VEGO & VEGAN
EATING CRUELTY-FREE ISN’T A FAD — IT’S A LIFESTYLE AND IT’S HERE TO STAY. TURN OVER A NEW LEAF AT THESE GOLD COAST EATERIES, WRITES AMBER MACPHERSON
THE LC MIAMI 2176 Gold Coast Hwy, Miami
The LC is Australia’s only vegan marketplace, but they like to keep that under wraps. “We don’t put the vegetarian and vegan word a lot in what we do — it’s more about the experience and the vibe,” owner Abbey Jones says. The plant-based food hub is a collective space for half a dozen eateries serving fare from day to night, including noodle bar I Like Ramen, Gigi’s Pizzeria, Flour of Life Bakery, Burgers vs Kebabs, Flora by Greenhouse and new addition Sacred Taste cacao bar. “It’s been quite popular since we opened because we’ve got such a large offering available,” Abbey says. “I think we’re breaking the barriers with what we’re offering in plant-based food. We’ve recreated food that nowhere else would be plant-based, from chicken burgers to cheesy pizzas. Each restaurant offers something in that sense — a cheesy pizzeria calzone, deep-fried mushrooms, the burgers and kebabs, you’ve got an array of everything.” The modern space includes alfresco dining areas for soaking up the sunshine, or spreading out with your squad for drinks at night. “We’ve got a cocktail bar, and it goes hand-in-hand with the food,” Abbey says. “It's a casual, high-end experience with independent dining in a beautiful setting.”
EASY HOUSE VEGETARIAN 8/90 Markeri St, Mermaid Waters
Order a sweet and sour pork, lemon chicken or sizzling beef from Easy House and you’ll be pleasantly surprised they’re all sans meat. The Asian restaurant was offering vegetarian food before the cruelty-free trend swept the Coast, building a reputation for delicious and good-value meals over 10 years. Easy House capitalises on whole vegetables and soy products for its meat substitutes, using eggplant, tofu, pumpkin and fresh greens with spices and sauces. Diners can opt for a yum cha menu at lunch featuring an array of handmade dumplings. Cost effective, diverse and did we mention it’s BYO?
CARDAMOM POD 3/3 Brolga Ave, Southport 1/2685-2689 Gold Coast Hwy, Broadbeach
Cardamom Pod puts a sophisticated twist on the vegetarian diet, offering a la carte dining with an array of gourmet breakfast and lunch options at its Southport cafe. “We plate up sweet and savoury dishes towards a fine-dining experience but without the pricetag,” owner Sean Pinnell says. The food is as colourful as the plates it’s served on. Sean recommends the avo benny dish with seared asparagus on a toasted English muffin. The Broadbeach venue specialises in wholesome lunches and dinners and includes an ice cream parlour with a difference.
THE MILKMAN’S DAUGHTER 1/43 Alfred St, Mermaid Beach
The Milkman’s Daughter co-owner Morgan Walsh says many carnivores are yet to realise their menu is completely meat-free. “We feel our menu is so delish that a lot of meat eaters haven’t even noticed there is no meat and have ended up loving it.” The vegan porridge is regarded as one of the tastiest dishes, but if you’re looking to up your ’gram game opt for the lemon ricotta pancakes. “Our porridge is definitely not taste free and ticks all the boxes. Our pancakes also come with a vegan option and have been one of our most popular dishes and most Instagrammable since day one,” Morgan says.
GREENHOUSE CANTEEN & BAR 140 Griffith St, Coolangatta 1916 Gold Coast Hwy, Miami
The price and product is spot on at Greenhouse Canteen, offering refined cruelty-free meals for a good deal. Off the “small eats” menu are tapas-style dishes at about $10 each including stuffed zucchini flower, battered cauliflower wings with homemade relish and four kinds of tacos. On the big eats menu you’ll find decadent meals for $23 or less, including a smoked jackfruit enchilada, macaroni and cheese and a Moroccan chickpea crepe.
ELIXIBA Robina Town Centre, Robina
A mecca for vegans, Elixiba serves up new-age plant-based food and experimental cocktails. While the words cheesy and creamy make a regular appearance, you can guarantee no harm has been done to any sentient creature in the process. Try the breakfast burger with eggplant “facon”, the jackfruit curry with rice or the mac n chz with noodles for modern meatfree meals breaking down tradition. Elixiba also offers six delightful cocktails, a coconut and lime cider, and its own range of botanical beers.
NUDE SISTERS 3/90 Markeri St, Mermaid Waters
Vegan burger for breakfast? Chia porridge for lunch? Nude Sisters has you covered. The Mermaid Waters vegetarian haunt serves up an all-day menu packed with healthy, fresh dishes using locally sourced ingredients. “We are also refined sugar free, and we’re really open to people with allergies or dietary requirements,” manager Loren Telfer says. Loren says the green bowl with spinach, kale, broccolini, almonds, avocado, quinoa, beetroot labneh and a poached egg is the most delicious meal on the menu. “You can have a vegan option as well. It’s a really healthy dish with complex carbohydrates.”
LORD OF THE FRIES Cavill Ave, Surfers Paradise
Lord of the Fries proves vegan can come in all flavours, especially greasy and salty. Specialising in plant-based burgers, fries, hot dogs and sauces, you can get your cheat meal fix at Lord of The Fries while still being a friend to the animals. The eatery’s best-selling chip is the classic cut with poutine — hot gravy and vegan cheese — or Aussie sauce — tomato and vinegar. You can grab a veggie burger with all the trimmings of a Big Mac, as well as crispy onion rings, “phish and chips” and “chicken nuggets”.
FLOUR OF LIFE 20 Siganto Drive, Helensvale
Mince, milk and eggs are staples of the bakery world, so most are surprised to learn Flour of Life is completely vegan. “People look at our custard tarts and vanilla tarts, and think what the hell have they done to make it taste really good?” owner Steve O’Brien says. “They see all these fine colours and beautiful treats and they don’t taste a difference. You can make all of this stuff without all the problems dairy and eggs cause.” As well as tarts, brownies and turnovers, Flour of Life has an extensive range of “meat pies” and “sausage rolls”.
GIRI KANA 2 Nind St, Southport
Inspired by Hare Krishna food, Giri Kana’s fare is a hit with herbivores and omnivores alike. “It’s food made with love,” manager Carrie Osborn says. Cruelty-free food is dished out day and night, from a filling vegan big breakfast to a combination buffet-style hot dinner. Not to mention the top quality coffee, scrumptious kofta balls and to-die-for vegan sweets. “All of our desserts are vegan. They’re one of the reasons we’re so popular,” Carrie says. Giri Kana was the winner of the Bulletin’s 2016 best vegetarian restaurant on the Gold Coast, and today is hosting an all-day breakfast with live music.
GOVINDAS 3120 Surfers Paradise Blvd, Surfers Paradise
There’s a reason those people chanting Hare Krishna around Surfers Paradise appear so damn happy — they’re loaded up on Govindas. Known for its great value all you can eat vegetarian meals, Govindas will feed your empty belly and your soul with the Hare Krishna vibes flowing from the kitchen to the street. The bain marie is refreshed every day with vegetable curries, potato bake, rice, kofta balls, papadams, salad and pasta, as well as the more-ish halava and custard. You’ll be singing their praises in the streets in no time.
SACRED TASTE 2176 Gold Coast Hwy, Miami
This pop-up food and drink dispensary is Australia’s first cacao bar. On top of selling the delicious chocolate bean drink, Sacred Taste serves vegan gelato, desserts and treats free of gluten and sugar in edible containers. “I love the fact that we can bring people really delicious food that also contributes really positively to the environment,” owner Maz Valcorza says. “Our epic sundae is made with your choice of house-churned gelato, topped with any of the treats we have in our display cabinet, served with coconut whipped cream, brownie, berries and chocolate shavings.”
BLENDLOVE 1/253 Ferry Rd, Southport
Blendlove takes vegan food back to basics with its meals made from scratch with raw ingredients. “The philosophy is to create food in its purest form, no preservatives, refined ingredients,” owner Ricki-Lee Gilbert says. Offering breakfast and lunch as well as decadent dairy-free “cheezecakes”, Ricki-Lee says it’s the schnitzel burger that will surprise carnivores. “We have a gluten-free burger bun, avocado, cheese sauce, tomato relish, a crumbed schnitzel mushroom, with rice paper bacon and greens. If you’re eating here with a family member that’s vegan, you won’t feel like you’re missing out.”