378 Brunswick Street
Ph: (03) 9417 6935
I'm not really into vegetarian food, so when Paul wanted to go The Vegie Bar for his birthday dinner, I wasn't excatly enthusiastic. But after eating there, I would definitely go back.
The Vegie Bar is located on Brunswick Street amongst a vast variety of restaurants. It's neon signs outside is very 80's and daggy, but it does give it a point of difference. When we walked inside, we were greeted by a large cavernous room buzzing with people. We had to get into a queue to get a table since we hadn't booked. The waitress informed us there would be a short wait and if we wanted to sit at the bar out the back and wait. We said that was ok and went out back and had some bubblies while waiting. The wait wasn't too long and a waiter dressed in a kilt came and led us to our table upstairs.
Me and Paul sitting out at a table in the court yard bar.
Jo and Phuong in matching black jackets waiting for Kin to bring back the champagne.
The upstairs table are a bit quieter and give a great view onto the main downstairs tables. As usual, we all picked a dish to share. For entrees we got Falafel and Fried Chick Peas. Those weren't that good and my spirits were dropping further, anticipating having to eat more vegetarian food.
But the best was yet to come. For mains we got a Mushroom Risotto, A Chick Pea Stew, A Cajun Curry and a Pizza with Caramelised Onion and Cheese.
The Pizza was sensational. A crispy based housed sweet caramelised onion, offset by some acidity in lemon juice. The smooth cheese blended well with the rest of the ingredients and finally some rocket gave a bit of a kick. The Chicke Pea Stew and Cajun Curry were also very hearty and I only found myself mildly missing the meat. However, the star of the savoury dishes was the Mushroom Risotto. The semi-signature dish of Mushroom and Truffle Risotto at Vue de Monde is still the best risotto I've tasted, but this one was in the same ball park, big praise indeed.
I thought it couldn't get better, but when my beloved desserts came out, they blew my mind. Here again was simplicity at its best. The Baked Berry Cheesecake had beautiful fresh berries sitting atop a wonderfully creamy cheesecake (which wasn't coying) with a thin buttery base. The other dessert of a Sticky Date Pudding (yes, we chose it because of Masterchef) was even better. The fluffy sticky date pudding had a good strong date flavour without being sickeningly sweet and dense. And the butterscotch sauce was a great combination.
Service was good, only one drink too a couple of requests to obtain. The ambience is a very nice relaxing mood, with happy people eating and talking. I was totally surprised by the food, all good freshly made food. If all vegetarian food can be made to taste this good, I'd still be a meat eater, but I would eat vegetables a lot more.
Final note, they did do vegan and gluten free dishes.
Overall Rating: 15/20, Some very good vegetarian dishes and fantastic desserts.
Scores: 1-9: Unacceptable, don't bother. 10-11: Just OK,some shortcomings. 12: Fair. 13: Getting there. 14: Recommended. 15: Good. 16: Really good. 17: Truly excellent. 18: An outstanding experience. 19-20:Approaching perfection, Victoria's best.