The Good Hearted - Vegan Food in Melbourne


Aum Shanti Vegetarian Cafe & Art Gallery (Closed - Replaced by The Dharma Hub)

Cafe, Gluten Free, Mornington Peninsula, Vegan Groceries, Frankston, Raw, South, All VegetarianThe Good Hearted1 Comment

Aum Shanti Vegetarian Cafe & Art Gallery
439 Nepean Hwy
Frankston, VIC 3199
03 9783 2899


Opening Hours:
Mon-Fri: 7:30 am - 5:30 pm
Sat: 10 am - 4 pm
Sun: Closed

Cash Only.

A trip to Frankston to meet a brand new baby boy was the perfect opportunity to also check out the 'much loved by locals' vegetarian cafe Aum Shanti. 

Aum Shanti Vegetarian Cafe & Art Gallery has such an earthy, homely feel that you'd be forgiven for thinking you were in the main street of Daylesford as opposed to seaside 'Franga'. There is a lovely array of homemade meals and salads to choose from in the glass cabinet, or you can order funky pies ($5.50), wraps ($8), sandwiches ($8-8.50), soup of the day ($9 and always vegan) or a lentil and chickpea burger ($9) off the menu. Sourdough toast is the main vegan breakfast option so you'd be better off making your visit to Aum Shanti a lunch date.

I had a 'Lentil & mushroom shepherds pie' with a scoop of quinoa salad ($12, GF) and it was a truly comforting homemade meal. The quinoa salad had a great crunch thanks to the addition of toasted seeds. A non vegan friend also partook in this dish and was as equally impressed.

There are plenty of vegan sweets on offer including lemon melting moments ($2), Mr Nice Guy cupcakes ($4.50), an assortment of chocolates, and some raw desserts by Naked Treaties. We gave the raw choc mint slice ($7) a whirl and it was reminiscent of the peppermint and chocolate layer cake at Shoku Iku - very rich so ideal to share. The Nickers Bar ($4) - a raw, vegan, sugar free 'snickers', was an ideal accompaniment to my soy latte ($4 - includes 50c soycharge). If soy milk isn't your thing, you can also have your coffee made with organic rice or almond milk, which will also attract an extra 50 cents - as does organic coffee.

Along with being a great lunch place, Aum Shanti stocks a few vegan products which you would be hard pressed to find anywhere else on the peninsula.

Notzarella, Castlemaine dips, Sweet Freedom 'vegan honey', Plamil organic chocolate spread, vegan jelly crystals and vegan condensed milk are among the loot. This cafe is a shining light in Frankston, and we're sure it will continue to be for many years to come.


The Sweetwater Inn (Closed Down)

Gluten Free, South, South Yarra, Pub, RestaurantThe Good Hearted3 Comments

Sweetwater Inn
1/60 Bray Street,
South Yarra VIC 3141
0402 532 578


Opening Hours:
Tues - Fri:
4:00 pm - 11:00 pm

Sat - Sun:
12:00 pm - 11:00 pm

Sweetwater Inn has closed.

Sweetwater Inn is a new faux pub in South Yarra that has been given a leg up by Shannon Martinez - the brainchild of vegan heaven South. Shannon will be at Sweetwater Inn until May (although her menu will remain), before she embarks on her own all vegan deli/eatery. We checked out the food at Stillwater over the Easter break.

We started with the 'Bubble and squeak croquettes' ($10) which are vegan by default, and served with Shannon's own herbed aioli - which she plans to bottle and sell in her new deli - and which will surely become a staple condiment in every Melbourne vegan household! The croquettes were soooo delicious; crispy on the outside with fluffy potato, carrots and peas on the inside which coupled with the incredible aioli, we couldn't find fault.

Next in line were the much blogged about vegan 'BBQ prawn skewers' ($15, gluten free), served with aioli, grilled lemon, chips and salad. The prawns which are barbequed with garlic and herbs, are light and fresh and are complemented with a good squeeze of the grilled lemon. The beer battered chips (using Fosters which is indeed vegan) are equal to the famed Gasometer chips and the dressed salad and addictive aioli seal the deal.

My sidekick couldn't look beyond the vegan optional (VO) 'Chip buttie with the lot' ($12), no matter how much I tried to sway him towards the VO 'Fosters fish and chips' ($16). To our delight, Shannon kindly provided a piece of vegan fish (nori wrapped and battered soy fish) for him to try and after all these years, he is now a faux fish convert. The chip buttie consisted of a soft burger bun, stacked with crispy chips, vegan bacon, beetroot and vegan cheese slice - all topped with tomato sauce and accompanied by pickled onions and dressed salad. A simple dish that hit the spot.

There are some more vegan options on the menu which we'll back to try. The vegan 'Pineapple and chipotle glazed ham steak' ($15, gluten free) was sold out when we visited, and there is also a VO 'Rissole sandwich' ($15), a VO 'Crispy calamari salad' ($16, gluten free) and a VO pie (c/o La Panella) floater ($16).

Whilst Sweetwater Inn doesn't have a full vegan menu like South (and there are some off putting skulls and a cow hide on display), it will still be a welcome addition for residents who are otherwise relatively starved of good vegan options in the area.

GH: Menu has changed since this post. View here for current menu.


Also visited recently by: Veganise This!

St Ali - South / Passion Foods

Bonsoy, South, South Melbourne, Organic, Shop, Vegan GroceriesThe Good HeartedComment

St Ali - South
12-18 Yarra Pl,
South Melbourne VIC 3205
(03) 9686 2990


Opening Hours:
Open 7 days, 7am-6pm

Passion Foods
219 Ferrars St,
South Melbourne VIC 3205
Phone: 03 9690 9339

Opening Hours:
Mon-Fri 8am - 7.30pm
Sat 8am - 7pm
Sun 9am - 6pm

After checking out the Rainbow Warrior which was docked at Port Melbourne on the weekend, we went off in search of breakfast in the unfamiliar territory of South Melbourne. After scanning the menus of a few cafes near the South Melbourne market, we ended up off the main drag at the very busy, but large, St Ali - South (there is also a St Ali - North in Carlton).

After scanning the menu, I noticed a vegan option right away that I had to try - the 'Wholefoods gluten free sandwich' ($16) which is a braised kale sandwich on gluten free bread with saffron chickpeas, sumac onion, vegan mayo and green salad. This sandwich deserves a much more exciting name as it's absolutely sensational! The kale is deliciously crispy and seasoned, the saffron chickpea is in a soft pattie that is amazing with the red cabbage and creamy vegan mayo and if you're accustomed to gluten free bread, then you'll especially appreciate how good this bread is!

My sidekick was set on a more traditional breakfast, so he opted for a DIY option of some extras  including field mushrooms ($4.50), roasted tomatoes ($4.50) and fresh avocado ($4.50) on sourdough ($2). Whilst this made for a simple breakfast, every element was cooked to perfection - he was especially impressed with the roasted tomatoes, which 'rival' the confit tomatoes at Wide Open Road. A point to note if ordering extras is that the bean ragout isn't vegetarian, let alone vegan (what's up with cafes ruining perfectly good beans with ham hock and the like?!).

St Ali roast their own coffee beans which are also for sale, so needless to say their coffee was great - and good ol' Bonsoy is used at no extra charge which seals the deal nicely.

If you pay a visit to St Ali - South, be sure to also swing by the nearby Passion Foods to stock up on a variety of vegan groceries including vegan yoghurts (CO-YO!), ice creams, cheeses (Vegusto!), snack bars and more. There's also a good array of take home organic vegan salads that may take your fancy.

St Ali Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Licensed, Takeaway, South, Restaurant, Gluten Free, Albert ParkThe Good HeartedComment

Misuzus Restaurant
3-7 Victoria Avenue,
Albert Park VIC 3026

03 9699 9022

Opening Hours:
Open 7 days, Midday-10pm 

After an afternoon at the beach and in need of an easy takeaway dinner, all we could think of was "Oooh, I wish South was still open!" (Clearly, South had being making vegan life way too easy for us!). So the racking of the brains began, and we remembered that Misuzu's Japenese Restaurant has an awesome take home section that could sort us out.

The refrigerated glass cabinet was glowing with all sorts of tasty Japanese treats, including some delightful looking cold snacks of Sesame Tofu and Pea Croquettes. Unfortunately, neither of these were vegan as they contained egg (ughh, arrow through my hungry heart!). We got over that and our attention wandered to the selection of salads - all vegan!

We liked the look of the Hijiki Salad, Tofu & Veg Salad and the Sweet Potato Salad and snapped them up, leaving behind the Soba Noodle & Veg Salad and Green Seaweed Salad for another day. Prices for a large takeaway container of salad (choice of 2) is $9, while the small size (choice of 2 salads) is $6.20.

The Hijiki Salad had hijiki seaweed, julienne carrots and soy beans and was splendid. Even better was the Sweet Potato Salad, which was seriously amazing, with green beans, sesame and crushed nuts. The tofu in the Tofu & Veg Salad was firm on the outside, so silky in the middle and the dressing had a nice hint of chilli.  

We'd also picked up some vegan uramaki ($2.30 each) that contained seaweed salad, cucumber, carrot and sesame seeds. The accompaniment of white pickled ginger was much appreciated, especially as I recently learnt that the pink pickled ginger is sometimes white ginger that has been dyed using cochineal.

So next time you take yourself off for a swim at a southside beach, follow our lead and check out Misuzu's for a quick and healthy take home vegan meal or if you're not in a rush to return home, their restaurant is worth checking out too.

Misuzu's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Monk Bodhi Dharma

All Vegetarian, Bonsoy, Cafe, Gluten Free, Organic, SouthThe Good HeartedComment

Monk Bodhi Dharma
Rear 202 Carlise Street,
Balaclava VIC 3183
03 9534 7250

Open 7 days. Open for dinner of Friday nights - bookings necessary.

Monk Bodhi Dharma has possibly ruined all weekend breakfasts for me - simply because their food and coffee is sooo good that we'll never be able to go anywhere else again.

Big call? Well yes it is, but mainly because MBD is in Balaclava and too far away from us to visit every single weekend. The fact that we do make the trek regularly though, is testament to the fact that they really know what they're doing. The menu is all vegetarian (dairy available, no eggs) but the majority of choices are vegan and everything is vegan optional.

I always get a vegan version of "The Avo" ($15.50) which is smashed avocado with mint, chilli and lemon on top of a vegan cashew sour cream spread on organic sourdough. The avocado mix is always stacked generously high and really is the most special avocado on toast I've had.

My sidekick always gets the vegan version of Umami Mushrooms ($18.50) which is a rather decadent mix of creamy slow roasted oyster, shitake and swiss brown mushrooms on house made pumpkin, spinach and sundried tomato polenta bread. The vegan cashew sour cream also makes an appearance on top of the polenta bread. It's just as delicious as it sounds and looks a work of art to boot.

If you visit Monk Bodhi Dharma it's also worth checking out the Coles on Camden Street, Balaclava for vegan Vienetta's (about $17 each) and other non dairy ice-cream treats and frozen delights such as vegan boreks. Rishon Foods at 23 William Street, Balaclava also has plenty of vegan foods including ice-cream desserts and homemade fresh fruit sorbets. They also stock some great vegan whipping cream (should you need to make a vegan chocolate ripple cake!) and plenty of other goodies. Rishon is closed Saturdays but open Sundays.

Monk Bodhi Dharma Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The Isthmus of Kra (Closed Down)

Restaurant, Special Occasion, South Melbourne, South, DessertsThe Good HeartedComment

The Isthmus of Kra
50 Park Street
South Melbourne VIC 3205
03 9690 3688

After a long and sunny afternoon in South Melbourne for a friends birthday, our group had the growing need for a close by and vegan friendly place for dinner. We racked our brains and remembered Shakahari's sister restaurant, The Isthmus of Kra.

The Isthmus of Kra is predominantly southern Thai cuisine and unfortunately not 100% vegetarian like Shakahari. There are some vegan winners on the menu though and the staff are also very willing to 'veganise' anything. As it's kind of pricey, we didn't have entrees but can report on these two options: Monsoon Oysters - Vegan Version (silken tofu, oyster mushrooms and baby spinach topped with herbs, spiced lime, and lemongrass dressing - $14) and Cassava Mushroom Pillows (beancurd pastry rolls with a mixture of mushrooms, julienned cassava, roasted almond flakes and herbs - hot plate seared, with a wasabi mustard herbal salsa - $15). Hmmm, what were we thinking... we should have had entrees...

We did try the Vegetarian Dialogue ($18.50) and it was a delightful conversation (ha!) of french black puy lentils, steamed baby spinach, tofu crisps, beanshoots, crushed macadamia and snow pea strips - all tossed in a caramelized chilli and kombu dashi dressing. The crunch of the tofu crisps and macadamia really made this salad something special - it was a delight and sizeable enough for sharing.

We also had a Mushroom, Tofu and Vegetable Laksa ($23.50). It wasn't a typical spicy sour soup laksa, but a saucy tamarind curry with ginger flower, kaffir lime leaves and Vietnamese mint. The laksa was full of different delicious mushrooms which I especially loved along with the juicy tofu strips. It also had thai green eggplant in it which I really didn't like, but that could just be me?!

There are vegan desserts including Tofu Caramel with Crushed Toffee Pistachio ($12.50) which is also an old favourite at Shakahari. I believe the Caramelised Mango, Black Rice Pudding with Shredded Coconut ($13.50) was also vegan (will confirm).

Price: Pricey but a bit special too.


Purple Patch (Closed Down)

All Vegetarian, Cafe, South, SandringhamThe Good HeartedComment

Purple Patch has closed down - for archive purposes only

Purple Patch
19 Bay Road,
Sandringham VIC 3191
Phone: 03 9598 2378

Open 7 days. Breakfast/Lunch.

I live in Melbourne's north but still have a group of dear old friends on the Mornington Peninsula, where I grew up. Our catchups usually involve a long drive for me down to the peninsula to eat somewhere with very limited vegan options - but not today! As I had the final word on where we would meet, I decided to take to the web and find somewhere half way between Melbourne and the peninsula that would cater for the compassionate eater. I discovered Purple Patch in Sandringham.

Purple Patch is an all vegetarian/vegan cafe and their brunch menu didn't disappoint. Scrambled tofu, a vegan breakfast fry up, vegan pancakes and of course, the trusty avo on toast were all on offer. I ordered creamy mushrooms with spinach on thick cut multigrain sourdough (all vegan) and it was really fresh and delicious. The coffee is from Monk Bodhi Dharma's Roastery and my soy latte (with Bonsoy) was well and truly up to my fussy standard. The display cabinet had some lunch offerings of lasagne, eggplant parmigiana and some wraps and salads. More excitingly though, were the array of vegan cakes and biscuits - which I'll have to come back to try. 

We had a few issues with a really long wait for our meals, but the lovely lady who served us made up for it with free appetizers of lovely nutty vegan savoury pastries. After our meals we continued to chat for a while and were also spoilt with complimentary mini vegan pancakes as a further apology for the wait! This well and truly made up for any of the service niggles we experienced. 

Price: Reasonable. Creamy mushrooms with spinach on toast - $12. Soy latte - $4.

Also visited by Veganise This! , where's the beef?