the entire menu, I've got a sneaking suspicion those steamed rolls might be the best thing on it!

    Steph, I didn't notice that particular sign but it could be! There were... a lot of painted words about.

    AppetiteAffliction - thanks for the link love! Glad we're sending a few new readers your way. :-)