4th July 2016
421 Brunswick Street
Fitzroy, VIC 3065
Yong Green Food, along with places like Vegie Bar and Lentil As Anything, are amongst the oldest, and most stalwart of vegetarian restaurants in Melbourne. They were around back when it wasn’t yet fashionable to eat gluten-free and plant-based, and remain popular to this day. And with a rating of 4.3/5 on Zomato (beating out the amazing Smith and Daughters!), it was about time I went to see what the fuss was.
Yong Green Food is very much Asian-inspired, which is something of a rarity in the veggie world. The emphasis is on healthy, responsible, and sustainable dining. But that doesn’t mean they’re boring; there are two pages of the menu dedicated entirely to biodynamic wines and other alcoholic drinks, and they have some wicked-sounding raw desserts too.
Long weekends almost aren’t worth it in the hospital world, given how much extra work there is before and after. I had a horror of a Friday in the lead-up to the Queen’s Birthday long weekend, but thankfully I had the chance to soothe it with a large mug of sweet and fruity Pina Colada Soju Cocktail ($13).
The rawsagne I’ve always been curious about has unfortunately been taken off the menu, but I’ve heard great things about the vegan Dragon Bowl ($19). I decided to have mine with soy beef.
I could go through what’s in this dish, or I could sum it up with one word: bibimbap. The soy beef looked exactly like the real thing, and the texture wasn’t far off either. The layers of brown rice and veggies were given some bite by the dish of chilli paste on the side. I also found the chickpea miso soup to be remarkably good; the switch from the fish-based dashi stock to mushroom stock gave it a rich earthiness.
Chris on the other hand had the Organic Ramen ($17) – also vegan. The steaming bowl of mushroom-shoyu broth was filled with noodles, tofu puffs, and an assortment of veggies. I thought the tempura lotus roots were a fantastic idea – it was a more than satisfactory replacement for prawns. My only real issue with this was with the noodles; being egg-free and all, it lacked the elasticity all good ramen should have.
To finish up, there was a slice of Raspberry White Chocolate Cheesecake ($8). Although the predominant taste was coconut, and the base was nuts not biscuits, I thoroughly enjoyed this sweet, creamy treat. With that said, ‘tis a fine dessert, but sure ‘tis no cheesecake.
All up, I was quite happy with Yong Green Food. Despite not making me want to run out and turn veggie, it’s definitely one of the better vegan meals I’ve had. You also can’t deny the good vibes floating around the place. I’ll admit it is quite expensive, but I guess that’s to be expected given the nature of the restaurant. I can definitely understand why Yong Green Food has survived – and thrived – for so long in Melbourne’s ever-changing dining scene.
Rating: 13/20 – vegan everything!
This rating reflects my personal experience at the time of visit.