When visiting Sydney and Melbourne, I wasn’t planning on making a ”guide” to foodie places. First because it was my first time visiting both cities so I’m hardly an expert on where to eat, and second because I wanted to let go of all pressures to photograph/write/produce during my vacation. But since we found a couple of incredible restaurants and cafés (by recommendations and by chance), I wanted to write a little something about them here anyway! I realized I hardly took any photos with my DSLR camera from either Sydney or Melbourne. That 4 kg camera is perhaps not the first thing I want to carry with me in a 32’C hot & humid Sydney. So, to illustrate this post I chose a couple of snaps from my phone instead : ) Some you might have seen on instagram.
Ps 1. I don’t intend to write a full review of the places. I just wanna give a heads up to the places I liked : ) For a more complete guide to green & healthy foodie places in Sydney, check out Green Kitchen Stories!
Ps 2. Ok I knowww the photos are a bit over-edited, but that’s ok for mobile pics I think #loveVSCO
What and where we ate in Melbourne
First of all: Melbourne!! What a city. SO many great places to eat for vegetarians and vegans. Too few days to try them all :( But:
Seamstress, 113 Lonsdale Street
First night we went to Seamstress by recommendation. Housed in an old textile factory with winding stairs and tiny tables. Without a booking, we had to spend an hour or so in the gloomy upstairs bar, drinking local beer and eating grilled edamame beans with soy sauce and hand cut fries with aioli & sweet chili sauce. Red glow. Old kimonos hung up in the ceiling. Super friendly staff. Yeah I mean, I could do that. No problem.
When we got our table, me and my brother shared a couple of the vegetarian options. We had: sweet potato dumplings with green pea puree & cilantro foam. YUM. Red curry with fried tofu, shiitake mushrooms & crispy bok choi. Also YUM but very spicy. Roti bread (sort of like pancakes) with peanut & lemongrass dipping sauce. DIED from this one! <3
Cumulus Up Wine Bar, 45 Flinders Lane
This place was also recommended to us. The atmosphere was a bit too club like for my taste. Like trendy, noisy and with loud music. Slightly lack of personality. But the food! The best food we had during the entire trip Melbourne, actually.
I had (besides from a veeery nice red wine): Marinated eggplant with almond cream, mint & pomegranate seeds. Fresh and lovely. Nothing special really. But wait for it: Ricotta & lemon zest dumplings (it was like stuffed gnocchi) with brown butter, pine nuts & dried currants. OMG. Dream-like. But so so filling you could only have a few bites. The entire family were sighing by now. For dessert: Coconut sorbet with cookie crumbles, fresh mango, lime zest & ginger beer granita. Totally loved the ginger beer granita! And the sorbet. Please try this place!
Movida, 1 Hosier Lane
Movida is probably not the place to be for a vegetarian. When I asked for vegetarian options, the waitress raised her eyebrow sort of to say ”Why are you even here if you don’t eat meat?”. When my brother asked if he could get some potatoes ”without the ham” for our steamed vegetables (which was the only vegetarian thing on the menu that wasn’t a bite sized crostini with something-something), he got the answer that is was apparently ”not possbile”. Instead he got a couple of dead spicy green peppers. But I still have to mention a couple of the bite sized tapas we had that I can’t get over. The smoked tomato sorbet. The marinated eggplant, also with some kind of yummy smoked sorbet (maybe on coconut?) on top, that came in a tiny winy casserole, and when the waiter lifted the lid, ice cold smoke (what’s the word for this?) trickled out. I mean!!! How cool?? The quince paste cigar with whipped goat’s milk cheese was also super yummy. But I have to emphasize how tiny these dishes were. I was still hungry when I left the restaurant.
Smith St Alimentari, 302 Smith Street
Here I went for lunch with lovely Camilla (@thealimentalsage on instagram). It’s a deli and a lunch restaurant/café. Maybe they have dinner menu too? I don’t know.
We sat in the backyard among brick walls, climbing plants and white table cloths flickering in the wind. It felt like being in Greece/Italy/Croatia in the summer <3 We filled a plate each with different kinds of salads that were so yum I don’t know what they did to them?? Covered them in dressing probably. I had some kind of beetroot, feta cheese, walnut history, and something with broccoli and haricot verts, and an ah-mazing pesto-farro salad <3 The coffee was also great, and I lovedloved the ambiance of this place. Thanks for taking me there Camilla!
Vegie Bar, 380 Brunswick Street
A cool and crowded lunch restaurant we went to by recommendation. Despite how busy it seemed, we got a table and was served surprisingly fast. Plus points for that! I had the Raw Living Stack which basically consisted of lots of yummy raw things. Marinated portobello mushroom, some kind of pesto, greens, veggies, beetroot, cashew cheese and best of all: raw vegan cheesy tuscan kale chips! Died. I have to get me some nutritional yeast to recreate get that cheesy flavor. Some many things on their menu I wanted to try! If you ever visit Melbourne – go there!
Hortus x Seven Seeds, Staggerlees, umm don’t remember the rest.
Places we wanted to go to but didn’t have time:
Saint Crispin. Market Lane Coffee. Afghan Gallery. Yongs Green. 20 & 6 Espresso. Madame K Vegetarian. Chin Chin. Feast of Merit. Seven Seeds. And many more!
The fireworks over Harbour Bridge at New Year’s!!! (seen from Goat Island)
What and where we ate in Sydney
In Sydney we didn’t look up as many places as in Melbourne. Instead we just popped into whatever looked good. Also we were there over the holidays, so many of the organic stores and cafés I wanted to see were closed :C So our Sydney eatings are quite random.
Ezzensa Italian, 560 Crown Street
We just happened to walk past this place on New Year’s Eve for a late lunch. Their super cute backyard lured us in. It took forever to get the food, but the beetroot gnocchi with almond butter, cocktail tomatoes and grilled asparagus that my brother and father had was beyond this world! I had a not so exciting beetroot salad, but anyway. The gnocchi! I also really like this area (Surry Hills).
Pony Lounge & Dining, Argyle Street & Kendall Lane
A very meaty restaurant that had surprisingly good vegetarian options. They had an open kitchen which I can be a bit ambivalent about (I don’t wanna see the mess/hear the clanking etc.), but very friendly staff and a pretty cool interior. I had stuffed baby peppers with sweet potato, refried beans, pickled currant and salted ricotta. Grilled broccolini with hazelnuts and romesco sauce. Local vine tomatoes with basil, parmesan, spanish onion and aged balsamic. We also shared shoestring fries with salt and vinegar (the night before when we booked our table they had truffle fries!!! You can’t imagine how disappointed I was when I couldn’t have those :C).
Saké, 12 Argyle Street
This place describes itself as ”vibrant, sexy and downright delicious” haha. Well, they definitely try to be cool. Maybe a little too much. I had crispy fried salt & pepper tofu and wasabi & pepper vegetables. Sounds a bit boring, and yes, it could have needed something more. There wasn’t much vegetarian to choose from the menu, but if you eat fish I think you should definitely pay a visit.
O Bar & Dining, Level 47 Australia Square 264
Ok the coolest thing about this sky bar (besides the fact that it’s a sky bar – super exotic for a Swede living in Stockholm who’s tallest building has maybe 15-20 floors) is that it’s rotating!! While eating/drinking cocktails you slowly rotate around the core of the building so that you can see all of Sydney. It takes about 1,5 hour to go all the way round. And about as long to find your way back to where (you thought) the toilets were. This was a very spontaneous visit so we only sat in the bar and ate tapas (due to fully booked). I had goat cheese tartlets, sweet potato chips and a lovely spicy lentil dip sauce.
Except for the cool, rotating feature and the yummy tapas, I can’t but roll my eyes to the ridiculous dress code (some people could wear shorts and sneakers, like for example middle age white men, but apparently not if you were, say, 19 and non-white *sigh*) and uptight and impersonal ambiance at this place. Just a warning.
Thai La Ong (the original one), 89-91 King Street
A simple but delicious BYO Thai restaurant, were we met up with some Australian friends, sat at a long table, had some awesome curries and brought our own beer and wine. I really liked the simplicity of it all! Lots of vegetarian options.
If you haven’t heard of Pressed Juices before, it is a cold press juice bar with several stores all over Australia. I’ve been wanting to try their juices for so long! Unfortunately I only got the chance to visit them once (at Bondi Beach), but the Zing 1 juice I had then was ah-mazing! Next time I’ll have to try the Espresso Almond Mylk I think. They’re pretty expensive, so if I lived in for example Melbourne I would probably make my own juices at home, but when you’re a stressed out and hangry tourist who wants to see everything!!! there is to see in the course of a few days, a bottle of Pressed Juices to refill the energy reserves is very convenient.
Places we wanted to visit but didn’t have time/that were closed:
Earth Food Store, Orchard Street Café, Red Lantern, Eveleigh Markets
All photographs, recipes and content are Cashew Kitchen originals, unless otherwise indicated. Please link back to me and credit Cashew Kitchen when sharing. Thanks!