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 Gold Coast Bulletin - Gold Coast Eye - - FEA­TURE -

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.”

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