Eight Mindblowing Vegan Dishes to Order in Sydney That'll Have Your Carnivorous Mates Coming Back for Seconds

Animal byproducts? I don't know her.
Jordan Kretchmer
Published on October 25, 2021

Eight Mindblowing Vegan Dishes to Order in Sydney That'll Have Your Carnivorous Mates Coming Back for Seconds

in partnership with

Animal byproducts? I don't know her.

Plant-based eating has been steadily on the rise for the past few decades. In recent times, the Sydney dining scene has wholeheartedly embraced offering vegan iterations and reimaginings of signature dishes on a whole new level. Whether it's all-vegan hotspots like Bad Hombres; health food-focused boltholes like Cali Press; or even traditionally meat-favouring spots like Bonditony's Burger Joint, there's a stack of spots that hero plants, legumes and veggies in clever and inventive ways.

In partnership with American Express, we've tracked down eight of the best plant-based plates across the city. These are the dishes where you won't miss meat or dairy whether you're a full-time vegan or a meat-eater dabbling in plant-based foods.

  • 8

    On the northern beaches’ insular peninsula, you’ll find this light and bright Mexican eatery and tequila bar. Sitting alongside chicken, pork belly and beer-battered fish options is a jackfruit taco. Dubbed the Vegan Pulled Pork, it features achiote-marinated jackfruit, served with black bean hummus, pickled red cabbage and dry salsa. If you head down midweek you can enjoy all-you-can-eat tacos for just $30 and $12 margaritas.

    Also, the jackfruit taco isn’t the only plant-based star on the menu. Alma’s share-style mushroom dish comes with yellow mole, chochoyote (corn masa dumplings), pickled onions and roast veg; or just order up some classic chips and guacamole.

    Image: The Picture Desk

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  • 7

    This Sydney bakery is known for its cult-status desserts. While the strawberry watermelon cake is its most famous (it sells more than one million slices each year), it’s well worth trying a slice of Black Star’s egg- and dairy-free chocolate popcorn cake.

    The dense cake is glazed with cocoa-spiked syrup and dotted with zesty freeze-dried raspberries before the crowning ingredient — lightly salted, crunchy caramelised popcorn — is added. The contrast between the fudgy cake and the textural popcorn is what makes this cute cake shine. It’s perfect for big group birthdays, or just a special solo treat.

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  • 6

    Coffee maestro Single O is known for slinging coffees made with carefully sourced, single origin beans. But, along with excellent brews, it also serves top-notch breakfasts and lunches from its Surry Hills outpost. The corner cafe boasts an increasingly impressive vegan offering, and the spiced cauliflower dish is a prime example of this.

    It sees a thick slice of the brassica rubbed in coriander seeds, cumin seeds, smoked paprika and white pepper, and then roasted. It’s then topped with macadamia butter, coconut yoghurt and native furikake and served with rye bread.

    Image: George Newton

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  • 5

    Baking queen and founder of Flour and Stone Nadine Ingram has long blessed Sydneysiders with joyful, delicious cakes, pastries, tarts and slices. While most of the delicacies favour eggs and butter, Flour and Stone doesn’t forget about vegans with its rich chocolate “I’m Vegan” cake.

    The neat bundt-style cake is dairy- and egg-free and uses almonds, cocoa, cocoa nibs, oat milk and orange zest to bring the flavour to this inclusive treat. The eight-inch cake serves 10–12 people, making it perfect for an intimate birthday or as a vegan option to order alongside Flour and Stone’s signature Lemon Dream cake.

    Image: Alan Benson

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  • 4

    This Surry Hills Mexican-themed bar has honed its skills delivering wholly plant-based (and mostly gluten-free) plates. One of the most interesting dishes on the menu is a vegan version of the popular seafood dish, ceviche.

    Typically the dish calls upon citrus-cured raw fish (with the milky marinade known as leche de tigre — or eye of the tiger). The Bad Hombres chefs instead take king mushrooms and marinate them in lime juice, chilli, spices, soy milk and water. This results in a textural and flavour profile similar to the traditional dish and delivers a citrusy, spicy punch, sans seafood.

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  • 3

    This local Erko favourite is loved thanks to its gin and jazz night, great selection of locally distilled spirits and craft beer menu. And if you inspect the food menu, you’ll find a host of bar snacks that take dive bar and diner classics and give them a vegan spin. Take the poutine, which takes the Canadian dish of gravy- and cheese curd-topped fries, and subs in a porcini-powered gravy and plant-based cheese curds. Other clever vegan snacky things on the menu include popcorn ‘tricken’ (bite-sized southern fried vegan chicken pieces served with peri-peri sauce), jalapeño pickles stuffed with house-made almond feta, edamame and pea falafels served with hummus and even deep-fried pickle chips.

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  • 2

    This rock ‘n’ roll Bondi burger joint may have people lining up for its grass-fed meat patties, but it’s also worth trying the veggo burger. Named after Aussie band The Delta Riggs, the burger features a corn-studded chickpea patty generously topped with sauteed mushrooms, fresh guacamole, baby spinach and vegan aioli, all served on a vegan, gluten-free bun. Plus, your burger comes with crunchy french fries, or you can upgrade to a serve of sweet potato fries.

    You can enjoy your burg within the music memorabilia-studded walls inside, or head outside and enjoy in the sunshine with the owner’s border collie Ketchup.

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  • 1

    This bright and breezy chain is known for its coffee, smoothies and hearty salad bowls. But it also has a menu of sandwiches and toasties that is worth getting around when you’re after something a little more substantial. Our pick is the roasted pumpkin and grilled tofu toastie. The gourd-favouring sambo comes with grilled tamari-slicked tofu (so you get a filling and nourishing protein hit) along with avocado, spinach, a curry-spiked vegan mayonnaise, hummus and zippy dukkah. The triple hit of seasoning courtesy of the mayo, dukkah and gluten-free soy sauce gives this toasted sandwich extra flavour. Along with an oat milk cappuccino, it’s the perfect hunger-busting lunch option.

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Helping out never tasted so good — shop small to support the local stores that make Sydney so great. To learn about American Express and the Shop Small initiative, visit here. Then, head this way to find more must-visit spots.

Top image: Single O, George Newton

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