My blog went pretty quiet in December. I went back “home home” to Sydney for my first family Christmas in almost a decade (!) and despite my best intentions to blog whilst away, my time was spent enjoying myself with family and friends.
I did spend a lot of time eating, which I like to think of as blog prep. And now that I’m back in chilly London, I’m excited to relive a little summer by sharing my best foodie finds from Sydney.
Well, it seems that Australia is finally catching on to the whole vegan thing as it was so much easier than even a couple of years ago to find amazing food and drink that was veg-friendly when out and about.
Though based in the Northern Beaches, I spent a little time in Sydney’s inner city, so here’s my favourite finds from cafes, bars and pubs in those areas.
Eleven 11, Warriewood
I have to start with Eleven 11 cafe because seriously, just look at this smoothie bowl. It practically screams Australian summer!
This was their Acai Smoothie Bowl with banana, berries, muesli and coconut water. The smoothie part was icy cold and so delicious. Washed down with an almond milk latte, it was the perfect summery brunch.
In terms of lunch, Eleven 11 had some decent vegetarian options on the menu but you’d have to adapt the salads to be vegan. But honestly, just go for the smoothie bowls.
The Green Lion, Rozelle
Two vegetarians and a butcher walk into a vegan pub…
One balmy night in Sydney, a couple of friends and I headed to The Green Lion in Rozelle, Australia’s first plant-based pub. The pub offers vegan-ised versions of traditional pub grub like burgers, fish & chips, parmigianas, schnitzels, pizzas… Basically every deliciously carb-filled meal you can think of.
Always a sucker for a good vegan burger, I had the Buddha Burger. It was stacked with a brown rice, black bean & quinoa patty, along with with salad, beetroot, pickled cucumber, and hummus. I added a hash brown just because I could. The calorie overload was worth definitely it. A-maz-ing.
My dining buddies both got the eggplant parmas, which were made with vegan “bacon” and cheese. The parmas were huge and both veggie and omnivore really enjoyed them, though the jury was out on the “bacon”.
We were all super-full from our mains but when we saw a Golden Gaytime cheesecake on the menu, it was a necessity so we ordered a slice to share and it was ridic.
If you’re Australian, you’ll appreciate the nostalgia of Golden Gaytimes. For everyone else, you need to watch this clip to understand. Seriously, watch it. It’s excellent.
The pub itself is a little outdated (think green-patterned carpets, wicker chairs, and wood panelling) and they could probably lose the wall-mounted animal heads given it’s a vegan venue… However, the amazing food and friendly service more than makes up for the dingy decor!
Cup Half Full, Surry Hills
The morning following our carb-fest, we went for brunch in Surry Hills. Given that we were in such a trendy area, we naturally had to get the smashed avocado toast, which was served with quinoa, beetroot hummus, halloumi and a poached egg.
After some discussion, I managed to swap the egg and cheese for asparagus at no extra cost (surely that’s a much cheaper option?)!
They had a good range of vegetarian options on their lunch menu plus a few vegan choices including a quinoa & roast veg salad and a falafel sandwich.
The cafe offers both soy and almond milk at a small extra charge (everywhere in Sydney charges) and their lattes were really good.
Speaking of coffee…
Girdlers has three locations throughout Sydney’s Northern Beaches: Dee Why Beach, Manly, and Warringah Mall in Brookvale.
We visited their Brookvale branch and although it’s in the middle of a shopping mall, it doesn’t feel that way. The cafe is semi-outdoors, decorated with loads of greenery, and has a relaxed, beachy vibe.
We got takeaway coffee from their extensive tea & coffee menu (soy, almond and coconut milk available) and my almond latte was pretty good.
It would have been nice to make it back for lunch or afternoon tea one day though, as they had some amazing-sounding vegan options including smoothie bowls, zoodles, chia puddings, raw cakes and more.
Banana Blossom, Brookvale
Also at Warringah Mall, we stopped by Banana Blossom for a quick take-away lunch. They offer a range of Asian salads with either an egg or rice noodle base and you can choose to add chicken or tofu.
They have three vegan options; I went for the Pure Buddha’s Delight Tofu, which came with pineapple, green papaya, nashi pear and cashews, topped with a sweet tamarind dressing. It was delicious and summery, though it could have done with more of the fruit.
Tasting Deck, Terrey Hills
On my last day in Sydney, I wanted to go for lunch with my mum, my sister and her two little ones. Finding a cafe that caters for both kids and vegans is not always easy but the Tasting Deck fit the bill.
Part of a large food market, the outdoor deck cafe focuses on fresh, seasonal produce. There’s a great playground right next to the deck area, so it’s the perfect place for adults to grab a coffee or a quick bite whilst the kids entertain themselves.
It was a hot day, so we all had iced coffees (mine with almond milk).
They had a great selection of sandwiches and salads on offer but I couldn’t go past the Vegan Envy Burger – a pumpkin, sweet potato, kale and quinoa patty with salad and house chutney. SO GOOD!
Doughnut Time, Sydney
Finally, I have to mention the indulgent sweet treats from Doughnut Time.
I actually first tried Doughnut Time in London when they gave out freebies at Olympia Beauty. However, the company is Australian born and bred and when I saw their stall in Sydney’s QVB, I couldn’t resist!
Made by hand with locally sourced ingredients, they are seriously some of the tastiest doughnuts I’ve ever eaten. They always have a few different vegan options on their rotating menu. Not being a fan of chocolate, I went for the Fairy Godmother – a plain doughnut with vegan cream cheese frosting and sprinkles. My friend went for the Liam Hemsworthy (lolz) – a vegan red velvet doughnut with cookies and cream topping. The massive sugar rush is so worth it.
I’m so pleased at how much easier it’s getting to eat out as a vegetarian or vegan and there were so many more places I wish I could have tried.
Next time, hey?
Where are your favourite foodie venues in Sydney?
For more great vegan food in Sydney, check out these posts: