Mar 13, 2014

The Cruelty Free Shop

The Cruelty Free Shop: Shopfront

I'll never forget discovering The Cruelty Free Shop online store back in 2001, when easy access to exciting vegan groceries just didn't exist. For the first time, I could easily buy exciting things (well, they were exciting back then) such as 'Pamarzano' (a now discontinued vegan parmesan - see Bellissimo Parmesan), Lamyong mushroom chunks and Sweet William milk chocolate.

The Cruelty Free Shop product range has come a long way since then, and now boasts over 1500 vegan products which can also be purchased from their recently opened Fitzroy store. Conveniently positioned next door to veg*n fast food joint Lord of the Fries, once inside you'll be greeted shelves and fridge/freezers full of every vegan food stuff you could imagine. Seriously, we even found a vegan tart glaze!

Along with all of the food, you can also purchase vegan handbags, wallets, belts and shoes along with Edgar's Mission fundraising merchandise. Cleaning products, cosmetics, vitamins and books are also on offer.

As pioneers in the vegan grocery world, we welcome The Cruelty Free Shop to Melbourne and wish them every success.

Mon: 12 - 5.30pm
Tue-Fri: 11am - 6.30pm
Sat: 10am - 5pm
Sunday: 11am - 5pm

The Cruelty Free Shop
385 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy VIC 3065 Australia
83 Glebe Point Road, Glebe NSW 2037 Australia

Phone: 03 9495 6673 / 02 9660 9426
Email: /

The Cruelty Free Shop: Vegan chocolates and baking goods

The Cruelty Free Shop: Vegan pantry items
The Cruelty Free Shop: Lollies!
The Cruelty Free Shop: Vegan bags
The Cruelty Free Shop: Edgar's Mission Merch

Mar 1, 2014


CERES Cafe: Dukkah Tofu ($15)

CERES Cafe is located in Brunswick East's popular Community Environment Park - where much of the produce used by the cafe is organically grown on the grounds and 90% of the menu uses certified organic goods. The vegan options at CERES cafe have become plentiful lately so we thought it deserved a fresh visit.

The 'Dukkah Eggs' ($15 GFO, VO) with tofu instead of eggs is fabulous. Fried tofu, homemade hummus, pumpkin sourdough, raw spinach and spicy tomato kassundi is a winning combination; however there is only so much undressed raw spinach that one will feel inclined to eat, and there was a little too much for my palate.

'Hot Indonesian Eggs' ($15.60 GF, VO) is an old menu item that is now offered with smoked tofu instead of eggs - hallelujah! Fried smoked tofu on brown rice served with chilli sambal, spring onions, mint, coriander, salad greens, roasted peanuts and a fragrant tamari dressing combine to make a fiery and filling breakfast. The chilli sambal can pack a punch, so beware if you can't handle the heat!

Another vegan option is the 'Green Eggs' ($15 GFO, VO), which also comes with tofu in lieu of eggs along with creamy rosemary white beans (perhaps inspired by A Minor Place) on toasted pumpkin bread, a macadamia parsley gremolata and raw spinach.

There are also some traditional 'Slow Cooked Beans' ($12.50 GFO) on offer, and a 'Quinoa and Roast Beetroot Salad' ($15 GF) which are available as vegan. The 'Tomato, roast vegetable and red lentil' soup of the day ($9.50) was also vegan on our visit.

Coffee is organic and fairtrade, with no soycharge for a soy latte ($3.80) using Nature's Soy.

The CERES cafe composts all organic waste, recycles plastic, paper and waste water and uses solar electricity and tank water. All profits earned from the cafe go towards supporting other CERES projects and programs.

Mon-Fri: 9am - 4pm
Sat-Sun: 9am - 5pm


CERES Cafe (located in CERES Community Environment Park)
Cnr Roberts and Stewart Streets, Brunswick East, 3057

Phone: 03 9389 0155

Also visited recently by: where's the beef?

CERES Cafe: Hot Indonesian Smoked Tofu ($15.60)

CERES Cafe: Soup Special

Ceres Café on Urbanspoon

Feb 8, 2014

Veggie Villa

Veggie Villa: Macro Gold Veggie Bowl (GF $13.50)

Veggie Villa has recently opened in Flemington and is hopefully set to breathe new life into the vegan friendly dining scene in the area.

With the stark interior of the restaurant and dangerously long menu of raw, Indian, Mexican, Asian, salads, burgers and wraps, smoothies and desserts, we didn't hold high expectations for Veggie Villa; our fears were indeed allayed however when our food arrived.

I tried the 'Macro gold veggie bowl' (GF $13.50) with green salad, steamed vegetables, biodynamic brown rice, sprouts, tempeh and wakame - with miso gravy and satay sauce on the side. It was pretty good, but not quite comparable to the 'Macro Dragon Bowl' at Yong Green Food.

We also had the 'Mexican red chilli bean' (GF $14) with spicy red chilli beans, biodynamic brown rice, salad, guacamole and cashew cheese which was a healthy and hearty feed. There are dozens more dishes on offer which we'll be back to try including, 'Raw pizza' ($10), 'Raw lasagne' ($12), 'Stir fry mock chicken' ($14), 'Smoked eggplant curry' ($14) and a vegan 'Pho' ($12).

For dessert there are a variety of raw vegan cheesecakes ($7), including chocolate, blueberry and white chocolate. A 'Raw pecan tart' ($7) and 'Raw brownie' ($6) is also on offer, and all desserts are organic, vegan and gluten free. We took a 'Raw chocolate cheesecake' to go and it was deliciously rich, whilst being not too sweet.

Veggie Villa
331 Racehorse Road,
Flemington VIC 3031

7 days: 11am-10pm

Takeaway and home delivery available (min $30).

facebook page

Also visited recently by Vegawesome!

Veggie Villa: Mexican red chilli bean (GF $14)
Veggie Villa: Raw chocolate cheesecake ($7)

Veggie Villa on Urbanspoon

Feb 2, 2014

Gelato Messina

Gelato Messina: Mango sorbet ($4)

Gelato Messina make all of their gelatos and sorbets from scratch using raw and natural ingredients and have had queues out the door since opening up on Smith Street in Fitzroy. All of the current sorbet flavours (in the first cabinet) are vegan and the ones we tried were sensational.

We sampled the 'Salted coconut and mango salsa' flavour, which is reminiscent of salted caramel and unsurprisingly, incredibly delicious. The 'mango' flavour was also top notch and surprise, surprise tasted of unadulterated mango! Just be careful about visiting on a hot day... you'll be in for a daunting wait out the door and down the street.

The full vegan sorbet list is as follows:
  • Salted Coconut and Mango Salsa
  • Blood Orange
  • Cherry
  • Chocolate Sorbet
  • Lemon
  • Mango
  • Pandan & Coconut (pandan is a green asian leaf used in asian cooking)
  • Passionfruit
  • Raspberry
  • Strawberry
Prices: 1 scoop ($4), 2 scoops ($6), 3 scoops ($7)

Gelato Messina
237 Smith St,
Fitzroy Vic 3065

Sydney/NSW Stores

Sun - Thurs: 12pm to 11pm
Fri - Sat: 12pm to 11.30pm

Gelato Messina: Vegan Sorbet Cabinet

Gelato Messina: Salted Coconut & Mango Salsa Sorbet ($4)

Gelato Messina on Urbanspoon

Jan 17, 2014

Green Refectory

Green Refectory: Vegan spicy sweet potato and pinenut parcel w/ salads ($8.75)

Green Refectory cafe has being a popular haunt on Sydney Road since it opened a decade ago, largely due to it's offerings of healthy, tasty food without the hefty price tag.

A visit to this cafe on a weekend can be challenging due to the fact that you need to secure your own table among the crowds and then order at the counter near the busy doorway after navigating the huge blackboard menu behind the counter to decide on what you want (read on, and you can arm yourself with what to order).

The standout vegan option at Green Refectory is the vegan 'Scrambled tofu w/ mountain bread and picked veg' ($10) which is such great value. The lightly spiced scrambled silken tofu with caramelised onion is among the best on offer in Melbourne, and surely must be cheapest. The pickled veg can include pickled beetroot, olives and a pickled cucumber/carrot combo.

Another savoury vegan offering is the 'Spicy sweet potato and pinenut parcel' with I opted to have with a couple of vegan salads ($8.75), including a tahini broccoli salad and a spicy lentil salad (which was the standout). Soup ($6.95) is another option for lunch and on our recent visit there was a vegan 'Pumpkin soup', along with a vegan 'Pumpkin, lentil and ginger soup' on offer.

For sweets, I spotted a vegan 'Apple & ginger loaf' ($3.50) among a crowd of cakes in the front glass cabinet. Coffee is $3.70 which includes a 70 cent soycharge for Nature's Soy.

Green Refectory
115 Sydney Rd Brunswick VIC 3056

Phone: 03 9387 1150

Mon-Sat: 7am - 8pm
Sun: 8am - 6pm

Cash Only

Also visited recently by: where's the beef

Green Refectory: Scrambled tofu w/ mountain bread and pickled veg ($10)

Green Refectory on Urbanspoon

Dec 7, 2013

Spring Street Grocer

Spring Street Grocer: 'Tofu and corn fritter w/ curried cashews, cucumber & coriander' ($9.50) 

The Spring Street Grocer is an impressive organic grocery store, come takeaway lunch spot, come gelateria. The vegan options for lunch are impressive, as are the bountiful vegan sorbet and gelato options.

For lunch, you can't go past the 'Tofu and corn fritter w/ curried cashews, cucumber & coriander' ($9.50) complete with a side of salted potato chips. An 'Open vegan salad sandwich' ($8.50) is also available.

If a burger doesn't take your fancy, you could try one of the daily 'organic, non dairy, wholefood salads' ($8 small, $12 large) or a takeaway vegan soup. The catch with these delicious lunches is that they are available only on weekdays (11am-3pm) so will be of benefit mainly to those lucky office workers nearby. There is very limited seating inside, so takeaway is a good option.

The grocery store is jam-packed with an assortment of organic goodies, many of which are vegan. The cold pressed juices (made on site) are highly recommended and you can also stock up on vegan yoghurts (coyo and babushka), as well as many vegan chocolate varieties.

The gelato/sorbet bar has 8-9 vegan flavours that change daily. All of the sorbets are vegan, and the vegan gelati varieties have a base of almond, oat, rice or coconut milk in lieu of dairy. The sorbet flavours are quite exotic and include 'pear & cinnamon', strawberry & mint' and 'white nectarine & basil' - they are divine. Vegan gelato flavours include 'chocolate & orange' and 'zesty coconut'.

Coffee is $3.30 (plus 40c soycharge for Pureharvest Nature's Soy). Espresso is $2.

Grocer: Mon-Fri: 8am-10pm, Sat-Sun: 9am-10pm
Rolls/Burgers available Weekdays Only: 11am-3pm
Gelateria: Mon-Fri: 7am-12am, Sat-Sun: 9am-12am (Cash Only)

157 Spring St, Melbourne VIC 3000
(03) 9639 0335

This is an amended post. The 'Tempeh burger w/ kimchi and abc sauce' which was highlighted in the original post is not vegan as it contains fish sauce. The following apology was received from Spring Street Grocer:

"Firstly, let me apologise for the misinformation provided to you. The Tempeh Burger is not a vegan option as it does contain fish sauce.

We take this incident very seriously and I can assure you that we will be looking into this matter to prevent such an incident happening again.

As a responsible business, we endeavour to train all our staff on the products that we sell. So we appreciate you contacting us and making us aware of this situation.

We love the blog and always value your feedback and comments."

Spring Street Grocer:
Cold pressed juices 
Spring Street Grocer: Organic, non dairy, wholefood salads ($8 small, $12 large)
Spring Street Grocer: Vegan Chocolate
Spring Street Grocer
Spring Street Grocer:
Pear & Cinnamon / Strawberry & Mint Sorbet
Spring Street Grocer:
Gelato/Sorbet prices

Spring St Grocer on Urbanspoon

Nov 20, 2013


Wonderbao: Vegie Pack ($8.20)

Wonderbao is a hidden little gem devoted to the humble steamed bun. It's a little tricky to find if you haven't been before, so we suggest ignoring it's official address and heading down Literature Lane (off Little Latrobe Street) where you can't miss it; just look out for the green milk crate seats out the front.

The great thing about Wonderbao is that all of the savoury vegetarian offerings are vegan. There is 'Choi bao' ($2.20), a steamed bun filled with shitake mushrooms, tofu and vegetables and a 'Fried silky tofu gua bao' ($4.20), which is a thoroughly delicious open steamed bun with pickled mustard, coriander, sweet soy sauce and crushed peanuts. For dessert, a vegan 'Taro bao' ($2) hits the sweet spot nicely.

We tried all 3 vegan offerings in a vegie lunch pack for $8.20, which offered a monumental saving of 20 cents. Wonderbao also make their own organic soy milk ($3) which is served hot or cold, ladled into a takeaway cup. Regrettably I didn't try the soy milk as it's out of my comfort zone to drink soy milk straight up - I'll vow to be more adventurous next time.

4/19-37 A'Beckett St, Melbourne VIC 3000
(accessible via Literature Lane - off Little Latrobe Street)

Phone: (03) 9654 7887

Mon-Fri: 8am - 6pm
Saturday: 11am - 4pm
Sunday: Closed

Cash only

Also visited recently by: veganopoulous

Wonderbao: Choi bao ($2.20)
Wonderbao: Taro bao ($2)
Wonderbao: Literature Lane (Off Little Latrobe Street)

Wonderbao on Urbanspoon