Brewhouse Coffee Roasters

Brewhouse 1
Brewhouse
7 Eve Court (access via Abel St, not Breen St!)
Golden Square, VIC
AUSTRALIA
Ph: (03) 5442 8232

This venue looks great and I’m annoyed that I didn’t take any photos of it for you all! It’s in the heart of an industrial area and is inside a big shed. The counter & kitchen are tucked inside a shipping container with doors & windows cut out. Outside the barrista station hangs four giant industrial lamps; throughout the rest of the shed, light globes hang with rolled up paddock-style wire fencing wrapped around them as makeshift light shades. The tables are long, wooden and rustic looking and they’re paired with metal chairs.

Brewhouse cappuccino
Brewhouse cappuccino.

The coffee at Brewhouse is absolutely terrific. It’s strong and creamy; absolutely top notch and some of the best available in Bendigo. Fortunately, you can purchase a variety of their roasted beans to take home. I highly recommend them!

Brewhouse menu

The menu, however, is sorely disappointing – especially if you’re a vegan. There’s one vegetarian option (a turkish roll with grilled veggies) which I suppose you could order, but you’d have to ask for it without the haloumi and make some changes to the salad or omit it altogether. This option was pretty boring to me, so I started asking lots of questions (though evidently, I didn’t ask enough). On the specials board, there was a veggo breakfast advertised with your choice of four toppings. Unfortuantely, the base of this breakfast is 2 eggs on 2 pieces of toast. So, I decided to try another approach – maybe I could make my own meal out of several of the sides.

Brewhouse meal
Chips, avocado & braised beans.

I asked about the chips – they’re vegan, but they’re also pre-packaged and frozen, with more ingredients than a deep fried potato should have (and let’s face it – if I wanted frozen chips, I could get them a lot cheaper at the supermarket). I was really disappointed by this, as I was all geared up for some special, hand cut chips – but I ordered them anyway, since my choices were already severely limited. I also tried to cut these guys some slack, considering the size of their kitchen and staff.

In addition, I ordered the braised beans (which were nice, but not amazing), some avocado and the side salad. I specifically asked if the side salad was a “standard garden salad” and was told “yes”. No. No, it definitely wasn’t. What appeared on my plate was a Greek salad (with feta in it), drizzled with a honey/mustard/mayo dressing. There was at least three ingredients in it that I couldn’t eat, so I sadly scraped it off onto Mr. AA’s plate and ate the epic portion of carbohydrates pictured above while sulking. I left feeling heavy and annoyed.

In most cases, I expect to have issues when eating out. I try not to judge menus based on my dietary requirements because let’s face it – the word “vegan” is foreign to A LOT of people and I’m not in denial of that. I’m understanding. But in this case, I was especially disappointed because I’d been in touch with these guys earlier this year to express my excitement and enouragement about their kitchen opening. I’d made a point of introducing myself and said I’d come back to review their venue when the kitchen had opened/settled and hoped that they’d make a vegan option available on the menu. Sadly, this didn’t happen.

If you need a vegan meal, don’t bother. But if you want a fabulous coffee, you’re in the right place.

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Bath Lane Café

Bath Lane Café
13 Bath Lane
Bendigo, VIC 3550
Ph: (03) 5441 5400

Mr. AA often goes on a “man date” with one of his mates when he has the day off work. They recently went to the Bath Lane Café together, and Mr. AA, being the wonderful, considerate man he was, scanned the menu for vegan options to see if he could bring me there (without me having to dissect the menu and ask to have a special meal made up).

As it turns out, a wonderful lady that I met online via my osteopath is the manager there. She makes a kick arse coffee that will have you climbing the walls if you don’t drink coffee often; it’s super strong and it’s refreshingly fabulous to finally be served soy milk that’s velvety as opposed to foamy! Nice work, Jaime.

Bath Lane Coffee
Can you tell we have a mutual girl-crush? Check out the super cute heart in my coffee! We also both happened to be wearing yellow cardigans – I think our friendship is meant to be.

Bath Lane Juice

I also ordered this juice, which included apple, carrot, beetroot and celery (and ginger at my request). While the balance of fruit and veggies was perfect, the texture was a little grainy. Mr. AA ordered the apple, lemon & ginger juice which was less harsh in texture and again, excellently balanced in regards to flavour.

Bath Lane Veganfast

The breakfast was superb – and very comparable to the one at T’Hooft, only without the hash brown and some other subtle differences.

I was thoroughly impressed with my visit to the Bath Lane Café. If I were to compare it to T’Hooft, I’d say the coffee was better, the meals were fairly equal (the baked beans at Bath Lane are sweeter and tangier, so it just depends how you like them) and the service was significantly better and quicker (with an equal amount of patrons).

I’ll definitely be heading back there next time I’m in the mood for a big, leisurely breakfast!

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T’hooft

T’hooft
322 Lyttleton Terrace
Bendigo, VIC 3550
AUSTRALIA
P: (03) 5444 4448

T'hooft Inside 1

T’hooft is a kitschy little café in Bendigo with a big reputation. The retro barrista caravan and mismatched ’50s dining furniture will score you a mountain of hipster points just for looking at it sideways. Seriously – you don’t even need to step in the front door!

There has been some renovations there over the past 6-12 months. As wonderful as the caravan looks, it’s a little imposing and I miss being able to ogle a cabinet full of sweets and cold Belgian beers that believe it or not, you can order with breakfast! In fact, they used to offer you a 10% discount if you had beer with your breakfast; they say this is to encourage the Belgian way of life! (I’m not sure if this is still the case.) Now these items stand sadly in a small and overlooked refrigerator.

T'hooft inside 2

One of the best (and worst) things about T’hooft, is that you can always count on it to be consistent. The meals are consistently outstanding and the staff tend to be long term employees, but the service is consistently very slow – even after extending their kitchen area. The wait time for your drinks order to be taken and delivered is longer than it should be, so be warned: don’t fluff about when deciding on what meals to order, or you’ll be there all day.

The breakfast menu only has one vegan dish on it (called “vegan is not a dirty word”!), but it’s a giant, impressive hangover-style meal that will leave you feeling like you need to be ROLLED out the door. It contains a thick slice of toasted bread, a hash brown, grilled tomaoes, red onion, red capsicum and mushrooms, wilted spinach, a quarter of an avocado and the most amazing baked beans I’ve ever had in my life. Admittedly, I’ve never had the trashy baked beans in a can (the smell of them makes me want to hurl) so I was pretty apprehensive the first time I ordered this… But I assure you, I wasn’t let down. These are made in a tomato based sauce with wholegrain mustard and herbs; they’re SUPERB.

Vegan is not a dirty word

The remainder of the all day breakfast menu is an assortment of bacon, eggs and sausages done every which way with different sides. For anyone who isn’t vegan, I’ve heard the sausages are excellent and home made (boasting 80% meat) and the hollandaise sauce is divine. There’s also a half page menu of waffles (both sweet and savoury options, but disappointingly none of them are vegan) and a very basic lunch menu of sandwiches/focaccias that you can order with gluten free bread. Only one of those is vegan.

T'Hooft Menu

There used to be a few salads on the menu – one of them was an excellent eggplant and rocket based one with za’atar, but the salads have dwindled to one lonely little non-vegan caesar salad. I almost wonder why they’ve bothered with it to be honest. The coffee is nice (there’s four blends you can choose from) but only barely worth the wait and the chai powder they use is not vegan, but all of this is made up for with four fresh juice options and a banana/coconut milk smoothie on the drinks list. Seven dollars is a bit steep for a fresh juice, but I’m willing to pay it.

T’hooft is almost always bustling and crowded, but it’s a comfortable place for a big social brunch. I’d recommend booking a table/calling in advance if there’s more than two of you heading there.

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Dhosa Hut

Dhosa Hut 1
Dhosa Hut
32 – 42 High Street
Bendigo VIC 3550
AUSTRALIA
P: (03) 5443 3222

Dhosa hut 2
Dhosa Hut is a really pleasant restaurant to be inside. It’s clean, modern and welcoming. I wish I’d taken more photos for you!

Dhosa Hut 3
Battered chili (using chickpea flour). This didn’t sound too appealing to me on the menu but I was admittedly curious. Someone else on our table ordered it and after being assured it was vegan, I decided to have a taste and I actually REALLY liked it. It was well seasoned and fairly mild (well, for a fried chili!).

Dhosa Hut 4
This is the eggplant masala – it’s normally something I’d avoid because almost every other eggplant masala I’ve ever had has been swimming in oil, but this one was rather lean and had other veggies mixed in with it. I’m not sure if the red cabbage had any purpose other than to look pretty, though.

Sadly and surprisingly, this was the ONLY vegan main on the menu – AT AN INDIAN RESTAURANT. Sorry guys, but… WTF? I asked lots of questions about the menu (the waiter was very helpful and patient with me); I was keen to have a dahl, but all three dahls on the menu contained dairy and couldn’t be made vegan for me. Sadface.

Dhosa Hut 5
Saffron rice.

Dhosa Hut 6
Stuffed bread (onion & spices). Definitely a winner!

At the time, we were the only table of patrons in the restaurant and the meals were coming out very slowly. Granted there was 9 adults and a child at our table – but we’d made our booking well in advance. I suspect that there was only one person working in the kitchen that night and he/she was feeling the pressure. The meals came out in a fairly orderly fashion, but the breads were all over the place. Some arrived before the meals and others (mine) didn’t arive until well after I’d finished my curry – and I was eating my curry VERY slowly. What’s the point of ordering bread, if not to mop up some curry, right?

Staff were friendly but the kitchen was slow. If you were to order take-away, you’re likely to get much better service. Sadly I won’t be heading back here – not only because there was only ONE thing on the menu I could eat, but also because there’s a far better Indian restaurant down the road (which I’ll definitely be reviewing for you in the near future).

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Bunja Thai

Bunja Thai
32 Pall Mall
Bendigo, VIC 3550
Australia
(03) 5441 8566

Bunja 1

If you’re a fan of Thai food, you need to get your butt over here, stat! Bunja has been around since 2006 and is in the old Colonial Bank building in Bendigo. The architecture both inside and out is impressive but I won’t bore you with my silly photos of it – check them on their website, or go and see it for yourself!

I only have a few photos to share with you below, but since I’ve tried most of the items on the menu, I can (and will) offer my comments on many of the dishes. Most of the items on the menu can be made vegan on request (all vegetarian curries are already vegan – this includes no shrimp paste or oyster sauce); they also cater to gluten free diets.

Dinner (both eat in & take-away) is available; they also offer a $12 lunch special which includes a curry, a stir fry, some plain rice, salad and a roti. The serves are decent but the lunch menu is set and no changes can be made for special dietary requirements so keep this in mind if you need to.

Bunja 3

This is the Pud Prik King – my favourite stir fry! It’s fiery but also refreshing because of the kaffir lime leaves. This has quickly become my favourite dish on the menu because it’s vegetable heavy and makes my gums tingle (yes, I dig that, haha) and doesn’t make me feel like a fat roly poly, even when I eat the whole serve – which, by the way, is very generous.

Bunja 4

This is the coconut rice which is creamy and sticky. It has shredded kaffir lime leaves & lemongrass in it and i’m a big fan of it… but it’s not quite as good as my home made version 😉

Bunja 6

This is the green curry (non-vegan photo).

Bunja 5

This is the roti with satay sauce (also not vegan – sorry!).

My menu notes:

    • Entrees: The vegetable popia tod (spring rolls) contain vegan ingredients, however they share a deep fryer with non-vegan items, so I’ll leave that one up to your discretion. Some people are more strict with their diets than others.
    • Soups: Unfortunately both the tom yum & tom kha soups contain shrimp paste. You can request these vegan, but I wouldn’t recommend it, as the vegan versions lack flavour in a big way (however if you’re not vegan and like hot & sour flavours, I suggest you jump on the tom yum soup). On the up side of this, I have a tom yum soup recipe on my back log to share with you in the future!
    • Curries: all of these are excellent and all are coconut milk based bar the jungle curry. The veg versions contain tofu which is cut into small cubes and is scarce. I like this; dishes that are overpowered by tofu are a huge turn off for me.
      The yellow curry (gang garee) is highly recommended if you’re not too adventurous. It’s sweet and contains potato!
      The massamun curry (gang massamun) is the next step up from this – it’s slightly spicier but still mild & familiar – it contains potato, pineapple and peanuts.
      The panang curry is similar in heat to the massamun curry but flavour-wise also contains basil and is heavier on other veg (not potatoes).
      The red curry (gang ped) is medium spicy. I often think of this one as “just right”; it’s my favourite of the curries and contains a good mix of veggies.
      The green curry (ganga keow wann) is spicy and always makes my nose run (in a good way!). As per the red curry, it contains a good mix of veg.
      The jungle curry (gang pah) is the first dish I ever tried at Bunja. It’s not coconut milk based and is very much like a soup-ish version of the pud prik king stir fry (pictured above).

Bunja 2

    • Stir Fries: these are my favourite part of the menu! As a general rule, these aren’t heavy in your belly – meaning you can eat your entire giant serve without feeling like you need to be rolled out of the restaurant!
      The Pud Ped Gatii is a stir fry version of the red curry. It has the same great flavours and vegetables, but isn’t swimming in quite as much liquid.
      The Pud King is fairly wimpy heat-wise, so if you’d prefer something sweet but not creamy, I’d recommend this.
      The Pud Beow Waan is a typical sweet & sour dish with pineapple and all! it’s nice, but not really my cup of tea.
      The Pud Bai Horapah is described in the menu as “not for the faint hearted” but my honest opinion is that it’s not the hottest stir fry on the menu – the pud prik king is. It also doesn’t have any kaffir lime in it, so it’s missing the refreshing feeling I really like.
      The Pud Satay is creamy, sweet and mild. It’s not too heavy on peanut flavour (though you can definitely taste it). This is one I’d definitely recommend to those who don’t like spice and aren’t too adventurous.
    • Dessert: I’ve only tried one thing from the dessert menu – it’s durian (tropical fruit) in a sticky coconut/rice pudding. It comes with ice-cream, which I give to Mr. AA. If you’ve never had durian before, you’re in for a shock. It stinks like onions but it tastes delicious. If you want to try something new and think you can get past the smell, TRY IT. Even if you don’t like it, at least you can say you’ve had it!

 

Also, just a quick note that’s not food related. The toilets are clean and well stocked! While there’s only one female cubicle, there’s a change room with nappies and complimentary sanitary items in case of emergency. Have you ever seen anything like it NOT in a hotel??

Bunja Thai Restaurant and Takeaway on Urbanspoon

The Boardwalk

The Boardwalk
Nolan St, Bendigo
VIC 3550
Australia
(03) 5443 9855

Boardwalk 5

The Boardwalk is a well established café/restaurant in Bendigo that overlooks Lake Weeroona. I’ve been there a couple of times in the past and was heavily unimpressed with the food, thus I hadn’t returned for quite some time. When I heard in November that it was being taken over by a new owner, I was keen to give it another chance and I wasn’t disappointed.

I organised a corporate Christmas party there last month for a group of tradesmen & civil engineers – all meat eating men – thus below you will find some non-vegan photos. The purpose of this is to spread the word about the new chefs, who are highly skilled and very accommodating to veg’ns and meat eaters alike. Unfortunately I can’t tell you much about the current menu because we had a set menu, but I can tell you that the food is creative and while it’s not necessarily vegan friendly, with a bit of notice (and some rough guidance to the chefs if there’s anything you don’t/can’t/won’t eat), you’ll definitely be looked after.

Boardwalk 1

This is the chickpea salad I was served. My guidelines to the kitchen were “vegan, no fake meat or dairy, happy to have salad”. This had some thinly sliced pear mixed in with the veggies/greens/chickpeas and the sweetness worked wonderfully – and as you can see, I was wow-ed as soon as I saw the plate. It’s just gorgeous! My only suggestion for this dish would be a lemon wedge. It definitely needed something citrussy to cut through the oily dressing. That being said, I ate the lot and was really happy with being served something so colourful, healthy and heavy on raw veggies.

Below are the two dishes the boys ate – one was a grain fed eye fillet steak and the other was a chicken dish. I meant to ask if they used free range but forgot. Hopefully if Andy sees this he can clarify in the comments section for me/you. No complaints from the boys, everyone loved their meals.

Boardwalk 2

Boardwalk 3

Here’s me with Andy (the new owner)! He comes to The Boardwalk from The Match, along with some other staff. The freedoms he has awarded the kitchen staff is definitely working in his favour; I’ll be sending as many people to The Boardwalk as possible to give them a chance to start fresh.

Boardwalk 4

Can you tell it was just before Christmas by my silly little hat? Thanks for that Sarahfaé! 😉

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