The Vegie Bar has been kicking around for over twenty years. The all-vegetarian restaurant was ahead of its time when it opened two decades ago, and is all the more in vogue now. Monday through Sunday, lines of people will put their name down and wait for a table — sometimes a pokey communal one — just to get a feed. The open plan warehouse-style room is filled with exposed brick, wooden tables and a whole lot of history. With a pin board listing rooms for rent on one wall and a separate room that only recently received a liquor licence, this venue is a Brunswick Street institution.
As you weave your way through the menu you'll find everything is vegetarian, a lot is vegan, and gluten free options are plentiful. More recently raw dishes have been added to the already vast line up. Start with the crispy rice balls filled with brown rice and finely chopped veggies ($5.50) or the flatbread served with creamy chickpea dahl ($7.90).
Mains are broken down into wraps and burgers, salads, pizzas and other main dishes. The Gado Gado serves up a pile of steamed vegetables and tofu with peanuts, mint and coriander and a bowl of satay sauce, perfect for dipping ($14), while the raw tacos ($14) see two red taco shells made from nuts and seeds filled with vegetables, cashew cream, avocado and a magical 'chilli' style bean mix. Raw food, it seems, has come a long way. If you're not feeling the raw, vegan and gluten free vibe, the classic Mexican burrito ($15) is a must. A large burrito filled with beans is served atop corn chips and plenty of sour cream and guacamole. There is a reason it's been on the menu forever.
Desserts are rather impressive. There is a rotating assortment of cakes from a gluten and dairy free chocolate mud cake, to baked berry cheesecake to raw macaroons. How they make it all taste so damn good is a mystery, but we're happy to just enjoy the goods.
When it comes to the drink list, they have anything from the super juice of beetroot, spinach, carrot and cucumber ($6) and smoothies, to a bottle of organic German Riesling from Gunderloch ($45).
The Vegie Bar is the kind of place where any lifestyle can be catered for, but no one will impose one on you. You don't have to be vegan or be a champion of the raw food movement to enjoy your dhal or a big fat piece of vegan chocolate cake.