Being one half of a travelling vegetarian / vegan couple, when it comes to food, you’ve gotta plan ahead. That’s not really about planning out exactly where or what you’re going to eat, but just sussing out what the local plant-based food landscape is like. But so often, my pre-trip research is a disappointing exercise. Regardless of the destination, my search results invariably suggest the same thing – that if you’re fuelling yourself with a plant-based diet, you’re pretty much f**ed. lol.
And just in case you’re thinking this is only a problem encountered when travelling overseas, I can report that it’s most definitely not. I ran into the same issues when researching food options for our trip to Tasmania. But of course, once I actually arrive at my destination, I often find the exact opposite is true. Maybe it’s time to abandon my pre-trip food planning? Hmm…
It’s my pleasure to share some tasty plant-based food options in Tasmania. Because if there’s one thing I know how to do, it’s how to uncover AWESOME veggie food (by the by, I’m also somewhat of a savant when it comes to finding the most expensive item of clothing in a store full of sales stock). #lifeskills
Food: ‘The Brown’ bruschetta; thyme-roasted honey browns, pickled enoki & oyster mushrooms, mushie puree, lemon, fennel, chimichurri (vegan option)
With only a couple of days spent in South Hobart, we were spoilt for choice with breakfast options … but I think we made the right decision by going with Ginger Brown. We visited on a Wednesday morning and even though I’d been forewarned about how popular a café it is, it was still surprising to see just how busy it was on an ordinary weekday morning. I would highly recommend booking ahead if you intend to visit on a weekend, because I doubt you’d be as lucky to just walk in and happen upon a free table.
The service here is amazingly friendly and there’s a really nice chilled out vibe … it’s a busy place without giving in to the energy of hustle and bustle. I had lots of great options to choose on the menu, but decided to go savoury and get seriously mushroomy with the Brown Bruschetta dish (vegan option) – this was AMAZING! It’s easy to sometimes get a little mushroom-ed out as a vego, but this dish was light, satisfying and tasty af.
Food: Mushroom Pakora, Aloo Gobhi, Roti
It was a cold and rainy Hobart afternoon, and after getting pretty soaked in an earlier downpour (I’m such a Tasmanian noob and made the mistake of venturing out without an umbrella or raincoat), I was most definitely in the mood for something warm and comforting. Such an occasion surely calls for an Indian feast?
Not feeling like dealing with the unfamiliar, and somewhat complex web of narrow streets around Battery Point by car, we decided to brave the weather and walk to dinner. The long twilight gifted by daylight savings time, makes later evening dinner adventures a pleasure to explore on foot.
It was a delight to find ourselves at Magic Curries on that cool Hobart evening. We were lucky enough to be seated next to the open fireplace, which meant I could peel back some layers and enjoy the warmth that only an open fire can provide.
Starting with the mushroom pakoras, we were instantly smitten … these were absolutely incredible, and in lieu of a better way to describe them, they reminded me of a certain fried chicken establishment … but more in a ‘tasty, finger-licking good’ sense … not so much in a ‘death to all chickens’ kind of way.
Actually, I got the start of this story a little wrong, I already knew the food here was going to be amazing when I saw they had Aloo Gobhi on the menu. What’s Aloo Gobhi, you may ask? Well it’s only the best Indian dish EVER. It’s one that I make a killer version of myself, so I hold others up to a pretty high standard. Without a doubt I can categorically state that this was the BEST Aloo Gobhi I’ve ever enjoyed … even better than my own (not that there’s really much competition on that front). lol. Paired with the best Roti I’ve ever eaten … after this meal I felt well and truly warmed up from the inside out. Hurrah!
Food: Aloo Saag (pan fried potatoes and spinach cooked with cumin seed and dry chillies); Chana Aloo (potatoes and chickpeas cooked in thick curry sauce); Roti
With no real idea of what to have for dinner, we remembered how nice it had been to just wander our way to Battery Point, and so we thought we’d just try our luck there again. Taking a different route to dinner we dallied longer than required as we ogled at all the beautiful homes, oh-so-green parks and historical shop fronts along the way. Seriously Hobart, enough already … you’re ridiculously stunning.
The view into Kathmandu Cuisine looked cosy and inviting, like a little refuge away from the cool of night. There were a few options, and while a lot of the veggie dishes were largely reminiscent of the Indian food we enjoyed the night before, there were no complaints from me. Sharing a mix of mains, while the Chana Aloo was good … it was the Aloog Saag which was a clear favourite for both of us. I ALWAYS crave fresh greens when I travel, and this dish certainly helped assuage that yearning a little. Yum, yum, yum! A little reminder that simple ingredients and some wonderful spices are really all you need to create a meal that’s both satisfying and full of flavour.
Food: Mork chocolate belgium waffles with cinnamon grilled banana, house ice cream and coconut crumble
I’m kind of glad that a lot of our local South Hobart options decided not to open on the show holiday, because it meant that I had an excuse to travel a little further afield to another café on my list. And that’s the story of how we ended up at Straight Up Coffee and Food. Being a 100% vegetarian and gluten free café, I knew it’d be tough going making a decision on what to eat … but I somehow just knew I needed to go sweet. Waffles it is! My decision garnered further support from the major pancake craving I’d been harbouring for a while … and so in lieu of pancakes, I accepted waffles as a pretty close cousin.
I love a lot of the ingredients in this dish individually, and so with them all coming together in one meal, I wasn’t at all surprised to discover the waffles were INCREDIBLE. Sweet without being too sweet, and a really lovely blend of different flavours without being overpowering and making the whole dish (& thereby me in consuming it) feel heavy. Waffles aside, because they’re pretty damn great, let’s just draw attention to how delicious grilled banana is … and when you combine that with cinnamon and coconutty goodness, well safe to say, I’m done. #dropsmic
Place: Veg Bar, North Hobart
Time: Lunch & Dinner
Food: Nachos (yellow & blue corn tortilla chips, corn salsa, chilli beans, avocado crème, chipotle aioli, cheese sauce, coriander); Cauliflower buffalo wings (served with buffalo and caesar sauce); Cheezeburger (matcha bun, mushroom and chickpea pattie, american cheese, pickles, onion, ketchup, mustard) with a side of french fries
When I discovered this place (1) existed, and (2) was still in business (because how disappointing is it to discover amazing places just a little too late?), I kinda had this sneaking suspicion that it might just be the pièce de résistance of my veggie dining experience in Tasmania. I visited twice, and would have happily come back again and again, but my travel plans dictated otherwise. The look and feel of Veg Bar is super cool without being pretentious, and it’s always a treat to have an ENTIRE menu of deliciousness to choose from.
Our first visit was for dinner, after completing the Three Capes Track, and what my body wanted was SALT and what my mouth wanted was crunch. Hello, nachos! Ever a good choice, but especially so when sodium and a crunchy texture is particularly desired, the Veg Bar version of nachos delivered on both quality and quantity. This dish was huge! And yet we still managed to eat a side of the incredibly delicious cauliflower buffalo wings (I would happily consume a double serve of these as a meal in their own right). Accompanied by a cold pressed green juice, this diner was very, very happy and very, very full by the time we left … it was definitely a good decision to walk back to the city centre.
Our second visit was for a late lunch, so the place was relatively quiet … and once again we opted to sit at one of the booths rather than one of the park benches. Today was all about the burger for me, but it was a hard choice deciding on which one to go with. In the end, I went with the Cheezeburger and a side of fries – a simple choice in lots of ways, but sometimes simple is oh so right. Back in my meat-eating burger days, I was never a fan of pickles … but now, I’m a big fan of how their flavour works in with a ‘meaty’ pattie. And can I just say a big HELL YEAH to ketchup and proper mustard?!?! Because so many places get that wrong … this was without a doubt the best vegan burger I’ve EVER had (& I’ve eaten more than a few).
Meal: Vegan Quesadillas (roast veg and Mexican bean mix topped with guacamole)
After an early flight from Brisbane, we found ourselves hungry and a little worse for wear on the streets of Hobart, desperately seeking some decent veggie fare. As a lover of animals, the Cat and Fiddle Arcade drew my eye, and from there we discovered the Rhyme Street Café. The menu here is HUGE, and I was pleased to spy many veggie options. The only downside to much choice is that my decision-making abilities are drastically compromised when I’m tired, but I figured you can’t really go wrong with Mexican when you’re famished.
A generously portioned meal, and the kind which is tasty, wholesome and comforting … perhaps the best way to put it is that it felt homemade in all the right kinds of ways. As this was the first place we ate at in Hobart, I figured that if I found food no one else, I’d always have Rhyme Street Café to fall back on … a not too shabby worst-case scenario option that’s for sure! But in the end, I didn’t need to invoke my backup plan.
Food: Vegan Bruschetta
After spending a few days in the relative isolation of Strahan, we headed north towards Burnie thinking that we’d spend some time wandering about, and of of course, lingering for lunch. I’m sure Burnie is a lovely place, it certainly looked that way … buuuuuut it was just a little too on the busy side for us. lol. And so we decided to journey on to Penguin, a sweet seaside town with a village atmosphere.
Yes, what a delight. After taking our photos with the huge penguin statue (…when in Rome), we ventured down the main street in search of a good place to eat, and found ourselves outside the Letterbox Café. While it may not look like more than a hole in the wall coffee shop from the front, stepping inside we were pleasantly surprised at both the size of the café and the variety of the menu (with lots of vegetarian and vegan options). Success!
The vegan bruschetta I enjoyed was generously portioned, full of flavour and best of all was super fresh. There’s nothing quite like the combination of fresh tomato and basil to get the tastebuds firing. The coffee was great here as well, and I highly recommend trying some dessert – the raw, vegan snickers slice was THE BEST version I’ve tasted to date – not too sweet, the right kind of caramel goodness, and just a lovely balance of nutty flavours.
Food: Vegie Chickpea Burger (made with Indian spices and served in a crusty roll with lettuce, tomato, sweet chilli sauce)
With many hours spent happily exploring the Bruny Island lighthouse and surrounds, lunch was very much front of mind. Given that we passed Bruny Island Premium Wines on our way out earlier that morning, it seemed like a logical place to assess our lunchtime options.
Given we were in a winery, I knew that vegan options might be a little more limited (however I’m sure you could ask about modifying other meals). However vegetarians were definitely well-catered for (if that’s where your interests lie the cheese platter looked pretty amazing). I went with the Vegie Chickpea Burger (minus the cheese) – the spices were lovely (not too hot!) and it was a very satisfying meal to enjoy on a cool afternoon. Be warned though, this burger is BIG – I had to cut it into portions to eat it (which I’m never a big fan of doing with a burger, but I’m prepared to do what needs to be done for good food). I paired my lunch with a J Dillon & Sons Bruny Island Cider, which was also delicious and further encouraged me to sit and linger awhile.
Food: Vegan pizza (napoli sauce, beetroot, red peppers, swiss brown mushrooms, spinach & sweet potato)
With no real plans for our day, we didn’t rush into anything. As ever though, coffee called, and so as we did on every day we spent on Bruny Island, we started with a coffee at the Bruny Island Café (just in case you were wondering, the coffee here was consistently amazing!). After enjoying our coffee with a view, we got talking to the staff who recommended that we head over to Cloudy Bay and discover how much it varied from the calm beach front of Adventure Bay.
I’m so glad we took that advice, because Cloudy Bay is beautiful – it’s all drama filled, with crashing waves, an expanse of sand, and on the day we visited at least – the skies were dark and heavy. So moody, much wow. We did a lot of walking and took a lot of photos, so by the time we made it back to the car we were FAMISHED.
Everyone kept recommending Hotel Bruny to us for their incredible food, but it’s often a much different experience for the veggie-inclined. However, we decided to give it a go. It was nice to see that the menu includes quite a few delicious sounding vegetarian dishes, but I wasn’t really in the mood for anything particularly heavy. So I asked whether there were any additional vegan options (which the menu kindly pointed out as being available). The excellent suggestion made was to veganise the vegetarian pizza … and as soon as that offering was put forward, I knew that was EXACTLY what I felt like eating. lol.
This was the perfect meal – light, full of flavour and loaded up with the right mix of vegies … I love it when vegan options are no trouble at all. It just goes to show that it ALWAYS pays to ask.
It’s been hard reminiscing about all these delicious meals enjoyed whilst journeying around Tasmania, but at least I know exactly where I’ll be eating when I make my next trip down south. x