A Vegan Degustation at Margan Restaurant

You may remember last year when Jane and I were invited to Margan Restaurant in the Hunter Valley to sample some of their offerings and take a tour of the winery. Well, I was lucky enough to be invited back to try their special Vegan Degustation menu and because I am a rational human being, I jumped at the chance to head back to one of my fave spots. You'll find Margan Restaurant about one hour's drive from Newcastle, in Broke located in the Hunter Valley. With some of the most beautiful scenery in the region, the drive is almost as dope as what awaits you! The thing I love about degustations is that there always just seems to be food before...

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Hello Popolo!

Popolo Artisan Gelateria Address: 172 King Street, Newcastle 2300 Website: www.popologelateria.com.au If you're staying woke, you'll know that while I'm not a hardcore dessert lover, your girl is a huge fan of iced confections and I swear I have a sixth sense when it comes to sensing a new vegan dessert option hitting a Newy business. Recently my sweet sense started tingling and that's because Popolo Artisan Gelateria had opened its doors! In one of King Street's cutest little cluster of buildings, Italian owned and operated Popolo is the perfect partner to the family's other business - Napoli Centrale (they've got vegan pizza too!) Perfectly designed signage and exterior give you a hint at what's to come when you step inside this clean and cosy little shop. Growing...

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Review: Smith & Deli

Address: 111 Moor Street, Fitzroy, VIC 3065 Website: www.smithanddaughters.com It's actually a freaking travesty that I hadn't been able to visit Smith & Deli until just before their one year anniversary (when they opened I had just returned from Europe so couldn't swing it) but I sure made up for lost time with a record three visits within a 24 hour period. Just a short walk from the epic Smith & Daughters on Brunswick Street, Smith & Deli is set up in a dope, old brick building with the now iconic S&D Eat Vegan sign out the front. Walk through the doors and you're greeted with a visual feast of amazing food, adorably dressed staff and badass signage. Shelves, fridges and freezers are not only stocked with...

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Review: Matcha Mylkbar

Address: 72a Acland Street, St Kilda, VIC 3182 Website: www.matchamylkbar.com If you've moved house recently and still waiting for your internet to be reconnected, you may have missed the fact that Matcha Mylkbar is now open for business. Located on St Kilda's bustling Acland Street, this place is perfectly styled with plenty of white walls, wooden tables and greenery setting the scene for your next epic brunch date. The menu is weird but in a good way, with plenty of flavour and food combinations you've never even thought of trying but somehow make total sense. There's a good balance of savoury and sweet items and of course matcha features quite often however don't fret if you're not a fan, there are many matcha-free items too. I kicked...

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Review: Bonta Vera

Address: 40 Church Street, Minmi, NSW 2287 Website: www.bontavera.com.au I can finally utter the words "we have a vegan restaurant in Newcastle" and damn, it feels good. Sure, it is a 30 minute drive from the CBD but when you're used to travelling to Sydney for a completely vegan menu, the trip to Bonta Vera ain't so bad at all. Located in the old courthouse on Church Street, Bonta Vera's exterior is hella gorgeous and green AF. When it comes to dining you can choose from the airy space indoors, the wraparound verandah or if you're feeling super chill, grab a picnic blanket and find a patch of grass on the lawn. The menu is quite varied, ranging from burgers and sandwiches to lighter salads and...

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Review: The Landing Bar & Kitchen

Address: 1 Honeysuckle Drive, Newcastle, NSW 2300 Website: www.thelanding.com.au Being the fun-lovin', food lovers that we are, Jane and I continue to get invited to try restaurants in The Hunter - an offer which we gladly accept because a) we get to eat food and; b) because we get to hang out and talk about really important issues like why Jane still doesn't have Snapchat (mine is Like A Vegan btw). The Landing Bar & Kitchen recently invited us to try offerings from the new menu, created by their newly appointed chef, Jamie Thomas. Located on Honeysuckle Drive, a strip of bars and restaurants overlooking Newcastle's foreshore, The Landing Bar & Kitchen makes a dope ass spot for not only showing off this great...

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Greenroof

Address: 71 Tudor Street, Hamilton, NSW 2303 Website: www.thegreenroof.com.au The Greenroof Hotel is one of Newy's newest drinkin' holes and you better believe that when I hear there's a vegan option on the menu, I get in there to try it ASAP. Having been recently restored and reopened, a whole lot of work has gone into updating the space for 2016. A more traditional pub area inside with bar and stools is complimented by an indoor dining area with booths as well as an outdoor beer garden. The decor is pretty awesome too, lots of brick, greenery and dark wood feature throughout the space. Memorabilia is littered throughout as well as interesting signage and nods to classic rock and roll artists. The menu has also...

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Kinn Thai

Address: 89 Park Avenue, Kotara 2285 Website: www.kinnrestaurant.com.au I'm not a huge shopping centre dweller, so when I found out Westfield Kotara was set to open their new Rooftop, I wasn't overwhelmed with excitement however I was interested to see what vegan options may be on offer. When planning to visit the Gold Class Lounge at the new Event Cinemas for my recent birthday, dining on the Rooftop seemed like a practical choice so I got to lookin' at some menus online. Kinn Thai's menu not only has a few good vegan options but we can now add another restaurant to the list of those that actually have a little vegan symbol, yay! My first visit on my birthday was great so I headed back...

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Nagisa Japanese

Address: 1 Honeysuckle Drive, Newcastle NSW 2300 Website: www.nagisa.com.au It may still be a few months til I hit Japan for a second time but when the feeling hits I don't have to travel far to get my fix of Japanese cuisine right here in Newy. Sure, we've got quite a few sushi places and a couple of other Japanese joints but none beat the taste, view and variety of Nagisa. The Honeysuckle precinct is jam packed with awesome restaurants and bars overlooking Newcastle's foreshore. There aren't a great deal of options on the strip however you can usually find something and Nagisa has a few somethings you simply have to try next time you're in the area. Lunch is the premo time to visit...

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Margan Restaurant

Address: 1238 Milbrodale Rd, Broke NSW 2330 Wesbite: www.margan.com.au With birthdays mere days apart, Jane form What Jane Did and I were bound to have several things in common. Two of those things just happen to be food, writing and road trips so when Jane told me Margan Restaurant had invited us to do a review I was like "hell yeah, let's do it!" Jane offered to drive provided I curate (yes, curate) a playlist and for the first time since about 2009 I burned a CD of 90s and 00s hits to provide the soundtrack to our epic journey into the Hunter Valley. After walking through the rammed earth entryway which was fit for a king/Leonardo DiCaprio (same thing, really IMHO), we were...

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The Persian Place

Address: 43 Bolton Street, Newcastle NSW 2300 Website: www.thepersianplace.com.au I miss the golden age of Newcastle's CBD. No, I'm not talking about the 50's when David Jones was but one of many thriving department stores along Hunter Street and The Store wasn't a place to go for weird seafood/leather goods. I'm talking about the 90's; a time when you had to decide between Big Al's (an Al Capone themed diner) or all you can eat Pizza Hut, going to see the latest Power Rangers movie at the Showcase cinema and patting Camilla the dog before taking your seat. "Town" has had a bit of a rough trot over the years but she's comin' back! Some nice little retail stores, cool bars and a...

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Soul Burger

Address: 49 Perouse Road, Randwick NSW 2031 Website: www.soulburger.com.au IMHO there's nothin' better than a good burg, so when I heard that Soul Burger in Randwick had gone completely vegan (I know, right?!) I decided to get my ass into gear and plan myself a lil road trip to the big smoke. When you walk in, you'd be nuts to not be instantly stoked on the decor; plenty of hanging lights, white painted wood, exposed brick and "Plant-based Burgers" scrawled across the wall. Totally "Grammable" for those of you love to post food pics (guilty, sue me!) Plus the early noughties RnB soundtrack had me in the zone. The menu is even more impressive! Choose from 8 (E-I-G-H-T!) different vegan burger options, with mock meat...

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Oh Lordy! Lord of the Fries Hits Sydney Central

Address: 10A Henry Deane Plaza, 18 Lee St, Haymarket, NSW Website: www.lordofthefries.com.au If you know me IRL or follow me on Twitter, you would know that a good portion of the time I am whinging about not having immediate access to Lord of the Fries. When LOTF hit Sydney you probably noticed that whinging decrease, well now it's about to decrease a little more because Lord of the Fries have opened another Sydney location. Just inside Henry Deane Plaza, on the Haymarket side of Central, you will find this little slice of fast food heaven. It has all of your LOTFF (Lord of the Fries Favourites) like burgers, munch boxes and fries (duh) plus now they're offering breakfast and shakes, yay! The Lord invited me to...

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Smith & Daughters

Address:175 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy, VIC 3065 Website: http://www.smithanddaughters.com/ If you haven't heard about Smith & Daughters, you must have been living under a rock because there's been a lot of buzz since these guys came on the Melbourne restaurant scene a few months ago. Shannon and Mo invited me along to the opening a while back and although I wasn't able to make it at the time, I vowed to get down to Melbourne this year to try them out. And try them out I did. Twice. The decor is fabulous; a huge wall covered in vintage posters and photographs plus the now famous "EAT VEGAN" neon sign lights up the room. There's plenty of indoor greenery as well but what S&D are now...

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The Vital Method – The Vital Vegan Menu

Address: 40 Patrick Street, Merewether, NSW 2291 Website: www.thevitalmethod.com Sure, you can get vegan food in Newcastle and sure, you can get nutritious food too but it's rare to be able to have something exciting and good for you in Newcastle, let alone having it delivered to your doorstep. That's why The Vital Method is such a welcome addition to the Newcastle restaurant scene. The Vital Method has just opened up in Merewether and not only is it a vegan-friendly cafe with coffee, smoothies and weekend breakfast options (I'll review this menu another time) but they have a meal plan menu available too! The Vital Vegan menu options are available for lunch and dinner on weekdays and can be picked up from the cafe...

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Momo Wholefood Cafe

Address: 10 William Street, East Maitland, NSW 2323 Website: https://www.facebook.com/momowholefood If you follow me on Twitter you'll know that I often whinge about the lack of vegan options in the Newcastle area. In saying that, they are around and shortly I'll be putting together my Like a Vegan Guide to Newcastle for you to sink your teeth into. One of the places that will feature on the list is Momo Wholefoods Cafe in East Maitland. It's a bit of a drive from Newcastle, about 40 minutes but also a great option if you're visiting the Hunter Valley also, plus it's worth the journey. The cafe itself is based inside the Organic Feast grocery store (I'll review that at another time) and has a large...

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Revolution Foods Cafe

Address: 175 Enmore Road, Enmore, NSW 2042 Website: www.facebook.com/RevolutionFoodsCafe I'd been hearing a lot of buzz about a new vegan joint in Enmore so while I was in Sydney this weekend I decided to check it out. As Revolution Foods is quite small, we had to wait about 10 minutes for a seat to open up which was fine because the staff were so friendly and accommodating. It's also promising when a relatively new vegan spot is packed out! When we took our seats we were presented with a menu full of what I would describe as American-ish food items like burgers, sandwiches, nuggets and chips. There were also quite a few salads on offer plus a great selection of dessert and drinks, not...

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Hallelujah! Lord of the Fries is in Sydney

Address: 537 George Street, Sydney 2000 Website: www.lordofthefries.com.au WANT TO WIN A LOTF HOODIE AND FREE FOOD? KEEP READING! I think you guys know by now how vibin' I am on Lord of the Fries; whenever I go to Melbourne it's on my list of essential eats for the trip. Us LOTF fanatics have been begging for a NSW store of our own and finally it is here! A mere road trip away from Newcastle (about two and a half hours), the new location is on George Street, near the cinemas and Metro Theatre. So what makes Lord of the Fries so special? They cater to pretty much everyone - all vegetarian, halal and kosher with plenty of vegan and gluten free options. The fries all fresh...

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Zen House

Address: 17-19 Bent Street, Adelaide SA 5000 Website: www.zenhouse.com.au I recently visited Adelaide for the first time and wasn't expecting there to be as many vegan options as there were. While doing some research, I discovered Zenhouse, which was conveniently located about 3 minutes from my hotel. The menu is on the website so you can check it out to see what you're in for. The menu is essentially yum-cha type food however there are some more "Western" inspired meals on the menu as well as some main dishes. They've got plenty of desserts and snacks as well, which is awesome. I went with a selection of yum-cha dishes so that I could try and sample as many things as possible. Excellent decision. Let...

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Lord of the Fries

Address: Corner of Flinders Lane and Swanston Street, Melbourne VIC 3000 (see website for more details) Website: www.lordofthefries.com.au Lord of the Fries is not just a clever name, but a chain of delicious all vegetarian fast food restaurants scattered around the streets of majestic Melbourne. They've just opened their seventh store and I was invited to check it out on my recent visit to Victoria on a vegan eating spree. Lord of the Fries is all vegetarian, halal and kosher with a massive selection of vegan and gluten free options. These guys are absolute legends, right?! If that hasn't sold you, read on, I'll have you salivating soon. Big Mark Burger - $7.95 I think it's pretty clear what LOTF are going for with...

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Wafu

Address: 460 Cleveland street, Surry Hills NSW 2010 Website: www.wafu.com.au The best thing about Wafu is the food. The worst thing? You may never even get to try it! Wafu is a delightfully cosy eatery in Surry Hills but if it's a traditional dining experience you're after, you won't find it here. Not all the food is vegan but there is an extensive menu with plenty of vegan options and Monday is vegan night. Getting through the door is your first challenge, Yukako is the owner, chef, waitress and maitre d so she's a very busy lady! As a result,  the rule as it stands is that only members and their guests may dine there. So how do you become a member? You...

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The Nourishing Quarter

Address: 315 Cleveland Street, Redfern, NSW 2016 Website: www.bnourished.com.au The Nourishing Quarter is a cute little eatery comfortably nestled within the hustle and bustle of Redfern's busy Cleveland Street. The decor is eclectic; a mish mash of vintage furniture, quirky teaspoons and touches of  Queen Elizabeth throughout. The dining room itself is quite small and there is a courtyard however I would strongly recommend making a reservation to avoid disappointment (people were getting turned away and it was only a Wednesday!) When it comes to the staff, they are friendly, efficient and accommodating. Upon making a booking I was asked if anyone had special dietary requirements or allergies (as not all food is vegan) and this was followed up by a lovely conversation with...

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