Elizabeth Richter is used to expounding the benefits and tastiness of vegan food, having run her vegan meal delivery service, The Veggie Chef, for quite a few years now. Her next venture builds on what she loves — she has opened a vegan cafe called Ubuntu on Hawthorn's Burwood Road.
Richter opened Ubuntu in response to feedback she was getting from her Veggie Chef customers, who would complain that there was no tasty, nutritious vegan fare in their area.
The cafe has a compact menu of sweet and savoury dishes, and plenty of gluten-free options. While the menu makes mention of many 'cheeses' and 'meats', Richter promises that everything is strictly vegan and plant-based.
Dishes include french toast with berry compote, pistachios and maple syrup; a croque madame with vegan bacon and 'cheese'; loaded sweet potato fries; and a triple cheeseburger with tempeh and 'haloumi' on a charcoal bun.
Richter has also done a bit of experimenting when it comes to the 'eggs', too — there's a hyper-realistic vegan egg on the go, which yolks just like a real yolk; an impressive feat.
Accompanying the food, and not to be forgotten, is the colourful superfood latte menu. The point of interest here is the butterfly pea flower latte. A teal-coloured coffee alternative that uses monk fruit (a fruit native to southern China and northern Thailand) juice, dates and cinnamon as natural sweeteners, it looks just as pretty on your table as it does on your Instagram feed.
Richter says opening the restaurant hasn't been easy — she jokes that she has been sleeping at the cafe at night – but that it will pay off, as she's bringing Hawthorn something a little different (even if the eggs do look just like eggs).
Ubuntu Vegan Cafe is open at 460 Burwood Road, Hawthorn, from 7am–4pm Tuesday through Sunday.