We had an afternoon gig in Northcote and took the opportunity to check out Yuni's Kitchen, an Indonesian cafe with a reputation for vegan-friendliness. It's a cosy little place tucked in behind a church on High Street with seats for about 20 or 30 people. We had no trouble claiming a table for four at 12:30 on a Saturday afternoon and between us we got stuck into most of the veggie dishes on offer.
We started off with two of the entrees - the tahu isi sayur (below left, $9) and the bakwan jagung (below right, $9). The tahu isi sayur are little pockets of semi-soft tofu stuffed with vegetables and deep-fried in batter. The bakwan jagung are little fritters of corn, coriander, carrot and spring onion. Both are vegan, delicious and come served with Yuni's incredible sambal, which you can buy and take home.
We scanned the mains for tempeh and, finding only one vego dish that included it, three of us ordered the same thing: the nasi campur sayur ($21). It's a combo of all kinds of deliciousness: yellow rice, veggie curry, fried tempeh, urap (steamed veggies with spiced grated coconut), pickles, emping (chips!), perkedel (fried potato fritter), peanuts and a chilli egg (subbed with eggplant for the vegan version). This was such a good lunch, with so many delightful flavours and textures to smother in sambal. It's a slightly expensive lunch, but it's well worth it.
Cindy took one for the team and ordered a tempeh-free meal: the veggie nasi goreng ($15). It's a solid fried rice with vegetables mixed through, topped with a fried egg, a potato fritter, pickles and some emping. Cindy was a bit disappointed not to get any tofu or tempeh in the fried rice, but it was still a decent offering. She topped it off with a Vietnamese iced coffee with condensed milk ($5), which is about the only way she'll consume caffeine.
We had a great time at Yuni's - the nasi campur sayur is an absolute winner and I can't imagine ever ordering anything else. Our only disappointment was the lack of tempeh options - they make their own, which means they have to ration it out a bit rather than putting it in all the stir-fries etc (although I don't know why the waste it in two meaty dishes!). The staff were helpful and there was a nice relaxed vibe - it's a great Northcote option when you're not in the mood for Tahina.
There's a reasonably positive review of Yuni's vego options on Green Gourmet Giraffe and a good write-up of their meatier offerings on Gastrology.
251 High Street, Northcote
0455 337 666
Accessibility: The restaurant is behind a church and the ground's a bit uneven on the way in. The entry is flat and the inside is moderately spacious. We ordered at the table and paid at a low counter. We didn't visit the toilets.