Vegie Bar

380 Brunswick St
Fitzroy, VIC

It seems to me that vegetarians have a much harder time going out to eat. And as for those who are vegan and/or gluten intolerant? Even worse. Vegie Bar, an institution out in Fitzroy churning out food for hungry hungry herbivores for the last 20 years, seems to be the solution to that. Not only is everything on the menu vegetarian, but most of it can be made vegan and/or gluten free upon request as well.
A humble exterior gives way to a large (everybody together now) converted warehouse with exposed ceiling beams. It is a big, happy space, loud and busy at lunch with people of every age and ethnicity. Hipster doesn’t even begin to describe it.
The offerings of the menu are truly international, covering everything from Vietnamese to Indian to Mexican. There are daily specials scrawled upon a whiteboard, and a tempting array of desserts in a cabinet. I wanted to try an intriguing dish called The Living Stack, but Chris immediately vetoed it, insisting that it sounded much too like a genetically engineered mutation that could kill us all.
Sienna (small, $9.5)
Sienna (small, $9.5)
Instead we trialled one of their pizzas, the Sienna (small, $9.5), an Italian pizza of Napoli and onion given a Mediterranean twist by the haloumi and roasted capsicum. Generous chunks of mild haloumi and a forest of rocket leaves hid smoky-sweet strands of onion and capsicum. The flavours were pleasant but wholly unimaginative, with a base that was much too soggy in the center. It was however ample in size, and did not skimp on toppings.      
Vegan Nachos ($12.5)
Vegan Nachos ($12.5)
The Vegan Nachos ($12.5) were intimidating. A seemingly endless mountain of oven-baked corn chips was topped with everything that you could possibly associate with Mexico. Highlights include a smooth guacamole dusted with chipotle pepper, a hidden trove of sticky refried beans, and a tomato salsa bursting with corn kernels and red onion. This was as healthy as nachos would ever get. And I will forever refuse to accept that we ate every last chip.
Dessert Cabinet
There were also some amazing looking sweets on offer, including a fudgy, dense flourless chocolate cake. We thought we had left room for dessert, but the serving sizes proved us wrong. 
For such a popular eatery, I have surprisingly little to say about Vegie Bar. It follows the age-old hipster formula, and serves food that whilst pleasing in portion sizes, is also overpriced for what it is. It seems content to cruise upon its own popularity without offering anything of real substance, be it exciting food or good service. I might recommend this place to vegetarians and those with gluten intolerance, but otherwise I would give it a miss.  
Rating: 11.5/20 – choking on complacency

Vegie Bar on Urbanspoon

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  • Reply katy_em 15/04/2012 at 3:01 am

    what? didn’t you like it? am yet to try out that place, seeing as im 80% vegetarian

  • Reply ming 15/04/2012 at 7:44 am

    Haha 80% vegetarian, how does that work? Vegetarian 5.6 days of the week? You eat 20% meat and 80% vegetables? And well it’s not so much that I didn’t like it, and more of the fact that I think they’re overhyped. The food is decent and portions are big, but I feel like they’ve gotten very complacent on their popularity

  • Reply Cindy 16/04/2012 at 2:33 am

    I like the Vegie Bar but agree that they’re overhyped. There are heaps of more exciting places to eat vegetarian food in Melbourne.

    • Reply ming 16/04/2012 at 3:09 am

      Hey Cindy, thanks for dropping by! I agree with you, there isn’t much to dislike about Veggie bar and the food is pleasant, but in my opinion, they’re also given a lot more credit than they deserve. any veggie places you recommend?

    • Reply Cindy 16/04/2012 at 10:02 am

      As far as all-vegetarian restaurants go, I particularly like Monk Bodhi Dharma, Yong Green Food, Las Vegan, Trippy Taco & Munsterhaus. Gasometer and the Fox do great vegetarian pub food! And there are so many non-vegetarian restaurants with great vegetarian dishes, we list our favourites here.

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