Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Vegerama II

November 29, 2014

I found myself in Brisbane for a quick work trip and stumbled across the freshly opened Vegerama restaurant in West End. Vegerama have been running a couple of food court hotbox-style places in the Brisbane CBD for more than five years (I visited one way back in 2009), but their new location in West End is a proper sit-down restaurant aiming for a more impressive experience. It's smack bang in the middle of the Boundary St/Melbourne St shopping strip and accessible via loads of great bus lines (and probably only a 20 minute walk from the CBD). Excuse the dodgy photos - I was caught short with just my phone to capture the experience.

The space is bright and airy, with a mix of exposed brick and wood panelling and some colourful tiles behind the big front counter. There're seats for about fifty people, including a few tables out on the street. The menu is a grab-bag of cuisines and touches on all the standard vego dishes - noodles, curries, burgers, pastas and stir-fries. It's mostly vegan, but there are a few dishes that lean on cheese for flavour.

Mum went with the South Italian salad of mixed heritage tomatoes, basil, cucumber, olives, capers, toasted almonds and olive oil ($14). It's supposed to come with buffalo mozzarella as well, but they forgot to add it - they were very apologetic about it when we let them know and knocked a few bucks off our bill to make up for it.

Even without the cheese this was a success - fresh, simple and tasty with the olives and capers adding some salty bite to the sweet tomatoes.

I went for something a bit heftier - the Vegerama green stiry-fry with broccoli, capsicum, zucchini, kale and cashews with tempeh and brown rice ($15).

This was a gigantic meal - probably a whole block of tempeh and certainly more than I could finish (at least if i was going to eat my share the rice paper rolls we'd ordered). It ticked a few boxes for me - I desperately needed something loaded with veggies and I liked the relatively simple flavours. It's the kind of dish you can throw together yourself in 15 minutes at home, so it feels a bit weird to pay $15 for it, but if you're in need of something healthy and filling you won't be disappointed.

Our final dish was an entree (which was meant to come out first but had been lost in some kitchen confusion) - Vietnamese rice paper rolls with fresh veggies, Vietnamese mint, rice noodles and tofu and a sesame peanut dipping sauce ($10).

This is another simple but effective dish - all freshness and natural flavours. The peanut/soy dipping sauce was a bit weird (the two elements weren't quite combined properly), but the flavour was fine.

Vegerama is a good addition to West End - it's Brisbane's hippiest suburb and a straightforward veggie place with a wide array of options is a good bet to succeed there. It's not an overly exciting place - the dishes really feel like the kind of dishes that competent but not particularly adventurous home cooks could churn out without too much trouble. I'm glad I got a chance to visit and will probably swing by again next time I'm in town, so hopefully Vegerama thrives.
I think we're the first bloggers to get to the West End Vegerama restaurant. You can read about our trip to their Post Office Square food court outlet here.  
220 Melbourne St, West End
(07) 3255 3388
menu (it's not a great photo, sorry) (although it's currently being updated - their facebook page might be a better option)

Accessibility: Excellent - there's a wide, flat entryway and plenty of space inside. Orders are taken at the table and you pay at a low counter. We didn't visit the toilets.

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