Increased interest in plant-based eating means vegans are no longer culinary fringe- dwellers. Now herbivorous eaters are celebrating by heading out (often with their omnivore mates) to one of the growing number of vegan-friendly restaurants. Whether you’re a fully-fledged vegan or just curious, here are some places in Brisbane to experience a delicious meatless meal. By Natascha Mirosch.
With brunches lasting into the afternoon and dinner Wednesday to Saturday, this petite West Ender serves innovative, precision-plated food spotlighting seasonal vegetables sourced from farms within 400 kilometres of Brisbane. Almost everything is made in-house, down to the ‘vegemite’ spread that comes with your toasted sourdough. The drinks list includes local beer and vegan wines from artisan vintners.
21 Buchanan Street, West End (07) 3036 7213
Brisbane Vegan Markets
This twice-monthly Sunday food market attracts skateboards and strollers in equal numbers. There’s live music and plenty of share tables to sample the global pick ‘n’ mix of food – from Tibetan momo, ‘fish and chips’ to an ‘I can’t believe it’s not meat’ jackfruit ‘mac ‘n’ cheese’ burger. Finish with a coconut soft serve.
56 Russell Street, West End (0488 405 582)
Ideal for omnivore/herbivore couple date nights, blingy Bacchus not only has an impressive contemporary Australian menu but a vegan degustation. Within it, there are amuse-bouche to start, followed by four courses of seasonal veg and grains, like mushroom risotto spiked with herb oil, then dessert and petit fours. Vegan-friendly dishes can also be ordered separately, if your meat-eating partner craves it.
Cnr Grey and Glenelg Streets, South Bank (07) 3364 0837
Netherworld Arcade Bar
Netherworld turns the usual order on its head, with carnivores having to request meat with their meals. The bar is filled with vintage games from pre-Xbox days and a well-provisioned liquor cabinet, spruiking housemade alcoholic sodas. Netherworld’s menu dishes up (vegan) dude food – loaded fries with guacamole and chipotle mayo, burgers – alongside healthy hipster faves like brown rice and soba noodle bowls.
186 Brunswick Street, Fortitude Valley (0424 156 667)
Urbane’s introduction of a vegan degustation broke down Brisbane’s barriers at a time when vegan food was still largely uninspired and served mainly in casual cafes. These days herbivores can fine dine with the best of them, with Urbane’s cutting edge five or seven course degustation menu serving up dishes like zucchini flower consommé, with green apple and Tonka bean for dessert.
181 Mary Street, Brisbane (07) 3229 2271
This relative newbie has already become a New Farm favourite with vegans and non-vegans alike thanks to a convivial all-day menu of café classics including a big breakfast with tofu scramble and golden hash browns, as well as pancake stacks, the ubiquitous avo on toast, breakfast burritos and burgers (with a mushroom patty, of course). The locally-roasted Bare Bones Specialty Coffee has been chosen especially for its pairing quality with nut and soy milks.
893 Brunswick Street, New Farm (07) 3254 2341
Unobservant omnivores could very possibly wander into this 100% vegan bakery, dig into a flaky shepherd’s pie or a salted caramel cupcake and leave none the wiser. Grab a snicker ‘mylk’ shake and a sweet treat from the cabinet stuffed with goodies like brownies, sticky date cakes, doughnuts, custard tarts and more. They also do celebration cakes.
473 South Pine Road, Everton Park (07) 3355 6329
There are few more congenial places to dine than Otto’s terrace, with uninterrupted views of the river and Story Bridge. In addition to their smart, modern Italian menu, there’s a vegan offering of Italian classics like almond-dotted risotto, rich rigatoni of capers and cherry tomatoes, along with a pretty dessert of citrus sorbet sprinkled with spiced cherry granita and candied orange.
Level 4, 480 Queen Street, Brisbane (07) 3835 2888
At any one of the several outlets around Brisbane, there’s a choice of around a dozen burgers with char-striped and smoky patties made from black bean, pumpkin, tempeh, jackfruit and even hemp. Served on a sesame seed bun with loads of fresh salad, homemade sauces. Add an accoutrement of vegan cheese or ‘smoky rashers’ – they’re temptingly close to the real deal.
Detour occupies a light-filled former tyre factory with exposed beams and recycled wood and features a menu split into “Omnivore” and “Herbivore” sections, the latter completely vegan. Boundary-pushing dishes belie plain-Jane names like “beetroot” or “roasted cauliflower” turning up all manner of surprises. The former, for instance, is smoked in two different ways and served with macadamia purée, roasted nuts and mustard crisps. The food is complemented by an impressive all-Australian wine list.
11 Logan Road, Woolloongabba (07) 3217 4880
Top image: Dickis