The Good Hearted - Vegan Food in Melbourne

Special Occasion

Wickens at Royal Mail Hotel

Degustation, Dinner, Desserts, Gluten Free, Licensed, Restaurant, Special Occasion, Dunkeld, Regional Victoria, Southern GrampiansThe Good HeartedComment

Wickens at the
Royal Mail Hotel
98 Parker St,
Dunkeld VIC 3294

(03) 5577 2241


Wickens at Royal Mail Hotel Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

On winding down the distinctly native garden path to Wickens at the Royal Mail, the native bird chirps coming from speakers hidden in trees suggest that a live performance by actual birds couldn't be left to chance. Chef Robin Wickens wants this experience to be perfectly curated.

The dining room is moody and dimly lit, drawing our attention to the vast window framing Mount Sturgeon and the ancient gumtrees full of (real) birdlife. Italian hand-blown lights hover over impressive tables made of local solid sandstone, but unfortunately, animal leather placemats and chairs also take pride of place.

The Royal Mail Kitchen Garden is the most productive kitchen garden in Australia and provides all of the produce showcased in the five ($170) or eight-course ($195) degustations. We opted for eight courses (it ends up being more like 12) and ate like vegan royalty for I kid you not, over four hours.

The degustation starts with a series of canapes, such as the 'beetroot pop tart,' 'apple, watercress mustard cracker' and 'fermented radish, smoked maple with leek ash.' Funnily enough, though, it was the homemade sourdough bread that left the most profound impression, and we would go back again for that alone (ok, we may need to save for a bit first).

Other amazing dishes that came our way include 'chickpea pancake, spinach and tofu' and 'watercress custard, porridge oats, black garlic, and flowers.' We enjoyed no less than four deserts, including the playful 'jelly baby vegetables' and a unique 'green tomato on granola with sweet woodruff.'

Wickens at the Royal Mail Hotel was awarded 2 Hats in the 2019 Good Food Guide Awards, along with Regional Wine List of the Year.

Wickens at The Royal Mail isn't straight up vegan. Please specify vegan at the time of booking.


Port Phillip Estate

Desserts, Gluten Free, Licensed, Lunch, Mornington Peninsula, Red Hill, Restaurant, Special OccasionThe Good HeartedComment

Port Phillip Estate
263 Red Hill Road,
Red Hill South VIC 3937

(03) 5989 4444


Opening Hours:
Lunch: Wed-Sun
and public holidays
Dinner: Fri-Sat

Bookings recommended

If you find yourself on the Mornington Peninsula and fancy an experience of 'the good life', head to the monumental 'rammed-earth' fortress of Port Philip Estate for some vegan fine dining while gazing out at the coastal views of Westernport Bay and Bass Strait.

While the Port Philip Estate dining room is far from being an all vegan establishment, they do cater for vegans and manage well with last minute bookings (we booked online only 3 hours in advance and made sure to advise them of our vegan ways).

For our first course, we were presented with a salad of heritage vegetables, including roasted beetroot, local heirloom carrots, baby radish, ancient grains, micro herbs, dijon vinaigrette and olive oil powder (we'd never heard of it either). To follow up, the chef prepared semolina crusted soy bean fillets (the word 'tofu' just doesn't cut it), tomato relish stuffed zucchini flowers, roasted local tomatoes, olive tapenade and herbs from the in-house kitchen garden. 

To accompany the main meal, we shared some 'roasted Hawke's potatoes (from Boneo) with parsley and confit garlic', along with 'wilted organic baby kale with espelette' (which I discovered is a type chilli cultivated in the French village of Espelette).

Dessert was a shared vegan 'Knickerbocker' - sorbet from local cherries and raspberries a top of fresh strawberries, raspberries, mulberries on a base of strawberry jelly (from agar), topped with crunchy almond praline.

Prices are $85 per person for three courses and $68 per person for two courses. The two shared accompaniments were no extra cost.

Port Phillip Estate Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Shu Restaurant

Collingwood, Degustation, Desserts, Gluten Free, Inner North, Licensed, Raw, Restaurant, Special Occasion, DinnerThe Good HeartedComment

147 Johnston Street
VIC 3066
(03) 9090 7878


Opening Hours
Mon-Tues: Closed
Wed-Sun: 6pm-10.30pm
Vegan degustation on Wednesday nights

Encouragement from friends after many a successful dinner party led Shu Liu to open his own modern-Sichuan restaurant in Collingwood back in 2012. With vegan friends in his circle, he became well practiced in adapting Sichuan food for the compassionate eater and now devotes Wednesday nights at Shu to a vegan degustation.

Shu's fitout has a quirky chemistry lab/nightclub feel about it; think beakers, stainless steel, video projections and neon lights. All that aside, it is indeed the vegan food that steals the show.

On our visit, Shu's vegan degustation ($45) started with an impressive chilled platter of three dishes, including a 'Daikon roll of cucumber, smoked tofu, enoki mushroom and asian herbs' in a spicy soy dressing that had a memorable kick. A 'Chilled silken tofu jar of fresh peas, lentils and chickpeas, topped with housemade chilli jam' also featured and had a great mixture of textures.

A few hot plates followed including 'Steamed tofu pockets stuffed with preserved vegetable and roasted almonds' and the most amazing 'Pan fried vegan dumplings' with pickled chilli jam and Chinese vinegar.

Following on were some shared plates that included 'Pan roasted eggplant rolls stuffed with preserved mustard greens and roasted cashews'. The preserved mustard greens can only be described as a salty mouth explosion, which according to Shu is unique to his Sichuan hometown, situated at the beginning of the Yangtze river.

'Crispy fried organic tofu brushed with spicy black bean sauce sprinkled with roasted dried chilli and Sichuan pepper' was another amazing shared plate, paired with perfectly 'Grilled green beans and preserved mustard greens'.

A dessert of 'Raw avocado cheesecake topped with dried blueberries, puffed rice and brown rice syrup' was the perfect end to the meal. It was light and not too sweet, and would definitely entice me back to Shu just so I can have it again.

Thank you to Shu for offering complimentary meals to The Good Hearted.



Gluten Free, Melbourne CBD, Licensed, Restaurant, Degustation, Special OccasionThe Good HeartedComment

187 Flinders Lane
Melbourne VIC 3000
(03) 9639 6811 

Mon-Fri 12-2.30pm
Mon-Sat 6-10.30pm

What better way to start the new year than with a vegan degustation with 11 friends at Ezard - the winner of The Age Good Food Guide 2013 Diners' Choice Award.

The degustation consisted of eight courses for $125 each, and with a group of 12 people we had enough numbers to make use of Ezard's private dining room. The dining room and table was roomy enough to accommodate our expectations, yet still modestly sized enough to allow for easy conversation.

We started with some lovely bread (this was not one of the eight courses - technically there were actually 10 dishes served up!) which prompted an olive oil frenzy, into either salted black pepper or chilli sugar. Unfortunately/fortunately the bread was replenished as soon as it was devoured, so we were mindful to 'save room' for the eight courses that were to follow (as the evening progressed it was clear that some of us had more willpower than others!). The first course to arrive was a Japanese inspired tofu shooter and nori cigar, followed by a white miso soup chaser. The shot was perfectly balanced, with tofu that just melted in the mouth and the spicy aftertaste ensured this first dish as quite a standout. The next course was a light salad of chioggia beetroot and asparagus on an olive sand (tastiest sand I've eaten all Summer!) with micro herbs and a white truffle vinaigrette.

Next up on our gluttonous food journey was steamed spice tofu with chilli, fragrant oils and crispy sweet potato followed by a warm salad of baby carrots, mandarin gel, coconut mousse and puffed rice with a delicious surprise of red quinoa and edamame hidden underneath.

The ante was upped with the 5th course of roasted jerusalem artichoke, pea-puree, asparagus, soft herbs and chive oil. The jerusalem artichoke was quite meaty - a bit like eating vegan scollops (the non-vegan in our party concurred with this). Next up was one of my favourites of the night - sesame rice noodle roll with asian mushrooms, soy mirin broth with black bean crumbs and candied chilli. Unfortunately a couple of us missed out on the rice noodle component of the dish which was a real shame considering how delicious the complete dish was.

We were all filling up by this stage, but Ezard had another savoury dish up its sleeve - caramelised eggplant (which was delightfully smokey) on jasmine rice, coupled with coriander lime salad and yellow curry.

A palette cleanser of mango sorbet with dehydrated strawberry crumbs was next and got us well in the mood for dessert...and oh what a dessert it was - summer berries on a sherbert crumb, blood orange sorbet, strawberry water, raspberry coulis and a sesame twill (see pic at the top of the page). A great way to end the meal.

Eight course vegan degustation: $125