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.