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Driving Creek Cafe and Organics

  • Vegetarian Vegetarian
    ( 7 reviews )
Contact 07-8667066

180 Driving Creek Road (at next to the Driving Creek Railway attraction), Coromandel, New Zealand,

Vegetarian cafe and organic store. Rustic garden setting with deck. Flexible options for vegans. Wi-Fi access. They have a second-hand bookstore inside their cafe. Open daily.

Category: Vegan-friendly, Lacto, Ovo, International, Western

Reviews (7)

First Review by thelink

Disappointing for vegans - Edit

I went there twice on a recent trip to the Coromandel. I rang before I came and was told they had vegan food and it was not a problem. The first time I went there, it was late afternoon. I was told the cook had finished and there was no vegan food. The restaurant still had customers coming in and buying counter food. I asked if there was anything in the vast array of goods on the counter that I could eat. I was at first told no and then shown a jar of greyish biscuits and told they were vegan. They looked the most unappetising biscuits (hard and greyish) I have ever seen so I just left. I came back and tried again the next day for lunch as the wait person told me there is vegan food during the day. Sadly this time all there was on offer for vegans was felefal or a bagel and hummus. It seems this is all they ever have on offer. I was so disappointed. Falafel and bagels and hummus is basically standby vegan food – something you eat when you can’t get anything else and you're so hungry. I ordered the burger and although it was alright, the overload of chick peas both in the burger and in the hummus on the bun was not great and the meal had no creaminess (such as a tahini sauce or vegan mayo on the salad) so it was quite harsh on the stomach. I would not order this again. I felt really chick pea'd out afterwards.
I was surprised again to see no vegan baked goods - I mean, how hard is it? They could do a milkshake as vegan though and so I ordered it and that was very nice.

I am not a grateful vegan (i.e. one who is so delighted to be served boring and basic vegan food and grateful that a restaurant will take my money and give me food at a much lower quality) so sorry if my review seems harsh. I just think in this day and age a vegetarian restauarant should do better. Add to that a really rude counter person (he was rude to everyone, not just the vegans) and the fact that while we were there, I overheard two other vegan dining parties being given the same boring food, and it tells me that this is a vegetarian restaurant who really doesn't give a stuff about vegans and has no interest in doing interesting food for us.

After I left I actually wrote to the restaurant a really nice letter asking them to reconsider their vegan choices and gifted them a vegan baking recipe book. They never responded. I don't like posting bad reviews of vegetarian restaurants, but I have given the owners an opportunity to sort it but with no response.

Pros: nice vegan milkshakes, lovely setting

Cons: boring for vegans, rude counter person, no reply to my feedback

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Friendly and Fab Atmosphere - Edit

We were lucky enough to eat here on sunny days in the summer, which is the perfect time to go to this very relaxed cafe in a beautiful garden setting.

The first time we went, we had the bagel with avocado, tomato and hoummos and the falafel burger; both were delicious. The staff were very accommodating about making the burger vegan by removing the yoghurt. We didn't specifically ask about other vegan options but were happy with what we had.

The first time we went they didn't have anything sweet and vegan, but we returned the following day and had yummy vanilla and berry cake with our coffee. There was also a chocolate cake option.

The service was friendly, they are very child-friendly, there's a 2nd hand bookstore and the garden was blooming. I have to give this place a 5, despite what other people say about the paucity of vegan options. It didn't affect us.

Parking was a bit tight, and as this place is just outside Coromandel town, most people drive there.

Pros: Lovely setting, Friendly staff, Vegan cakes!

Cons: Parking isn't great

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Chill out rustic place - Edit

A falafel burger was super yum with big slab of falafel roasted nicely with layers of tomato, greens between crispy buns (with yogurt replaced by mild chili) accompanied with a couple of freshly squeezed mixed juices. A mix of 3 only salads (I wish it could be ordered small as a side to the burger - perhaps I was too full for the amount of it) missed the mark for me a bit, just plain cauliflower, brocolli, asparagus, then couscous-like type (only larger - forgot the name) with a side vinegar dressing to pour on, which for me personally was too sour. Nevertheless, the burger and juices were 5 stars, as well as the rustic cottage athmosphere with very good music on and lots of second hand books to leaf through (from Leo Tolstoy to Bill Gates). It is 100% vegetarian (wow in NZ), i.e. eggs & cheese, but the board specifically says they accomodate vegans, plus a lot of it I belive is organic, and I hope in future more fully vegan dishes may appear. It's open I think 9am-5pm 7 days, but may call just in case to be sure. If I had been a vegetarian I'd give it 4 stars, for a mostly vegan it's probably not too bad, but may need a bit more options, so it's down the middle, as "fair". There is also another 100% meatless place right in the center of town called Chai Tea House, which is not yet listed on happycow.
Updated from previous review on Tuesday January 01, 2013

Pros: Setting & atmosphere, Organic, Vegan options

Cons: See review

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I LIKED IT! - Edit

This was a really nice little place with good food. I enjoyed a lovely salad there with roasted vegetables and great dressing. My sole complaint is a need for more vegan options - there were very few. All the baked goods used eggs or dairy. But at least 2-3 vegan meal options. I would really give this place 3.5 stars if that were an option....

Pros: great atmosphere

Cons: not enough vegan

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Spectacular! - Edit

Having lunch at the Driving Creek Cafe was one of the highlights of our recent trip to New Zealand.

The cafe is located in a beautiful garden and has a very relaxed and cosy feel about it. The people running the cafe are really friendly.

The menu is extensive, including a breakfast menu that is available all day long. There are lots of vegan options.

The food tastes absolutely wonderful and the serves were huge.

After our main course we couldn't resist to order some of the yummy looking vegan chocolate cake and a cup of coffee. What a taste bud extravaganza!

I think the Driving Creek cafe is a must on the trip planner of any Vegetarians travelling through New Zealand.

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