Eight Melbourne Cafes Where You Can Get a Great Plant-Based Brunch
Start your day on the right note at one of these conscious cafes.
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As plant-based eating gains momentum worldwide, the quality and abundance of choice rises with it. And Melbourne's ever-evolving culinary scene means that the city is brimming with some of the finest plant-based food you can find. We've teamed up with Vegkit to round up some of Melbourne's best spots to tuck into quality plant-based brunch plates.
POWER PLANT, TEMPLESTOWE
Whether it's a seat in the relaxed, plant-filled outdoor courtyard overlooking the greens of the local bowlo or a table in the expansive dining room, visiting this aptly named Templestowe haunt is always a good idea. The all-day menu features a great selection of plant-based breakfast and lunch dishes that will please even the fussiest of eaters, with daily pastries, cakes and sandwiches also available to grab and go. The dishes here are inventive takes on classic cafe staples — think scrambled tofu tossed with mushrooms, zucchini, spinach and pesto or 'notella' choc chip waffles featuring a house-made hazelnut spread and coconut ice cream.
MATCHA MYLKBAR, ST KILDA
Puns, pancakes and plant-based fried 'chicken' — there's plenty to love about this buzzy St Kilda spot. The impressively extensive menu at Matcha Mylkbar is as much a feast for the eyes as it is for the stomach, with signature dishes like a fried 'chicken' burger served in a bright green matcha-infused bun (the dish is also not-so-subtle nod to fact that KFC opened next door). Other items on the fully plant-based menu include vegan 'eggs' (which you can pimp out with a bunch of decadent sides like truffle-roasted mushrooms, turmeric scrambled tofu or fried cauliflower), wholefood bowls and a wordplay-heavy list of acai bowls and smoothies — it's hard to say no to an Almond Schwarzenegger or I Once Was Blind But Now Acai.
There's also a dedicated pancake menu with a range of sweet and savoury options that taste as good as they look. For the full experience, pair your meal with one of the cafe's signature matcha drinks, or venture further with a mushroom and date, blue algae or spiced beetroot latte.
SISTER OF SOUL, RICHMOND
There really is something for everyone at this breezy Swan Street spot. The all-day menu draws on culinary influences from all over the globe and offers a range of dishes to cater to all palates. Starters include pumpkin, cabbage and zucchini okonomiyaki and polenta chips with cauliflower purée and cashew parmesan, while mains range from a hearty black dhal with cumin poppadoms to a crumbed tempeh burger served on a bright beetroot brioche bun. Throw in some local beers, an Aussie-dominated wine list and fun vegan-friendly cocktails, and this might just be your new go-to.
SMITH & DELI, FITZROY
Under the steady hand of Shannon Martinez — the legendary chef behind Fitzroy's Smith & Daughters and South Yarra's Lona Misa — this Moor Street deli slings vegan sambos, baked goods and provisions to suit all tastes. It can be hard to narrow it down with such a vast selection on offer, but the charmingly titled two-hander Club Sandwiches Not Seals, with plant-based turkey, bacon, lettuce, tomato, cheddar and mayo, is a great place to start if you're a first timer. Plant-based croissants, cakes and doughnuts are also available, as is a range of frozen meals.
Martinez recently announced that Smith & Deli will be moving into larger premises with sister venue Smith & Daughter, so watch for that when it opens in Collingwood later this year. In the meantime, the powerhouse chef is also busy working on a vegan mortadella that we can't wait to try when it's unveiled to the world.
Smith & Deli is open from Tuesday to Sunday for takeaway and delivery via its website.
MONK BODHI DHARMA, BALACLAVA
In the back of a small car park in a Balaclava side street, a brick shed covered in graffiti gives way to this vibey cafe with a focus on coffee and tea that's complemented by a tidy plant-based menu. Breakfast here is a great way to kickstart your day, particularly if you're partial to a brekkie in hotcake form — try the zucchini and mint hotcakes with beetroot relish and pickled cucumber, or for something sweet, go for the buckwheat banana pancakes topped with dulce de leche ice cream, maple syrup and banana chips.
Drinks-wise, the range of single-estate coffees is roasted in-house and served in biodegradable cups to go, while the house-made chai — which is such a big deal that it has its own Instagram page — can be finished with your choice of soy, oat or homemade organic almond milk. There's also a seasonal range of tea and house-made hot chocolate, perfect for pairing with a pastry — the baked goods selection changes daily and everything is prepared in house.
Monk Bodhi Dharma is open daily for takeaway.
PARTICLE CAFE, AVONDALE HEIGHTS
This cute neighbourhood cafe serves a great range of approachable plant-based dishes in a welcoming, homely atmosphere. And what this Avondale Heights spot might lack in size, it more than makes up for when it comes to flavour. Meat-free toasties and burgers with inventive takes on classic fillings are winners here — and the appropriately named VIP Burger, stacked with shiitake mushrooms, lettuce, tomato, cucumber, pineapple, 'cheese' sauce, smoky sauce, jalapeños and rice paper 'bacon' might just be enough to make you question the need to eat a meat burger again. The colourful smoothies, packed with fresh ingredients, are another flavour-packed highlight — try the Sunset Blush with raspberry, mango, dates, turmeric, ginger and cinnamon.
Particle Cafe is open daily for takeaway and delivery via Uber Eats.
SEROTONIN EATERY, BURNLEY
As its name suggests, this bright and airy Burnley eatery is all about achieving happiness through food. Its approach to this lofty goal? A thoughtful menu boasting creative plates and excellent coffee. The menu offers dishes with names like Positive Pancakes and Medicinal Waffles — the latter is a Mexican-style corn waffle topped with heirloom tomatoes, turmeric popcorn, fresh local herbs and house-made chipotle sauce. Almost every dish here is entirely plant-based, and most have a gluten-free option too.
Also on the menu is a cracking range of smoothies — designed, according to the menu, as 'a day spa for your gut' — as well as organic, colourful desserts that are all but guaranteed to put a smile on your dial.
Serotonin Eatery is open daily for takeaway and delivery via its website.
MOON RABBIT, PRESTON
This welcoming Preston social enterprise cafe demonstrates its ethos of 'little cafe, big heart' through its commitment to sustainability, community and delicious food. An initiative of the non-profit Bridge Darebin, Moon Rabbit provides opportunities for young adults with additional learning needs through its High Street cafe and roving food truck. On the mostly plant-based menu, you'll find dishes that champion seasonal and local produce — try the blue corn tacos with organic black beans, salsa, avo and chipotle mayo. Nothing goes to waste here, with any ingredients that cannot be used turned into compost for local gardens.
Moon Rabbit is open for takeaway from Monday to Friday. The Moon Rabbit food truck is trading at Mayer Park, Tuesday to Friday from 8am to 2pm.
For more plant-based dining and recipe inspo, head to the Vegkit website.
Published on October 26, 2021 by Dominic Gruenewald