Tuesday, 8 January 2013

New Year, New Eats

Happy New Year everyone! I know I already said that in my last post, but I thought it was best to cover that in case.... I don't know. Anyway.

As I'm sure you've heard (probably from us) time and time again, Brisbane isn't exactly known for it's huge range of veg eating options, but the last few months have seen a vegetable explosion of new places to eat. I thought it would be good to highlight some of the ones we're aware of here: we haven't visited all of them (some are still closed, some are too recent and we haven't had time/are lazy), but hopefully you can let us know if you've been or know someone who has, etc, and we'll add more details when we visit them/as information becomes available.

Botanica
9/1 Enoggera Terrace, Red Hill | www.botanicarealfood.com.au | 3367 3334 | facebook | @botanicafood
Open: 10a-7.30p (M-F), 9a-5.30p (S-S)
(UPDATE DEC 2014 Their new hours: Tue-Fri 9a-6p; Sat/Sun 9a-5p)

Salad lovers: get thee to Red Hill! Opened just three days ago, Botanica has a focus on "real foods".
Positioned just on the corner of Musgrave Rd and Enoggera Tce, it's a prime location, and the shop, small though it is, is beautifully laid out, with simple, clean decor.

We had expected a vegetarian cafe of sorts and, though everything is vegetarian (and most is vegan), it really is just a salad take-away, though this is not a bad thing. Salad is one of those things we never eat for two reasons: firstly, it's usually horribly bland; and secondly, cutting up all those bits to make a tasty salad at home is a pain. I'm sure many share our pain. Rather than rushing around at the last minute trying to make some "WOW" salad to take to a picnic/BBQ/lunch/dinner, and without resorting to some Coles premix salad, simply walk in, pick the salad/s you want, and be on your merry way.

Aside from the salads, they also have some baked goods (we tried the brownies), a muesli made in-house (dry, to take home), a "super-greens" pesto, house aioli, and the de rigueur drinks fridge (from a quick glance, some bottled water and the Parker's Organic Juices).

We got a large box, which was about 30x15cm and was able to fit 5 salads, which came in at $20: a delicious potato salad, a green bean and sweet potato salad, a sort-of chickpea tabbouleh, a beetroot salad, and a carrot salad (former three all delicious, the final two could have done with some more variation in ingredients/flavour/texture). The brownie was $4. According to the chef, the menu will change seasonally, and will remain entirely vegetarian (he hopes). When we went, only one salad was not vegan; I imagine the situation will remain the same as their menu changes.

The menu on their website lists many things that weren't available when we went (it does note that it is a "sample"): presumably different items will be available depending on the day (we were quite excited to try the Brownie with salted coconut caramel, which unfortunately wasn't there when we were). It will be interesting to see how the menu and experience evolves as Botanica continues to grow.


Natascha Mirosch also recently reviewed Botanica for The Queensland Good Food Guide.

Peace Pies
140 Sutton St, Redcliffe | www.peacepies.com.au | facebook
Open: 10a-5p (W-F), 9a-5p (Sat), 9a-3p (Sun), Closed: M-Tues
Opened in December last year, this shop is run by Tracey, who for several years ran the Loving Hut Express stall at Lawnton and Redcliffe Markets. Her "Peace Pies" were available at Loving Hut and The Green Edge for a number of months before the shop itself, and her desserts were available previous available (or may indeed still be available) at Vegerama in the city. The Peace Pies website also lists a number of other stockists around south-east Queensland.

Though the ultimate plan is to convert Peace Pies into a vegan grocery store and cafe, at the time we went there were very few items on the shelves. Pies are $6 each (oddly more expensive than they sell for either frozen at Loving Hut or hot at The Green Edge), or $14 with a side salad (though attractive, unfortunately unseasoned) and curly fries (yes, the Aldi ones, but I'd kill for the seasoning that was on them!). Pie nostalgics can also have their pie with a serving of mushy peas for $1.20. The pies in general aren't my favourite, but I did not mind the Thai pie I had when we went. There are also a range of drinks, including juices, smoothies, milkshakes, coffee, and tea. The menu notes that take-home meals (presumably frozen) are available, though we did not see these when there.

It seems that Peace Pies is still changing a lot as it grows (it was very busy when we went), so prices and menu offerings may have changed since we went (just after Christmas; please let us know if you've been recently!). Their grocery options will also most likely expand in the coming months, though no doubt they are having trouble coping with demand in the cafe!

Peace Pies were recently featured in Quest Newspapers' Redcliffe & Bayside Herald.

(UPDATE DEC 2014 Peace Pies has since closed)

VegeRama
Shop 30, Post Office Square, Brisbane CBD | www.vegerama.com.au | 3220 6000 | facebook
Open: 8.30a-6p (M-F), 9a-5p (Sat), Closed: Sun

The original VegeRama, in the Queen Street Mall Food Court, was for a while one of the only places offering explicitly vegan food (along with many vegetarian options) anywhere in the CBD area. Their new store, next to the Coffee Club on Adelaide Street (under Post Office Square) is exclusively vegan (though there has been some mention of the original store now becoming entirely vegetarian, we are still yet to confirm whether anything has changed).

Unfortunately VegeRama was closed over the Christmas/New Year period, and does not open again January 7 (today!), so we are yet to try it, but it certainly provides a boon of new options for CBD-working/living/visiting veg*ns (and omnivores so inclined!), and is probably the most conveniently located vegetarian restaurant in the great Brisbane area, barely a 5 minute walk from Central Station, and perhaps 7 from King George Square (our friend at Queensland Rail is ridiculously happy to have a convenient lunch so close to work). We will report back ourselves when we try it ourselves (and please let us know of your thoughts if you've been).

The Banana Lounge
170 Boundary St, West End | facebook
Open: 7a-3p (M-F), 8a-3p (Sat), Closed: Sun
Another to open just three days ago, The Banana Lounge was opened (just up the road from The Forest) by the previous owner of The Green Edge. Unfortunately, details are a bit scarce: we know for a fact that there are pies (Ykillamoocow No Bull Pies and Pumpkin & Barely Rolls are the likely culprits), cakes, and drinks (coffee/smoothies, etc). They also have some meals on the menu: pancakes, scrambled tofu, and plates for breakfast and lunch, made by the chef previously from Loving Hut Mt Gravatt. Alas, that is all we know! The rumour mill suggests that this will eventually be a full cafe/bar (evidenced by the newly built bar outside). Details of opening hours are also sketchy, though we'll update this as we know more and when we try it (and let us know if you have).

UPDATE DEC 2014 The Banana Lounge has since closed.

Final Bites:
there is word of a new Indian vegetarian restaurant around Mt Gravatt (opposite Garden City); our sources say it's called Top In Town: apparently it was an omnivore restaurant that has become pure vegetarian (keeping the same name), though the website still lists many meat dishes (perhaps they just haven't updated the website?). We'll have to give it a look, and if it turns out it isn't, we'll just head on down to Su Life instead!

And finally, outside of Brisbane, you may have heard of some changes in Maleny's raw food scene. Though there was word late last year that Kind Living Cafe was moving or perhaps closing, it has since changed hands and will continue to be open in Maleny (25 Maple Street, Maleny). The previous owner, Lucy, is now working on The Raw Food Institute of Australia, which we wait with much anticipation to hear more about, and may also be working on opening a Kind Living Cafe in Brisbane.

Raw & Peace also recently announced that they are closing their doors of their cafe in Maleny, though hopefully this is only temporary while Ames (the owner/chef) regroups. In the mean time, you can get your fix of their amazing treats at the Northey Street Markets on Sunday mornings (raw pizzas and burgers to die for. Live for. Just eat it).



If you know of any other new veg places that have opened around Brisbane/South East Queensland, and/or have tried any of those above, please let us know below. We'll add more details to this post as they become available.

18 comments:

  1. I think it's really exciting that so many veg restaurants have opened in your part of the world. Now let's just hope people eat there and keep them in business. Vegans are taking over the world! (Well, maybe not exactly, but we are making inroads.) Many years ago we spent 5 months in Geelong, and I was impressed with the ease of finding vegan food wherever we went. We ate a lot of lentil burgers (hold the egg) but at least there was an option.

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    1. I think the veg community is pretty good at supporting business (sometimes too much!), so hopefully they'll do well. And I think at least now, a lot of "normal" people are showing an interest in veg food, so hopefully they'll get patronage outside of veg people. It is rather exciting!

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  2. Yay! Lots of new things to check out next time we're in town.

    I can't believe the Redcliffe I grew up in has a veg venue called Peace Pies and that it's busy.

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    1. And hopefully there'll be even more exciting places/news when you come up next!

      (and yes, it's very difficult to believe haha)

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  3. I hope Peace Pies does well where it is. It's a rather down trodden part of the City and nothing in that shop has lasted very long :( We wish her well!

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    1. Yeah, it took us ages to find it; not much happening around it, but some places further up the road looked a little newer, so perhaps there'll be a lot of foot traffic? Regardless, we vegans are used to driving for miles into the middle of no where to eat :P So I'm sure the business will draw a lot of people there (and perhaps even help out some of the other businesses around it?)

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  4. Thanks heaps, I really needed to find this list!! :)

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    1. Glad we could help; hope it's useful :) (and let us know what you think when you check them out!)

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  5. That would be so funny if Top in Town goes veg. Here's why: My hubby is an omnivore, living in a vegan world. Our house is vegan, our 3 children are vegans, and so am I. When he needs a break from the vegan food at home (lots of tempeh and faux meats), he heads to Top In Town for a chicken curry. I would be elated if it turns out he's getting vegetarian food and doesn't realise.

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    1. I think it's a chain, so it's possible that only one of the stores is going veg, but we'll have to check it out next time we're down that way! I don't know that I've ever seen an Indian restaurant that's done fake meat, probably because it isn't in the cuisine, but it would be cool if they did. Fingers crossed!

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  6. Looks like the vegelicious word is getting out there! Botanica looks especially lovely.

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    1. It is! We complain about how backwards and slow Brisbane is sometimes, but we actually have more and more options every time we blink, whether it's new products or new restaurants, or an existing restaurant / cafe recognising the demand for good veg food. It's very heartening (and all the more reason to stay in Brisbane and continue to make it awesome!)

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  7. Great tips! I'll keep these in mind when I'm next visiting the land of Queens

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    1. Thank you! And definitely: Botanica is a rather novel concept, and it's great to see so many more options in popping up in Brisbane and around SEQ.

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  8. Great post - thank you! I am looking forward to trying these out. Have drive past Botanica a few times and it looks so sweet I was going to have a looksie anyway, so exciting to here there are lots of vegie/vegan things to try!

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    1. Thank you: glad you found it useful :) It's very exciting that so many new places have opened in such a short amount of time, and by the looks of things, I think they'll probably become fixtures. It's also really good to see places diversifying (like Botanica: what a different concept!) and spreading out all over Brisbane and SEQ!

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  9. Hi Guys
    Top in Town do indeed have a new pure vegetarian restaurant. It's original store still stands though, they now have 2 in mt gravatt in the same complex.

    Check it out they do the best vege curries i've tried in Brisbane

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  10. Hi Guys
    Top in Town do indeed have a new pure vegetarian restaurant. It's original store still stands though, they now have 2 in mt gravatt in the same complex.

    Check it out they do the best vege curries i've tried in Brisbane

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