Firstly: Happy international day of the nacho, y’all! Not only is it world nacho day, but Melbourne is also celebrating Mexico’s “Day of the Dead” festival – for a week. Click here for info on events.
Today I went on a mission for Mexican food. Radio Mexico wasn’t opening until 4pm (I was only in town for lunch) and Trippy Taco had crowds of people wandering in, despite there being no tables available – so Mr. AA & I went for a little wander and ended up eating at Grumpy’s Green – a vegetarian, eco-friendly lounge/bar.
125 Smith Street
Fitzroy VIC 3065
Ph: (03) 9416 1944
Don’t let the name put you off – these guys aren’t grumpy at all. In fact, they’re pretty upbeat. The main bar/lounge/band area is dimly lit – which I imagine is great in the evenings, but it’s a little hard on the eyes during the day – So Mr. AA and I walked through the naturally lit dining area (pictured above) into a small, four-table intimate court yard.
The menu isn’t big or even largely varied (from memory, about a quarter of it was dedicated to pizza options), but it was all tempting. We actually ate here quite some time ago with a few very hungover friends (in my pre-blogging days) and liked the food, but the menu has changed since then. I was very adamant about eating Mexican food today, so our order was a no-brainer.
Mr. AA ordered the nachos, which were an impressive man-sized meal (this would easily feed 2 females!). Thankfully we were warned about the size of the meal and Mr. AA was discouraged from ordering a side dish to go with them. The cheese and sour cream on these are made from dairy; there isn’t a vegan subsitute, so the vegan version omits these ingredients. We were both impressed by the fresh ingredients piled onto this dish – the tomatoes and coriander were a great alternative to the sugary salsa from a jar that some restaurants try to pass off as authentic!
The guacamole was something both Mr. AA and I commented on to each other – it was delicious! Smooth, creamy and not too sour. It was strangely understated but really stood out.
These were superb, even though they’re nothing like a traditional quesadilla! I was up for a lighter meal and the quesadillas with salad sounded perfect. I asked for them without dairy (vegan) because the regular option on the menu contains cheese. The filling was mainly black beans in a tomato sauce with a bit of tempeh, carrot and onion dotted through it. The flavours were fairly simple but worked well with the crispy tortillas, salsa and guacamole. The side salad was nice and had the dressing massaged into the greens, so there wasn’t a pool of it spreading across the plate. This is a huge plus – a lot of restaurants don’t do this and it’s definitely a hinderance – especially when salad dressing spreads and turns something crispy into something soggy!
There was a small hiccup during our visit that I feel I should mention in the interest of being completely honest in my review. Both mine and another person’s order had accidentally been made with dairy – however neither of the meals were served to us. Instead, the waiter offered a sincere apology and our meals were very quickly re-made. The girl behind me was clearly irritated in a strange bubbly way, however I wasn’t too worried. I’d much rather wait a little longer for a meal that’s right than be served the wrong thing.
I’d defintely eat here again and if I was local, I’d be keen to grab a beer and watch some bands in the evening – the place really has a great feel to it that I can’t describe with words. The menu is vegetarian and most (if not all) items can be made vegan. There’s some gluten free options and the venue has a great attitude both towards its customers and the environment.