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By Imogen Baker
January 06, 2017
By Imogen Baker
January 06, 2017

Vegans of Melbourne, prepare to loudly rejoice into your soy products. Come February, Collingwood is getting a vegan-only pizzeria with a vegan dessert menu. Wooop. Plan the rest of your lives accordingly.

Red Sparrow will open in early February, pending council permits, and the charge is being led by Michael Craig, an ex-chef of Fitzroy vegan mainstay Trippy Taco. A vegan himself, Craig says the venture has been on the cards for a while now. "Opening up a vegan restaurant and bar has been a dream of mine for a long time, so I've been planning this for a while," he says. "I think there's a gap in the market for high-quality vegan pizza — not necessarily from a business point of view, but from a personal desire to have somewhere to eat good pizza and drink beers with friends."

Red Sparrow will open in Collingwood on Smith Street with a solid menu of nine pizza options plus dessert. Craig says the eatery isn't just for vegans though and his goal is to prove to people that you don't have to be vegan to love vegan food. "You don't have to be vegan to come to Red Sparrow Pizza and enjoy the food on offer," he says. "More and more people are either becoming vegan or vegetarian, or at least aware of it's benefits, either for animal welfare, the environment or personal health reasons.  We're now at a stage where people know they can eat vegan food and it doesn't have to mean compromising on flavour, and that's what I intend to create — a good pizzeria, not just a good vegan restaurant."

And don't for a second think that a vegan pizza will lack that cheese goopiness you've come to expect. Craig and his partner Shelley Scott have been developing the perfect cheese mimicry products. "We'll be using at least five different types of dairy-free cheese," says Craig. "Each one is being planned for the specific pizza — be it an almond feta, coconut parmesan, or a soy fior di latte." Traditional pizzerias — heavy on the cheese and meat side of things — don't often give much thought to the vegan alternative. Generally, they, just offer the same pizzas but without cheese, which is pretty blasphemous (in our books, anyway).

So Red Sparrow are working on their faux meat game too, with a plant-based pepperoni, and a beer-infused bratwurst on the cards. Fake meat, for those of you who're yet to try it, is usually made with a combination of gluten and organic tofu and you'd be amazed at how convincing it can be. But don't worry, everything at Red Sparrow is ethically sourced and guaranteed to be suitable for dietary requirements — including the booze. So you can chow down and drink up knowing everything is totally animal product-free.

Red Sparrow hopes to open early February at 406 Smith Street, Collingwood. For info, keep an eye on their Facebook page

Published on January 06, 2017 by Imogen Baker


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