By Rebecca Duell
Brisbane (or BrisVegas as it is affectionately and more than a little ironically known to locals) is fast becoming a foodie heaven to rival Melbourne and Sydney. And, if you know where to look, there are plenty of options to satisfy the most quinoa-loving vegetarian or vegan. Eating a plant based diet in Brisbane truly is a journey through cuisines and cultures. To keep your feet on the right path, here is a list of my 5 favourite vegetarian or vegan places to eat:
- Vege Rama : If you find yourself lost among the bewildering array of options in the Queen Street Myer Centre food court, get yourself over to the Vege Rama counter. Here you will discover hearty salads, Indian inspired curries and mouth-watering vegan deserts. Do try their Masala Dosa, a value-for-money comfort food favourite! Vege Rama has two other locations – a sit down restaurant in West End that’s perfect for date night; and a café on Adelaide Street in the city serving up exclusively vegan and gluten-free meals.
- Govinda’s Vegetarian Restaurant: The definition of “cheap and cheerful”, Govinda’s is the perfect place to grab a bite to eat before getting along to see some live music in one of West End’s many venues (shout out to The Bearded Lady!). The vegetarian and vegan dishes are cooked with love by members of the Hare Krishna movement, and you can get all you can eat and drink for just $11!
- Loving Hut : Have a craving for chicken nuggets? Then take a short ride on bus #170 or #174 from the city or South Bank to Loving Hut in Mount Gravatt. This casual little restaurant offers a range of Asian inspired vegan meals, many featuring fake meat. That may sound strange, but trust me, this place is an institution for vegetarians in Brisbane. The chicken nuggets taste just like the ones you get at the golden arches (minus the chicken tears), and even come with vegan BBQ sauce. Yum!
- Kitchen Sanitarium: If the idea of a fake chicken nugget makes you vomit in your mouth a little bit then Kitchen Sanitarium is the place for you! This central city café mainly caters to hungry but health conscious office workers so is only open Monday – Friday 7am – 2pm. However, it’s a great gourmet option if you’re looking for somewhere special to have breakfast or lunch with friends. I recommend the Grilled Haloumi or Lentil and Five Bean Nachos. Be warned though, they don’t serve coffee!
- Kiss the Berry: Do you know what “activated buckinis” are? Me neither! But Kiss the Berry serves them in their açaí bowls so they must be good for you! Located just around the corner from Urbanest in Southbank, Kiss the Berry specialises in vegan or vegetarian açaí bowls and smoothies, many of which are also lactose or gluten free. If you call yourself a vegan but have never had an açaí bowl you’ve clearly been living under a rock. Açaí is a berry of Brazilian origin that tastes a little like dark chocolate and red wine. The berries are blended and then added to a bowl with other tasty ingredients like fresh fruit, nuts, honey and coconut yoghurt. You couldn’t wish for a more nutritious and delicious start to the day!
A bonus favourite is Mandala Organic Arts Café in Mermaid Beach on the Gold Coast. Live music and vegan pizza. Enough said. Oh, and although not strictly a vegetarian/vegan restaurant, The Tibetan Kitchen in Brisbane offers a great selection of vegetarian or vegan dishes alongside its meaty meals. It’s also run by some of the nicest people you will ever meet!