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All Reviews by vegan mikal

34 Review(s).

58 Bridge Street, Lismore

Not worth your time or money

21 Jul 2012

20,000 Cows may be an institution, but it's time is well past.

Having been to 20,000 Cows more than a decade earlier and having enjoyed that experience, we were looking forward to the new owner reopening the place. Our anticipation did not match the reality.

If you feel like dining in someone's crumbling loungeroom, then this is the place for you. The lack of care of the premises is just the start. We were so shocked by the prices (which didn't have a hint of being "suggestions" in any way) that we decided to try some of the cheaper options; a curry for $25 in Australia in 2012 is found in places with gold cutlery, not with a bunch of cobwebs!

Our entree of spinach and nut cheese rolls consisted of two pencil-thin tubes of pastry containing a leaf of spinach and something white. Whether this white stuff was made out of nuts was impossible to say. This was truly a minimalist item both on size and on taste.

Our main was a pasta with a coconut milk and mushroom sauce. This was a bland and hastily prepared meal, with a strange mix of cooked and uncooked vegetables. It was at least 1/3 too expensive.

Thankfully there was a nice paratha to finish off our meal, but it too was small for the price.

We decided to cut our losses and did not order any of the overpriced desserts.

There is very little going for this place. The waitresses seemed unsure of what they were doing, we never got the water we were offered, and even the bill was mucked up.

The new owner took over only in early 2012, but really, 20,000 Cows should have retired a long time ago. It needs a lot of work to get up to scratch.

4/39 Woolley St, Dickson, Canberra

Upmarket feel, great flavours

25 Feb 2013

Au Lac was only half full when we dropped in for our first visit - a casual Sunday lunch. Right away, we were impressed that many of the folks finishing off their meals were long-time regulars, a positive sign for first-timers in any eating establishment.

We decided to order three different noodle soups and a mock pork-and-noodle dish. We were amazed by the massive bowls that appeared quickly at our table. Lunch turned into a drawn-out affair as we struggled through our huge and very flavoursome soups. Although the recipes were clearly simple, the meals were nourishing and filling.

Au Lac is clean and sleek, with well-trained and genuinely helpful staff. It feels like it should be a much more expensive venue; thankfully, its menu is moderately priced. It is a must for anyone wishing to experience vegan Vietnamese food in plush surroundings.
Updated from previous review on Monday February 25, 2013

94 Hopkins Street, Footscray, Footscray

Cheap and cheerful

09 Jan 2014

The recently refreshed interior of Bo De Trai does make for a very welcome change from the drabness and peeling paint of days gone by. The place is now bright and welcoming!

The menu seems to be shorter than it used to be, but it does come with sufficient choices of mock meat dishes, tofu, and veggies. The prices are mostly on the low side, so diners should not expect outlandish portions or rare ingredients.

We came here for a quick lunch. Our orders were delivered promptly, though one dish came about 5 minutes ahead of the other two. Our waitress did not speak sufficient English to explain to us what some menu items contained; suffice to say that if this sort of thing bothers you, then give Bo De Trai a miss.

The food was plain yet tasty. Lunch portions are generally not massive, but we left happy - and with little damage to the hip pocket.

Lawson St, Shop 7, The Pier Arcade, Byron Bay

Small in size but not on taste!

19 Aug 2012

Cardamom Pod is a tiny place at the back of a small arcade. It has a bain marie with some hot food and a display fridge with salads and desserts. The prices are spectacularly low: $5 for dahl and rice, $6 for a couple of chunky kofta balls in rich tomato sauce and rice, $9 for some lovely curry and rice. The desserts start from a ridiculously low $4.50 for a massive serving of fruity halava with ginger cream.

We loved our lunch: it was easy, it was tasty, it was very quick, and it was cheap to boot. $32 for three meals and two desserts is hard to find in 2012 Australia. Best of all, the fitout is relaxing yet clean, crisp, and even stylish - a kind of New Age Indian chic (this venue is Hare Krishna, after all).

If you find yourself with a rumbling tummy in Byron Bay, this place is a must. Find some pennies and give it a shot - you won't be disappointed!

PS: Vegan food is mostly marked, but do mention you are vegan if ordering desserts or, in fact, anything at all - just in case. Indian vegetarians don't mind milk products, and this venue serves Indian cuisine.

20-6 Jalan Pahang, Setapak, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Great value all round!

18 Jan 2010

This place opened in late 2009 and is located just opposite the big Kuala Lumpur Hospital and is very easy to get to (5 minutes walking from either Titiwangsa or Chow Kit monorail stations). Both the owner and the manager were really friendly on the night I visited. I had a great personalised introduction to the items on the menu, and they suggested dishes to me that would satisfy me that night for dinner and for the take-away lunch I was going to buy for the next day also.

The food is good mock-meat fare, with some unusual choices thrown in. Prices are not street food level, but are lower than some of the nearby mock-meat restaurants. And the service was impeccable.

I would strongly recommend this place for anyone who wants to taste authentic Malaysian veggie and vegan cuisine. It is really good value in all respects.

360 Brunswick St, Shop 2, Fitzroy

Try it for yourself

09 Jan 2014

Frozen yogurt seems to be a big thing at the moment. We popped into Berrissimo on a very slow day. There was a handful of flavours available, and three of the choices were vegan. We tried one small and two medium containers, with a mix of vegan and non-vegan flavours. We also added one topping each.

One of the vegan flavours was almost unidentifiable because it was so weak, though the dairy flavours seemed to be quite strong. On the whole, we gave the flavours about 7 out of 10 - not quite what we had expected. The toppings, however, were delightful - and very good value at $1. Unfortunately, the containers were just too small for the overall money we paid ($17 total).

We visited this venue just to try it out, but really, for that much money, there are many other dairy and dairy-free desserts that can be enjoyed in that part of Melbourne.

Shop 6 Kitty Hawk Ave, Inala, Brisbane

Quaint and Flavourful

25 Apr 2012

This small place (seats 20) is located at the south-west end of the Inala Civic Centre - a type of outdoor mall which is behind the larger (and indoor) Inala Shopping Centre. Entry is easiest from middle of the Kittyhawk Ave car park.

Bo De Linh Son is run by a lovely old Buddhist nun. We ate lunch there and were surprised to find ourselves the sole patrons. The lunch menu is not overwhelming, but there was enough variety to let us try a good sample of Vietnamese food. Our very flavourful dishes were made with fresh ingredients in no time at all, and we got a lovely present of a large persimmon for dessert!

Do try this place next time you're in Inala. Vietnamese food is not to everyone's liking, but it's worth trying it at Bo De Linh Son, especially given that it's suitable for vegans!

(And while you're there, avail yourself of a range of hard-to-find super-fresh Asian greens, fresh cassava, and even fresh jackfruit available from the Asian greengrocers at Inala Civic Centre!)

1341 Dandenong Rd, Chadstone


17 Jan 2014

I have tried LOTF food at a few of their branches over the years. At times it was acceptable, on other occasions less so. I had never tried the Chadstone branch, though. I was pleasantly surprised.

The menu has changed over the years, and there are no more desserts available. However, I was stunned to hear that any of the cheese items on the menu could be ordered with vegan cheese for the same price. Great! It's nice to not be ripped off just for trying to save a calf or two (thousand). Anyway, I opted for a Tijuana Hot Dog. This was not a bargain ($7.95), but when I got my hot dog 3 minutes after ordering, I was pleased by the size of the package.

The bun was fresh, the flavours mixed really well; I'm not used to sour cream, even the vegan version, but especially when it is mixed with jalapeno chilli! The sausage was well-flavoured too. All in all, I relished the total experience: vegan, fast food, not too pricey. Best of all, despite this hot dog being my sole lunch food, I was not hungry until late evening! Magic!

I must also applaud the staff I encountered. The guy taking my order was knowledgeable, quick to respond, and genuine. He seemed to know what I wanted and how I could get it. Kudos to LOTF for their training of staff!
Updated from previous review on Friday January 17, 2014

22-24 King St, Newtown


31 Jan 2014

It really is hard to find fault with Suzy Spoon's. We popped in for a quick lunch and left with full tummies and memories of delightful flavours. Although we spent a touch more than $50 for lunch, we had one meal and one dessert each for the three of us. All in all, this is some of the best-value veg food in the whole of Australia.

We tried a seitan roll, one of the burgers, and a schnitzel parmigiana. The seitan roll was full to the brim with freshly made, chunky seitan (this must be one of the biggest drawcards of this venue!) and a lovely red wine gravy. The burger was massive and required no side helping of chips/fries to top it off. The parmigiana was meaty and cheesy, yet also elegant. Magic!

For dessert, we polished off two delightful cupcakes and one luxurious vegan lamington - again, a rare find.

It is rare for me to be so thoroughly impressed by a venue on my first visit. Congratulations and keep up the good work!!

12 Marina Boulevard 02-05 Marina Bay Financial Centre Tower 3, Central Singapore, Singapore

Slick place

30 Jul 2013

This chain of vegan fast food has done really well in terms of marketing. My lunch partners and I ordered three different meal combinations. The set included a burger, small seaweed fries, and a drink. To begin with, the drinks were nothing more than cordial mixed with water for a place with such great ambience and a slick marketing strategy. The burgers didn't taste bad and the patty itself looked the part and tasted like a mock-meat burger should. But for a starting price of $5.90 (the other two burgers ordered were $6.90 and $7.90 respectively) this was simply not enough. Two out of three of us walked out of the place and felt hungry thirty minutes later. This is an indication of the total size of our portions. Maybe it's a question of quality control, or maybe my standards are just too high. The place almost full by the time we left shortly after 12.30pm on a weekday.

Shop 8/90 Markeri Street, Mermaid Waters, Gold Coast

A Whirlwind Lunch

25 Apr 2012

We came to Easy House for lunch on a Thursday and were pleasantly surprised to find that all yum cha offerings were the same price: $3.80. That meant that most items on their large menu were up to 25% cheaper! This happens only on Thursdays, but given that the place was packed, this discount is clearly a drawcard.

The food was fresh and vibrant and was brought out straight from the kitchen to the table. If we liked the look of what was on offer, we took the treats (the plates/pots contained 3/4/5 pieces each). We found the service as it should be in a yum cha venue: the dishes are brought around to every table and are marketed there and then! If you don't buy what is offered, the table next to you probably will. It is not rude; that's just how things are done in the Chinese culture. There was no pushiness involved whatsoever. Nobody walked off with a huff when we refused certain offerings.

Unfortunately, there were far too many yummy treats on offer (even the custard buns are now made vegan, which means every bit of yum cha can now be enjoyed by vegan patrons), and though we tried to limit how many dishes we ate, we still managed to take 10 of them (for three of us). So lunch wasn't that cheap, but it was surely unforgettable.

For a quick, easy, and tasty lunch - and a new experience for many, it seems - Easy House is just what the doctor ordered. It might not be cheap, but vegan yum cha is rare in Oz, so it's definitely worth a try, even as a one-off. Thursday seems to be the day to visit there.

268 Victoria St, Richmond

Just what the doctor ordered!

16 Jan 2014

Fina is a place that ticks all my boxes.

The owners and staff are genuinely friendly folk. They looked after us with great care, as should be the case with all new faces! We asked for and received adequate explanations of the menu items, and were given recommendations on what to eat given the weather.

The portion sizes were perfect, the flavours just right, and everything was freshly made and presented in an authentic Vietnamese style. To top it off, our lunch must have been one of the cheapest meals possible nowadays. I challenge anyone to knock back a $9.00 soup at Fina's and not be sated.

This venue is a great example of modern vegan Vietnamese cuisine, and is a must for lovers of Asian flavours.

Plac Matejki 2, Krakow, Poland

Bad day?

11 Aug 2013

Having read all the rave reviews, I thought I'd give this busy place a try. I knew not to expect a wide range of vegan dishes, so I chose the dish that I had not yet tried: lentil pierogies - the Glonojad version - with two side salads. I'm not sure what the dumplings were meant to taste like, but I was not impressed at all! Perhaps they were half-cooked, perhaps the filling was over-cooked; I don't know, but the dumplings failed me completely. Thankfully the salads were rather tasty. Overall, though, this sort of meal is so light that it cannot be anything other than a snack.

The cafe is very busy at lunchtime and all the staff speak English. Perhaps I was there on an off day for the chef. I was also disappointed to see that there was no vegan dessert choices.
Updated from previous review on Sunday August 11, 2013

Shop 6, 3120 Surfers Paradise Blvd, Surfers Paradise, Gold Coast

New location, same great food

20 Oct 2014

The new Surfers Paradise Govinda's opened at 3120A Surfers Paradise Boulevard in October 2014. It is a lovely, open space, with a bain-marie on one side and a salad bar on another. All the food is vegan, and is denoted as such. The best value meal is the $12.90 all-you-can-eat buffet. However, there are other meal deals available also. There are $5 desserts in the fridge, and cow's milk lassis are also available. The hot food is non-spicy Indian cuisine - absolutely lovely!

Ul Krupnicza 12, Krakow, Poland

Maybe the coffee is good...

11 Aug 2013

I popped into this venue at lunchtime and was instantly attracted by the great selection of cakes (all were vegan). I decided to start off with some soup (two vegan soups available) and finish off with a slice of cake. The soup was really unbelievable: peeled tomatoes straight out of a can, a couple of tiny potato cubes, a little bit of mushroom and no side serving of bread, as is common in Poland. Thank God for some nice Thai flavouring! Next, I got a lovely big chunk of nut/choco/something cake. However, it was dry, had far too many ingredients and was hard to swallow. I left Karma with an almost empty stomach and a slightly lighter wallet. Around me folks were enjoying their Thai curries; perhaps I made the wrong choices that day...

1/142 Keen St, Lismore

Small and Friendly

22 Oct 2013

This quaint place almost qualifies as a hole-in-the-wall. It seats about 10 inside and about 6 outside. Most of the customers we saw while eating lunch here came for the green smoothies and other healthy drinks, so the focus of the venue is clearly on health. There is no 'hot' food as such; all the bakes in the display case are cooked in the morning and are then heated up in a real (not microwave) oven. Alternatively, the fillings for the wraps are fried fresh but are joined by cold fillings eventually.

Our spinach bake (one of the few non-vegan items on the menu) was not terribly exciting, but made for a pleasing, moderately-sized meal with the side serving of salad. My green lentil burger wrap was nicely flavoured, but it too was not very large; the salad helped.

The highlight of our lunch was definitely the raw cakes from Byron Bay company Naked Treaties. At $7/piece, they were just the right size at just the right price. We ordered one each and they were presented as a 'share' item: one plate, two forks. This was the perfect addition to our lunch, and kept both of us full right up till a late dinner that day.

Though this place is relatively new, it has already established a few regulars and will hopefully continue to serve up fresh and healthy treats for many years to come.

Shop 2, 152 Scarborough Street, Southport, Gold Coast

Ticks all boxes

18 Jul 2015

Come with cash only! No cards accepted here!!

This very popular Chinese mock-meat eatery is located towards the northern end of Southport's CBD. Its menu is well-organized and not too varied, meaning you can work out your meals much quicker. The mains are typically protein-veggies-pickles-rice, while the bento or set tray meals are the same served up in a different format.

The snow fish is cooked in a magnificently tasty way, and for the price ($11.90), it cannot be beat! I would not bother with desserts here, though; the blueberry cheesecake ($4.50) was just a slice taken from a frozen dessert sold in many Asian food stores and was not worth ordering.

All in all, the entrees and mains were superb and well-priced. This venue deserves its great popularity and I hope it is there for many years to come, just like its older sibling in Brisbane.

Brisbane Area, Brisbane

Passable, but not exciting

06 Oct 2012

Our first experience of Kuan Yin was a late lunch on a Wednesday. The place was full and we thought that to be a good sign. However, when we got down to business, we realised that this venue is not special at all.

Our waiter was friendly, but had very little English and seemed flustered by the numbers he had to deal with. Our two entrees - deep fried calamari and some other seaweed/fishy dish that we just couldn't get the waiter to explain properly to us - were tasty and reasonably priced, but the mains - two different lunch sets - were very basic and rather bland, as well as not filling enough.

Kuan Yin's interior looked tired, and the lino floor has seen better days. Perhaps this venue can impress people who are new to mock meat restaurants, but for those of us who are used to this sort of thing, there is certainly better food and service in Brisbane. After all, if you really do crave a vegan chicken drumstick, you can always just get your own, frozen from Inala!

This restaurant would benefit from more experienced wait staff, an interior overhaul, and a far more detailed menu. It's really not enough to get a picture of a meal if you still can't work out what the ingredients are!

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