Right, onto the main event, the place to be, the capital city with a capital S!
So I finally made it to Sydney after a few weeks of jumping about the rest of Australia and it was welcoming to this little lady. It took me a little while to discover its secrets, but at the end of the day, if you want a load of options, Newtown is probably your best bet. Although I didn’t spend too much time here, when wandering down the bountiful King Street, I saw signs for vegan pie, a vegan fish and chip shop, veggie noodles, mock meats and soups, and wait for it, a vegetarian butcher. Apparently King Street is nicknamed ‘Eat Street’ here by locals and you can see why. If that isn’t a load of options, I dunno what is. I was here for weeks by the way. I like to eat but I didn’t go to all of these places in a day or something. Right, I hope you’re ready for the longest post ever? Well let’s get started!
Suzy Spoon’s Vegetarian Butcher is a small and very busy cafe that serves vegan versions of meaty exfavourites. I dragged my new Taiwanese mate I made in Tasmania here for brunch one morning. You can either order a meal in-house or buy packets of their sosages or facon to take home and cook there. My plate here was a breakfast complete with a Suzy Spoon’s herbed sausage, veggie bacon, hash brown, bread, mushrooms and tomato. To be honest my old favourite breakfast that works in the UK doesn’t really work in warm temperatures, but it was pretty tasty nonetheless. The bacon was a bit overdone though. My buddy had a burger which she enjoyed. It must be nice to live here and know you can just pick up a vegan lasagne or sausages whenever you fancy to heat up at home too. My advice is to get here off peak times or be prepared to wait a little for a table as it is quite a small space and seems to be a popular joint to hang out in. I think they are about to move cafe spaces due to rent increases so check out the website to find out where they are based if you’re heading here after March 2016.
It’s obviously not often really heavy food in this climate though that you want and something nearby, healthier and harking back to the awesome food I ate in Asia was at Golden Lotus Vegan. Here I ordered dumplings stuffed with veggies. I’ll say more about the popularity of dumplings in this city later but if you like dumplings, you won’t be disappointed in Sydney. Sydneysiders (yeah, that’s an actual thing) love their yum cha that’s for sure. I also had a clear and flavoursome broth with noodles, mock duck and veggies. Eating soups like this always feels really nourishing because time and effort has gone into making the base super flavoursome, and anything else added to it is a bonus. When I ordered all this food I was pretty greedy so I couldn’t finish it. Top marks for effort though. Filling, not too expensive and totally worth a visit.
I had a similar bowl of health, and this place really sold the health side of it all, from Nourishing Quarter in the Surry Hills. A Vietnamese soup with tofu, mint, basil, beansprouts and buckwheat and purple kumara noodles. Yeah. New one on me too! This restaurant was really kooky. A 100% vegan place with an emphasis on wellbeing. All the plates were grandma-style china with old fashioned furniture. The space was quite cosy and with only two sittings per night I felt quite lucky to get a table seeing as I decided where I wanted to go about twenty minutes before dinnertime. I came, quickly slurped up my soup, and headed back to my snug dorm bed and mad dorm mates feeling rejuvenated. You need bowls of soup like this when you’re backpacking! Travelling takes it out of you man! Especially when the hot topic in the hostel is the best way to down goon. You can google that, but my advice, to buy a decent beer instead, didn’t go down too well nonetheless! Kids today eh?
Along the same lines of ‘is this food appropriate for Aussie weather?’, e.g. English breakfast not really, I’ve got to tell you about the best pie I’ve ever eaten. Pies seem to be an unlikely staple in Australian cuisine and you see them being sold everywhere really. Bondi Beach is somewhere we’ve all heard of, even if it’s just because of that terrible lifeguard show on channel 157 when you’re flipping through TV too late at night, and here is where you can find some bonza (Yeah I know I shouldn’t say this. I accidentally said g’day to someone yesterday and I was just worried for the next five minutes this old guy thought I was taking the mick but it was automatic. I felt like a bad person!) Aussie pies. Funky Pies is a little shop with outdoor seating and a busy, bustling vibe even on a warm day. I ordered my lamb style pie which I believe is shiitake mushroom based and was immediately asked if I wanted mash, mushy peas and gravy with that. If only I was back home in the freezing cold but right then, in bright 30something degree sunshine the last thing I could imagine eating was mash. The pie was excellent. Tender ‘meat’ and a tasty gravy in flaky pastry even with a spoonful of mash enclosed. I like your Funky style Funky Pies, very much indeed! Now just move it to cold, dark England where I’d be up for extra mash and peas and a bucket of gravy.
For something a little less ‘dinner on a winter evening’ in Bondi, there are plenty of other options though. One of which is Laurie’s Vegetarian Takeaway. I picked up a tempeh burger which is far becoming my new favourite food thanks to Australia. The tempeh is so mild, nutty and flavoursome. I am going on a mission when I get home to work more with this intriguing ingredient. Opting for satay sauce on my slice of tempeh with salad galore seemed the best plan. Delicious and it was perfect after a long walk from Coogee to Bondi along the coast, even if the hike up the hill to the cafe nearly killed me in the heat. Like it really nearly killed me. I practically melted.
Also raw food, as all over Australia, is massive here. It’s just too hot for pie and mash all the time (Don’t tell Funky Pies!) On Valentine’s Day I followed a scenic 10k walk with a really healthy bowl of salad from Native – Real Feel. I thought that I’d treat myself right on this commercial monstrosity of a day so after all that fine exercising I didn’t want to neck a plate of chips, weep into my pillow because I’m so alone, eat my weight in chocolate and all those cliches. There were loads of little desserts and cake slices here with all the right ingredients like peanut butter and cacao. Well worth a check in if you’re up in Manley. Go eat the rainbow or something!
As I mentioned earlier what seems to be really popular as well in Sydney, and quite different from pies and raw food, is yum cha. Yum cha is basically ordering dim sum, lots of little tasty dumplings with interesting fillings. With a thriving and lively Chinatown just off of George Street, this isn’t entirely surprising as well as the fact it’s filling, quick and social to share. Here’s a shout out for Mother Chu’s Vegetarian Kitchen. They served me some cute dumplings for lunch one day. With soy sauce. No more needs to be said. I’d actually love some dumplings right now in fact. Instead I have a can of chickpeas.
Slightly further East just near Hyde Park seems to be a very trendy and well established Sydney institution – Bodhi in the Park. This pretty place has long benches and tables inside, but in the humid heat of a city evening where you want to be is outside under huge fig trees strung with glittering fairy lights. Unfortunately thanks to our spontaneous decision to eat there, we were inside, however our food was still pretty fun. Sadly all the dumplings had sold out, which is what I really had wanted to eat, instead I had sweet potato and yam rolls, san choy bao lettuce cups with a spiced mince and veggies and some ‘chicken’ buns. I always find the little rolls with rice noodle pastry on the outside a bit weird I’ve realised. I think in the future I’ll avoid them really. Too much deepfriedness. But it was a nice place to eat with a friend who was about to leave for European shores, and it would be great for a date.
Nearly at the end now of this mammoth post. The place I popped into a couple of times when on the move in the city for cheap and filling fare that felt healthy was Iku Wholefoods Kitchen. Here you could get a plate of something lentil based like a dahl or soup or stew for under ten dollars. They are also all over the city. Cooking in hostel kitchens is difficult when you are used to having a pantry full of herbs, spices and basics. You can’t really buy those things to carry around in your bag and it’s even difficult to have oil, salt and pepper at hand most of the time, so Iku was really welcome for a simple and wholesome dinner or a snacky riceball filled with grains and seeds to eat whilst walking around Sydney. Even if this picture looks really unappetising!
And lastly. Lord of the Fries. No more needs to be said. Especially when you discover one like 10m from your hostel after a few too many lemonades. See the post on Melbourne. It’s great to see this amazing fast food place is popping up in other cities in Australia including a new one in Perth I’ve heard! Thinking Bristol could really do with one.
There are many more places to visit in Sydney, like hundreds and I bet some good ones aren’t even listed on the net as veganism is growing and the raw food movement in particular is huge here, and if I had the time and the money I would go and see what these places were like too:
Bliss and Chips because vegan fish and chip shop. No more needs to be said.
Gigi Pizzeria for gourmet all vegan pizza.
Lentil as Anything because it was great in Melbourne. I love the concept of feeding each other and paying what you can. So ace.
Superfood Sushi because I’m curious how superfoods and sushi mix!
Please someone go and try them out and tell me what you think. I’m exhausted after all this writing! Over and out food fans! 😀