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FOOD & DRINK

The Ten Best Vegan Eats in Sydney

Ten places where vegans will be spoilt for choice, and even reluctant, carnivorous companions have to admit they're satisfied.
By Jessica Surman
January 22, 2015
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By Jessica Surman
January 22, 2015
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THE TEN BEST VEGAN EATS IN SYDNEY

Ten places where vegans will be spoilt for choice, and even reluctant, carnivorous companions have to admit they're satisfied.

Vegans: are you long sick of meat-friendly joints where you're forced to resort to the one vegetarian option and ask to remove the dairy? (And then usually what comes out is a bland and/or dry concoction of roast vegetables and rocket – not that you should have anything against rocket and vegetables, but it's all a bit samey, really.)

We've gone the hard, tofu and beans-y yards for you, and compiled a list of ten lip-smackingly good vegan joints (with a couple of honourable vego mentions) that will have you spoilt for choice — something you're likely unused to. So much choice, in fact, that there's a danger you'll end up well and truly stumped and completely unable to make a decision, resorting to a game of Eeny Meeny, or just closing your eyes and jabbing at the menu. Luckily, these eateries are all so damn good that you'll probably be chuffed whatever you order — and even reluctant, meat- and dairy-loving companions will be too.

  • 10
    About Life Double Bay - CLOSED

    This is a store where kale is king, there’s a chia mania in the air and everyone’s going coco-loco for coconut water. The self-service and cafe menu at the city’s various About Lifes are brimming with options fully across the latest health food trends — be it gluten-free, raw food or paleo. Fortunately, good ol’ vegan gets a look-in, and good thing it does. A Vegan Scrambled Caulibowl is a beatific start to the day, served with kale pesto, bread crumble, zucchini, avocado and, um, more kale.

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  • 9
    Suzy Spoon's Vegetarian Butcher

    Originally just a vegetarian ‘butcher’, Suzy Spoon’s has since expanded to offer a full vegan cafe-style menu, including breakfast and dinner on the weekends. It’s imitation meat generally more of the you-can-tell-it’s-got-vegetables-in-it kind than the tastes-too-much-like-chicken-for-comfort kind — although if fake meat’s not your thing, don’t try the Smokey Rashers, which taste a little more like bacon than fake’on. Do get the lasagne or the spag bol. This food is great for Sunday sesh carb loading.

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  • 8
    Mother Chu's Vegetarian Kitchen

    This is one of those minimum frills, maximum taste locations. The unassuming Mother Chu’s, tucked away up the slower end of Pitt Street, serves up homely vegetarian Taiwanese fare — like mee goreng that’ll have you swearing off the packet ones for good, and vegetarian Peking duck that is said to rival many iterations of the regular one. Do try the crispy tofu with miso sauce to start with, and if you’re feeling adventurous have a poke around the ‘crispy gluten’ section of the menu. This place is almost vegan — some dishes do use honey, so check with the staff. In the accommodating spirit of the place, they can tailor any dish to your dietary requirements.

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  • 7

    While the folks at Bodhi do serve dinner and sitting under fairy lights by the park of an evening might sound appealing, what they do really well is yum cha. The restaurant pioneered vegan yum cha, using locally grown organic fresh produce, so they’re constantly changing and rotating their pan-Asian menu. Sit under the Moreton Bay Figs on a lazy Sunday and feast on their chilli smoked soy and beetroot dumplings and mushroom, carrot and corn crispy wanton wings.

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  • 6
    Sadhana Kitchen

    Sadhana Kitchen is raw vegan, and we promise it’s the tasty kind. The menu is extensive — they offer breakfast, lunch, desserts, smoothies, coffee (with soy, almond or coconut milk) and hot tonics. They’re also all for grandiosity, offering raw vegan high teas and seven-course degustation menus. If you’re in the CBD, inner city or inner west, you can even place a lunch delivery order and get something nourishing into you while you’re stuck at your desk.

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  • 5
    Lord of the Fries

    So noodles and dumplings and tangy salads are all well and good, but sometimes — sometimes — you just want to sink your teeth into a good old-fashioned, fast food-style burger. Lord of the Fries is another Melbourne import, and probably the only place you’ll find veganisable burgers that take you back to childhood Happy Meals, or drunken late-night food missions, pre veganhood. Go for an Original Burger (ask for vegan sauces) for optimum nostalgia, or a serve of sweet potato fries with vegan mayo special sauce. To my ovo/lacto friends — go wild. Despite appearances, this place is 100% vegetarian. Some of the online reviews from angry meat eaters who didn’t realise and thought their Chick’n Burgers tasted a bit odd are worth a read.

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  • 4
    Green Gourmet

    Green Gourmet is a fixture on the Sydney vegan dining circuit, and not for nothing. Don’t be put off by the no-frills interior or their avoidance of all spicy-scented veg (it’s part of their commitment to ancient vegetarian practices of India and China, on the grounds they “induce offensive reactions, from bad breath to lustfulness”). The buffet-style, pay-by-weight selection is heavy on fake meats of the I-can’t-believe-it’s-not-chicken variety, but they earn massive props for making very tasty food without an onion or clove of garlic in sight. Leave with fresh breath, lustful urges at bay and belly well and truly content.

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  • 3

    Yulli’s is a vegetarian bar/restaurant combo with a very sizeable vegan menu. Definitely try the tangy Dumplings San Choy Bow, and the massaman curry pot pie. For dessert, get the sticky date and pecan pudding with butterscotch sauce and coconut ice cream — you’ll die and go to vegan heaven. There’s a room up top which is great for groups, and the whole lower floor is bathed in a soft pink light that spills over into its little section of Crown Street and will make you feel like you’re wearing irremovable rose-coloured glasses.

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  • 2
    Lentil as Anything

    The recently opened Sydney instalment of this Melbourne series has recently added a weekend brunch slot to their current lunch and dinner repertoire. They’re do-gooders in every sense of the word — it’s a not-for-profit, where customers pay what they want based on what they can afford and what they feel the food is worth, and the staff are all volunteers, or the long-term unemployed and marginalised. The food is all vegan and the menu changes each day. Portions are very generous, and don’t be surprised when the staff member clears away your plates and offers you dessert. Add live music, communal tables, chai on arrival and a general air of goodwill. These guys just keep on giving.

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  • 1

    Nourishing Quarter’s soul-sustaining fusion of Vietnamese and Latin American cuisines is charmingly dissonant with its kitschy antique store decor. But by the end of your meal, you somehow find it all fits together. NQ’s philosophy is all about healthy eating for general wellbeing, but skimp on flavour they do not. Try the Pretty Dumplings to start, and move on to the deliciously zesty amaranth and quinoa noodle salad with crispy tofu lingerings. Book to avoid disappointment, because the space is tiny. And take your time over the storybook-like menu — it’s an experience in itself.

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