When Jess Ivers and Dan Pinne visited Paris and discovered that a vegan tour was on offer in the land of foie gras and buttery croissants, they thought, well, if you can have a vegan tour there, then you can definitely have one in vegan-friendly Melbourne. Soon after, in May 2018, Melbourne Vegan Tours was born.
We joined Jess on a vegan tour of St Kilda, meeting her at 2pm in front of iconic Luna Park. She’s down to earth and friendly, and as you’d expect on a vegan tour, the other attendees are the same. Our tour is a small group of four, and numbers don’t exceed ten people so that it can remain an intimate experience; this is much more of a walk and eat with friends vibe rather than the wrangling of a bunch of strangers in name tags.
An adult ticket for the St Kilda vegan tour will set you back $105 (or less if you book a group of 3 or more) and includes all of the food throughout the tour – and trust us – you won’t go hungry. We’d like to thank Jess and Melbourne Vegan Tours for the gift of hosting us on this tour. Check them out here: https://melbournevegantours.com
Here’s where we went:
Ground Yourself Cafe
First stop on our vegan tour of St Kilda is to Ground Yourself Cafe, which makes the cut thanks to it being voted as having the best coffee in Melbourne on BeanHunter.
We sample delicious delights from the Vegan Big Breakfast ($22.50) which includes fabulous scrambled tofu, fresh sauerkraut (this did not come from a tin!), a lovely mushroom jam and more. The house beans are rich and smokey, and a real stand out.
Other options on offer are a variety of cold bowls (all GF $17)), including an Acai Bowl and a Dragon Fruit Bowl (Superfood Pitaya (Dragon Fruit), Mango, Banana, and Passionfruit topped with Buckwheat Granola, Coconut Flakes and Fresh Fruit).
Most lunch items are also vegan and gluten-free, and include a Buddha Bowl ($17) and a Burrito Bowl ($19), although bacon from pigs, eggs, and dairy are also on the menu.
Melbourne Vegan Tour inclusion: Coffee or Prana chai, Breakfast board and smokey beans to share
Mon-Fri: 7am–6pm | Sat-Sun: 8am - 6pm | Public holiday: 8am onwards
After getting caffeinated, we next stopped by the store Empower – a social enterprise helping girls and women from Asia whose lives have been impacted by HIV/AIDS, human trafficking, and abuse. These women make all goods in the store with profits going back to them. Through rescue, rehabilitation, medical care, and ongoing nurture and skill development, these people have been able to turn their lives around, giving them a brighter future.
Melbourne Vegan Tour inclusion: 10% off all items in the store. (You may, of course, want to let them keep the 10% as a much-deserved donation)
Note: Not all items in-store are vegan
Trippy Taco Southside
After a stroll down the leafiest part of Acland Street, our next stop is Trippy Taco's "southside" restaurant. It's a colourful space with more indoor seating (and perhaps more character) than it's "northside" sister restaurant, but the Mexican-style street food is just as good.
We indulged in the crowd-pleasing vegan Tofu Asada Burrito ($13.50) with its seasoned chargrilled tofu, salad, salsa, guacamole, lime, and maybe the odd sultana thrown in for good measure (don't worry, it works). The vegan nachos (small $13) are made with those yummy corn tortilla chips (no Dorritos or CCs here) and include all the vegan trimmings, including sour cream. Just keep in mind that most items aren't straight-up vegan – always ask for the vegan version.
Melbourne Vegan Tour inclusion: Half a Tofu Asada Burrito each and Vegan Nachos to share.
Mon-Thur: 5pm–9pm | Fri-Sat: 12.30pm–9pm | Sun: 12.20pm–8.30pm
A refreshing walk along the foreshore brought us back into the heart of Acland Street and into Good Love, an all-vegan bar with food. It has a friendly and playful atmosphere (um, you can play Nintendo) and an exciting all vegan food menu – I'm talking a "Bacon and Egg Brioche" ($16) and banana blossom "Phish and Chips" ($23). YUM.
We all tried a slice of New York Pizza ($8), including a "Calabrese" with salami, napoli, cheese sauce and chilli oil, and an "Anti Pasto" with napoli, cheese sauce, feta, parmesan crisp, olives and rice paper prosciutto. The pizza dough has a pink tinge thanks to a waste-free approach of utilising excess beetroot from the kitchen – and it's of a more homely style than traditional pizza.
Melbourne Vegan Tour Inclusions: Cocktail or Soft Drink and a Slice of New York Pizza.
Mon: Closed | Tue-Fri: 11am–11pm | Sat-Sun: 9am–11pm
To top off our afternoon of eating, walking, and chatting to good people, we made our way to the traditional Italian gelateria, Piccolina. Everything is made from scratch here, and the fresh fruit vegan sorbet is hard to beat. There is dark chocolate, passionfruit, lemon, strawberry as well as the odd bonus flavour on offer.
Melbourne Vegan Tour Inclusions: 1 x vegan sorbet each.
Mon-Thu: 2–10pm | Fri-Sat: 2–10:30pm | Sun: 12–10pm