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Mantra Lounge

  • Vegan Vegan
    ( 20 reviews )
Contact 03-9036-2996

167 Grattan St, Carlton, Victoria, 3053

Yoga-inspired, canteen-style vegan food cafe near Melbourne University, operating since Jul 2014. Offers a lasagna set and another daily lunch set comprising main, salad, and piece of cake. Gluten-free food also available. Open Mon-Fri 8:00am-8:00pm. Hours may vary, so call to confirm.

Category: Vegan, Indian, Western, Asian, Fusion

Reviews (20)

First Review by bonn93

Good value vegan food - Edit

Went here twice and found the food very pleasant. Contrary to what the name suggests, the food is not just Indian, but very international. I had a bean burrito once and a lasagna (which was the best vegan lasagna I ever had) the second time. The food is relatively cheap and is quickly served - ideal for lunch breaks or a quick dinner! Very close to the university as well, which is a pro.

Pros: Cheap and quick, All vegan, Tasty

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disappointing - Edit

I really love they they serve vegan food, unfortunately the taste was disappointing and the price, for what is essentially pre made canteen food, is way too high. Even their reportedly most popular dessert was something that needed to be left.

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Overpriced mediocrity - Edit

I ate here about a year ago, and although I thought there was too much thyme in the lasagne, I was nevertheless happy with the overall quality and quantity of the food, given the price.

This time, I had a saussage roll with Asian slaw. The pastry on the saussage roll was tough, and I couldn't tell you how the filling tasted since it was so badly oversalted that none of the other flavours had a chance to be noticed. The slay was dry and boring - if there was supposed to be a dressing on it, it didn't reach the part that ended up on my plate. This (a light meal) cost me about same amount as lasagne + salad + cake cost me last time.

The mango lala (lassi) was still tasty and decent value at $3, even though that was a 50% price increase over last time, but if the drink is the only good part of a meal, that indicates a problem.

Updated from previous review on Thursday March 26, 2015

Pros: Cheap delicious drinks

Cons: The food

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It used to be great value - Edit

I really want to like Mantra and encourage them but I ordered the parmigiana which was nice but $9 and it was going to cost an extra $3 with a very basic green salad (lettuce and cucumber)

Updated: disappointed with the price changes. I think as a cheap restaurant it worked. With the price increases, the food needs to be better.

I tried this restaurant for the first time last week and ended up going 2 nights in a row! The first night I upgraded (usually $7.95, I paid $10) to the vegan lasagne which was full of flavour and the second night I upgraded to the vanilla and chocolate pleasecake. Yum! I think this will be a regular place for dinner.
Updated from previous review on Friday November 28, 2014

Updated from previous review on Thursday January 07, 2016

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Disappointing - Edit

I ordered a curry with rice and salad. The curry was spinach and tofu but I found it very bland to the point of being inedible (and I have a very strong aversion to wasting food). I heard another customer say her food was bland too. The brown rice was gluggy and the simple salad added nothing to the meal.
Mantra's food used to be tastier and much better value but, unfortunately, they have increased their prices and the quality of their food has declined considerably.
I am not sure what they are trying to achieve but either they are failing miserably or they are completely on the wrong track. Charging restaurant prices for basic and below par meals is not a recipe for success. Each of Mantra's relaunches leaves me more dissatisfied, which is a shame, as I would love for them to succeed and return to their former winning formula. Otherwise, the quality of the food needs to match the new prices if they are going to pretend to be a real restaurant.

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Mantra Lounge - Edit

Mantra lounge offers cheap, healthy and great tasting food. Great location for university students, and those that need a quick meal. I ordered the lasagna, asian salad, tiramisu, and a berry ice tea. Although there has been a slight increase in prices, they still offer great value for money. Only con was the food needs to be slightly hotter. It's a fine balance with bain-marie food, too high the food will dry out not high enough the food is not hot enough. If they find that happy medium it will make the experience just that much better.

Pros: Cheap, Tasty , Effecient

Cons: Temperature of hot food

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:( - Edit

This place use to be my absolute jam but since world vegan day their prices have boosted :( for the standard meal, they took away the daily cake and boosted the price a few dollars :( the cakes are absolutely incredible though, and the curries are mostly really nice (except for when they saturate it in Rosemary)!

1 Response

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Ajuna661 01 Nov 2016 - I 100% agree with everything you said.

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Cheap, decent-sized meals with OK not amazing food - Edit

The drawcard of this place is that it's cheap (although they've gone up a bit in the last year). Now you pay around $12 for vegan lasagna, salad and cake or around $8 for a pasta dish, lentil stew and cake. Everything's vegan and the portion sizes are decent for the price. In my (substantial, including recent) experience the lasagna is not that good but it's cheap and edible. I've been here several times and recently tried the nachos, as I saw they were now an option. They were OK, maybe better than the lasagna, but what you'd expect for the price. The tofu curry, on the other hand, was bordering on inedible. There is also a self-service dispenser for drinks, including (vegan) mango lassi and spirulina smoothie, which are $3 for a substantial glass but a bit on the sweet/heavy side. This is a handy option for cheap vegan food if you're in the city area.

Pros: Cheap and all vegan, Pleasant staff, Good location

Cons: Food sometimes not good, Limited seating

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Best value in town - Edit

Mantra lounge provides good food at an excellent price. While there are other cheap options in the city, few (if any) provide food that is of the same quality. Definitely worth a visit.

Pros: Quality, Value, Atmosphere/location

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Wholesome Vegan food and great value - Edit

With an option of two meal deals at $7.95/$12.95, you can fill up on a tasty selection to suit your budget. Separate items are also available such as pasties, salads, soups, cakes etc for a fair price.

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Krishna, Krishna - Edit

Mantra Lounge is directly opposite my workplace and they do some super cheap meals but I've still only ever eaten there a handful of times. Not much of a fan.

Yeah, you can get a main, salad, and cake for $8 which is a steal but it's pretty average quality. The daily sabji is standard Hari Krishna fare - the veggies are cooked really soft, almost mushy and often indistinguishable, and there's an overpowering flavour of asafoetida in everything. The salad is basic mixed leaves but it's always been fresh and is served with a tasty, bitey dressing which I'd guess is nut-based. I've never actually finished a piece of the cake. The small, dry squares are served on the same plate as our mains so soak up your salad dressing. The one piece I did try was banana and had quite a nice spicy flavour but was iced with carob, which I personally hate so threw it out.

I can recommend some of the other deserts. I've been back a few times for the mango slice which has an unbelievably smooth texture, balanced by tangy, fruity mango on a crumbly biscuit base. The pleasecake is similar but I find it's chocolate flavour too sweet, bland, and creamy. If the chocolate was rich and bitter, I'd eat it again.

Last time I popped in there in a pinch at lunch time, they had introduced handmade sausage rolls. For $5, it wasn't dirt cheap like their other meals but it was a winner. Buttery, flaky pastry filled with substantial savoury filling - maybe tofu based?

The interior is pretty colourful and stylish compared to the other Hari Krishna joints in town and they play more contemporary versions of the Krishna tunes but the tone is still clearly evangelical. Wouldn't bring a lunch date here.

Pros: mango slice , sausage roll

Cons: overwhelming asafoetida , mushy veg

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Excellent value for money - Edit

Mantra Lounge is more than a restaurant - it is a community of like minded people celebrating a cruelty free & spiritual life. The food here is excellent value, with a small selection of delicious food & drinks. Mantra Lounge also organises a range of events such as a boat cruise, meditation sessions and a range of talks and has therefore built a small community of like-minded people. Mantra Lounge is a very welcoming space, and highly recommended.

Pros: Delicious food, Excellent value for money, Welcoming, community feel

Cons: More healthy options would be great

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Great communal atmosphere - Edit

What a great surprise to find such great value. I wish they were here when I was a uni student. The chick pea Dahl has amazing flavour. You could not get any better food for such a great price. Keep it up guys

Pros: inexpensive , fresh, great service

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The Best Vegan Place In Melbourne! - Edit

I could not give this place a higher rating! I literally work around the corner and come here practically every day! As a vegan who struggle to find lunch on her break this place is heaven sent and the food is delicious, so cheap and there is plenty of variety everyday! I've noticed so many of my meat eating colleagues eating here on a regular basis and are now seeing the benefits of a vegan lifestyle. The girls Yosa and Malia are lovely and care so much for animals. The place is beautifully decorated, I love taking all my friends here for lunch and now they are open 7 days a week! I could not be happier that Mantra Lounge is open! Peace and Love

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lunch at Mantra Lounge - Edit

I went with a couple of friends to have lunch at this restaurant. I was a little dissappointed to tell you the truth. I'd heard the food was pretty good but the day I went the food came out luke warm and the sweet and sour vege noodle was pretty bland. My friends found theres ok but it was also luke warm and just ok. I had the vegan mango cheesecake for dessert and it was awesome. Nearly made up for the average main course. Overall an average meal. I'll go there again before I make a final decision, perhaps they just didn't have there greatest chef on that day.

Pros: Awesome mango cheesecake, nice staff, good location

Cons: luke warm food, average tasting food

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Best new Melbourne restaurant! - Edit

Love love love love this place. You get a great meal of rice, curry, salad AND cake for $8 (and they have other delicious treats and cakes for $3!) The decor is modern. The owners and staff are the most kind, genuine and pleasant people you will meet. They offer vegan cooking classes, where you are taught to make AND THEN eat your own meal for only $15!! They also hold meditation workshops and other various things. You will walk away from this place feeling ......'better'. My new favourite place to go.

Pros: Great value, Healthy, Wonderful staff

Cons: Its not closer to my house, Its not closer to my house, Its not closer to my house

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Yay! - Edit

This place is great! I had a huge plate of chick pea curry, salad, brown rice, a roti and a piece of chocolate and banana cake for $10. Everything was delicious. The person serving me confirmed that everything they sell is vegan. It's quite a nice place to sit as well, especially in the cute upstairs area.

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