Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Veg Eats in West End

Up until embarrassingly recently, I bemoaned the lack of veg options in West End. It's so hip and alternative and dirty; it should be OVERRUN with vegetarians and food for them!

I spent so much time bemoaning this that I somehow failed to notice how often I was eating there. No longer must vegans be relegated to coping with The Forest (I don't care what anyone tells you; just no) or scrounging options from the outwardly-vegan-friendly-seeming-but-oh-wait-it's-not 3 Monkeys! Go forth, my veg friends, for there is food to be eaten!

I will attempt to keep this post updated as we go more places and existing places add new items. If you have a favourite place that isn't on this list, let us know in the comments so we can check it out!

Note on public transport and parking: All of these places are within a short walk of bus stops serviced by high frequency 199 bus, which can be caught from the city of the Cultural Centre. Most parking on main streets in West End are metered or are short parking, but if you look on side streets, you can sometimes find unmetered parking (for example, Thomas St is metered where it comes off Vulture Street, but is unmetered from about halfway down).

Shop 1/60 Vulture Street (The West Quarter), West End
07 3844 6696 | |
Mon: 11am - 8pm | Tues-Thurs: 11am - 6pm | Fri: 11am - 8pm | Sat: 8am - 8pm
Parking around the back between the shops and the West Quarter Apartments, otherwise there is parking in nearby streets. Right across the road from a bus stop.
Wheelchair accessible from street and parking (there's a ramp next to The Cupcake Parlour, though it is quite narrow and the seating for the Cupcake Parlour is sometimes in the way). All tables are quite high, though the counter is not.
Vegan, vegetarian and omnivorous options available; no gluten free gyoza dumplings though some lunch specials may be gluten free.

Originally, Zagyoza was a stall at a few markets around Brisbane, but a few months ago they finally secured a permanent location in the West Quarter on Vulture Street.

The best part about Zagyoza are their daily lunch specials: $10 gets you either a salad and 4 gyoza, or a hot meal and 3 gyoza. They announce their specials on their facebook page every day around 11am, or you can just turn up and be surprised! I've had some truly fantastic meals here, and it's always something different. Sometimes they won't have a vegetarian or vegan special, so it's good to check the facebook page, but sometimes they'll be able to change the omni special to make it vegan or vegetarian, so it doesn't hurt to ask.

Left: Cold soba noodles with grilled tofu topped with house made BBQ sauce (which I could drink)
Right: Bean sprout and rice noodle salad with capsicum salsa and hot eggplant relish

As well as their permanent shop, they also regularly attend the Mitchelton Markets and the Powerhouse Markets; times they attend these are listed on their website. If you can't wait for them to be open, they also sell frozen take-home packs of gyoza which you can cook up at home (these are also sold at some delis, so find out from them if they're available closer to you). Last but not least, they also do catering trays in case you're having a party, or really want to see if you can eat 100 gyoza in one sitting.


71 Russell St, West End
07 3844 4444 | |
Mon - Sat: 7am - 3pm | Closed Sunday
Onstreet parking nearby, none on premises. 2 minute walk from Boundary St bus stop.
Shop accessed directly off the street. Interior is quite narrow and tables are pushed quite close together. Meals are ordered and paid for at a counter. A mix of vegetarian, vegan, and omnivorous items; some vegetarian items can be made vegan by omitting certain ingredients. Unsure about availability of GF options. Inside, undercover and outside seating.

Matt went here a few months ago, and since then I have returned several times. The menu is small, but manages to pack a lot in (like a wrap! Oh, they're so meta...). The wraps themselves are the most delicious, puffy homemade panbread, and the fillings manage to strike a balance between tasting both wholesome and delicious. Wraps range between $9 and $12, so it makes a good quick lunch on the go (though I have often experienced quite a wait even at quiet times, so if you're in a rush, it's probably worth calling up). The Zen Wrap and Satay Tofu wrap are my favourites.

Unfortunately, there is no information on their website except their location.

El Torito
146 Boundary St, West End
07 3844 5977 | |
Lunch Wed-Fri: 12pm - 2pm
Dinner Tues - Sun: 5:45pm - Late | Kitchen closes at 9pm | Closed Mondays
Onstreet parking nearby, none on premises. Bus stop is right outside.
Shop accessed directly off the street. Toilets (individual cubicles) are accessible through a narrow doorway and up a bumpy path. There is table service but meals are paid for at a high counter.
Menu entirely omnivorous and vegetarian. Several items can be made vegan by omitting certain toppings. All items are gluten free UNLESS marked on the menu with an *.

Embarrassingly, the first time I tried this, I was desperate for a burrito after... quite a big night. As I'm sure you can imagine, I went on about how good it was, but I didn't return for a number of weeks, at which point we wisely went before drinking.
I cannot even express how delicious the enchiladas at El Torito are. The bean filling is perfectly cooked, soft and flavoursome, topped in an absolutely delicious tomato sauce. Just remember to ask for it without dairy!

There are a number of other items on their menu that look as though they could easily be made vegan, but I cannot go past the enchiladas. They have quite a range of alcoholic drinks available, and among the cheapest cocktails I've seen in a long time.

Burrito for lunch! $9.95
For lunch, they have a range of lunch specials (many of which are shared with their dinner menu; oddly, they don't appear to have a vegetarian burrito option for dinner, only lunch), all of which are $9.95, listed on their website. They have also recently started opening for lunch on weekends.

Otherwise, I cannot recommend highly enough heading there with some friends to share a jug of sangria and some excellent food.

Lock N Load Bistro
142 Boundary St, West End
07 3844 0142 | |
Weekdays: 11am - Late | Weekends: 8am - Late
Onstreet parking nearby, none on premises. Bus stop is right outside.
Entrance bar and lower dining area are wheelchair accessible (there is a wheelchair lift next to the stairs to the lower dining area). Upper dining area only accessible by stairs. Toilets are in lower dining area. The entrance bar is often crowded at night which may impede accessibility. There is often live music or a DJ, so the bar is quite loud, and sections of the interior aren't very brightly lit.
Menu is largely vegetarian (marked with (v)) and omnivorous, with many gluten free options clearly marked with (gf). Limited vegan options, also marked on menu (with (vv)). Their menu clearly states "NO SUBSTITUTIONS" (this includes sauces: if you ask for the chips without the aioli, they will come with aioli).

Initially, we only went to Lock N Load for their Beer Towers (which we're still suspicious of: is the 3L mark before or after the ice stick is added? And will you really care by the end?), but I was meeting a friend in West End for lunch a few months ago and, having always wanted to try their food, I suggested we meet there.

They only have the one vegan lunch and dinner option (it is also gluten free): sweet potato falafels with a warm quinoa salad, tomatoes, pine nut dressing and mint oil. I was pleasantly surprised as how good it was. They also have one vegan side, a warm cauliflower salad, which I haven't tried. I was sadly disappointed by both their regular "thick cut" fries and their sweet potato fries.

If you're going there for a drink in the evening, we found out from the kitchen that the tofu & shiitake spring rolls are vegan, though it isn't marked on their menu (according to them, this is because they use the same deep fryer for everything that they cook, and vegans probably make more fuss about that than vegetarians. Fair enough).

You can view their menus on their website. If you're feeding a large group of people, you can use their lunch order form to order larger amounts of food, and they also host group events.

And if you happen to be in West End on a Saturday morning, there are the West End Markets, which has it's own post dedicated to it! A little further off the beaten track, and more a destination than a quick lunch/dinner stop, is Mondo Organics, where we tried their vegan tasting menu (remember to book in advance!).

Let us know if you've tried any of these places, or if there's a favourite place of yours in West End that we need to visit and add!


  1. Mu'ooz (pronounced muh-oos) is my new favourite West End restaurant and they have a great range of authentic Eritrean and Ethiopean vegan and vego options. I'd recommend getting the share platter so that you can try a number of their dishes. Also, have fun eating with your hands because all mains are served with traditional Enjera bread (which is similar to crepes).

    Oh, and if you like it black, maybe get some Eritrean coffee afterwards, served in a Jebena. They're both licensed and BYO, but we haven't tried their South African house wines yet.

    From their website ( We are a Brisbane based not for profit social enterprise, set-up in 2003 by the Eritrean Australian Women & Family Support Network Inc. Our aim is to give work experience, training, and employment opportunities to African refugees. Helping to break down the cross-cultural barriers.

    Gorgeous flavours, lovely atmosphere, and a warm and welcoming service.

  2. Well now I'm off the bus, I can make a comment. Love El Torito. Have been going for years and years, well before this latest Mexican surge. Hadn't heard about Zagyoza and knew nothing about it so thanks for the heads up. Finally, don't forget King Ahiram, just around the corner of Boundary on Vulture. I still maintain they have the best babganouj I have ever tasted. We started going in 1988 after the Expo 88 fireworks in the evening when there was rustic hand basin in the middle of the restaurant. Nowadays the people running it are the kids that were there in 88. Plenty of vege ingredients and no doubt many are vegan. I commend 'The King' to you.

    1. I agree with King Ahiram. My boyfriends Mums water broke while she was eating there 31years ago. My boyfriend has been eating there since he can remember and showed it to me 6years ago. There falafel and special hummus is amazing. I go here for a healthy cheap way especially when cafe food is so expensive.


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