Brown Grain Thai Restaurant

Brown Grain 1
Brown Grain
190 Timor St
VIC 3280
P: 03 5562 2576

We walked past Brown Grain on a hot day and swiped a take away menu from out front, later deciding it would be a good place to visit. Whilst Brown Grain are very willing to meet your dietary requirements as a vegan, there was a bit of a language barrier between me and the staff so I later submitted additional menu questions in writing to get confirmation of all the info I was seeking for my readers. Definitely visit this restaurant – but not without being armed with the info in this post!

Edit: I have been informed that Brown Grain have a separate gluten free menu. Sadly I didn’t get the opportunity to view it, so I can’t speak for what may or may not be suitable for vegans on it.

The restaurant was buzzing and is obviously popular with the locals. The decor was warm and inviting, though the chairs were hard and uncomfortable. We found the service to be absolutely stellar during the rush, but when it died down, I struggled to make eye contact with any of the wait staff and felt a little disgruntled by having to walk up to the counter twice only to be greeted by staff chatting amongst each other with their backs to me both times.

Brown Grain 2
#21, Larb Tofu

If you go for anything on the menu that’s a salad, request “no fish sauce” because all the dressings contain fish sauce; Brown Grain will be happy to subsitute soy sauce for you. I’ll be honest – I wasn’t a huge fan of this dish. I think it might have been the pounded rice that was stuck to the tofu; it was gritty and horrible, like when you haven’t washed your salad greens properly. I also found the tofu to be a little too soft/silken and “eggy”, and I’m quite sure that the dressing was tossed with lemon juice, not lime, which is what the menu specified.

Brown Grain 3
Satay Tofu with Salad (on request – this was basically a “special meal” I made up from what I could see on the menu)

THIS. WAS. BRILLIANT. I loved it! I was a bit tofu-ed out by the end of it, but it was soooo good. The satay was thick and dreamy, and not too sweet.

We really wanted to sample some dessert from the menu, but both vegan options had sold out for the night. SADFACE. Even Mr. AA was disappointed – and he’s not big on desserts. The vegan options were: sweet pumpkin in coconut milk or banana in coconut milk. We weren’t willing to be defeated though, so we ordered this:

Brown Grain 4
Black Sticky Rice

FYI, the item on top is a coconut custard and it is NOT VEGAN. So if you order this, ask for no custard. I do recommend ordering it – I sampled spoonfuls of black sticky rice and syrup (that weren’t touching the custard, of course!) and it was divine.

Below are some menu photos and tips for ordering that I wish I’d known before visiting. If you can, give Brown Grain a heads up about your visit – they have now had to deal with me, so they’re prepared for anything! (Ha.)

Brown Grain 6

  • #6 Golden Tofu: Vegan.
  • Soups: can be made vegan on request, ask for no fish sauce (they will use soy sauce instead). The soups do not contain any shrimp paste.
  • #21 Larb Tofu: can be made vegan on request, ask for no fish sauce (dressing will be made with soy sauce instead).

Brown Grain 7

  • #26 Green Salad: can be made vegan on request, ask for no fish sauce (dressing will be made with soy sauce instead).
  • Curries: all pastes are vegan (do not contain shrimp paste). Simply order the “vegetables and tofu” option.
  • Stir Fries: most are made with an oyster sauce base, but can be made vegan on request. Ask for no oyster sauce (stir fry will be made with soy sauce instead).

Brown Grain 5

  • The noodle section is a little harder to navigate. To be sure, specify no oyster sauce, fish sauce, eggs or egg noodles.

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Clovelly Restaurant

Clovelly 1
Clovelly Restaurant
Best Western / Olde Maritime Motor Inn
Corner of Banyan Street & Merri Street
Warrnambool, VIC 3280
Ph: 03 5561 1415

When Mr. AA told me that he’d booked us a spa room here, I was ecstatic – but a quick Google for veg food options left me a bit worried. As it turns out, Warnambool is a little more veg-friendly than the internet led me to believe. I contacted the hotel more than a week in advance and explained my dietary requirements, hoping they could help me out – and they kindly obliged. Just in case you’re wondering, you don’t need to be a hotel guest to eat here.

Clovelly 2

If you’re up for a fine dining experience, I can definitely recommend coming here. Mr. AA & I are fairly casual people, so when the waitress called him “sir”, I just about choked on my water! You’re treated with the utmost respect when you’re a guest at Clovelly. The décor is clean, simple and understated and the staff are friendly, professional and can confidently recite the day’s specials to you.

The only vegan options on the menu are the side dishes: steamed veg, garden salad & sweet potato fries. There’s spinach and ricotta canneloni on the menu for those of you who are vegetarian and still eat dairy and eggs. I humbly told the hotel that I’d be happy to have a main-sized serve of the side dishes (chips & salad) and was pleasantly surprised when I received this on the first night!

Veg Stack

Normally when it comes to vegetable stacks, I freak out a little over how oily they are. They alwaysalwaysalways need something acidic to cut through the weight of the oil and freshen the meal up a bit. In most cases, even a simple lemon wedge will do – in this case, the chef dotted the stack with warm semi-dried tomatoes. The tomato juice bursted in my mouth and undoutbedly “made” the dish. The sweet potato fries were perfectly crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside making them a great guilty pleasure, and the salad was good but nothing to rave about. All in all, I was really pleased with this; I honestly never thought I could feel so full from eating a plate of veggies! The variety buried in there was decent… Somewhere in there was eggplant, zucchini, carrot, capsicum, radishes and squash.

I was kindly invited back for dinner the following night for another [different] vegan meal and I accepted!

Fijian Curry
Fijian Curry

This was a Fijian curry – something I’d never had before. If you’ve never had one either, it comes fairly close to a Malay style curry in flavour. Again, I was surprised with an impressive varriety of veg: onion, eggplant, zucchini, carrot, red and green capsicum & celery. The eggplant was the stand-out vegetable here and the sauce, while seeming mild to my mouth, actually caused my nose to run. I love a good curry and after this experience, Fijian cuisine is something I’d like to explore a little more.

Clovelly 3

A shout-out and huge thank you to Jonathon & staff for going above and beyond what was requested and expected. It was so nice to feel warmly welcomed and catered to!

If you’re a vegan and thinking of heading here, I highly recommend it – just make sure you give plenty of notice as a courtesy.

For the non-vegans, apparently the seafood platter is amazing – Mr. AA loved it so much that he ate it two nights in a row!

Fishtales Café

Fishtales 1
Fishtales Café
63 Liebig Street
Warrnambool, VIC 3280

Fishtales 2

With a name like Fishtales, in a regional town on the coast, my assumption was that this might be a fish n chips experience so I planned to bypass it — until I saw this chalk board out the front!

Fishtales 3

The interior was brightly painted and bustling. The wait staff are on the ball and the meals come out quickly – these guys don’t waste any time! There’s a courtyard out the back but on a hot day, the thick walls keep the inside a little cooler, despite the lack of fans/air conditioning.

Fishtales Veg Burgers

This was undoubtedly the most overwhelming menu I’ve ever had to deal with – at six pages long, I really didn’t know what to do and I was admittedly already a little delirious from the 40C heat. There wasn’t a page dedicated to vegetarian options, it was instead spread out like this: an all day breakfast menu, a fish & chips menu, a burger menu, a drinks menu and so on. I had to scan the pages to see what was available to me (more menu photos below) – the vegan options aren’t marked in any way, so just a note to anyone not very savvy when it comes to ordering vegan options… If the vegetarian item contains aioli or pesto, ask for your meal without these.

Fishtales 5
Love Potion No.9 Juice – OJ, Apple, Beetroot & Strawberry

Fishtales 4
Summer Cooler Juice – Watermelon, Apple & Mint

The juices were delicious and thirst quenching, but served at room temperature, which was pretty warm. Thankfully they were happy to provide us with a cup of ice on request!

Fishtales 7
Tofu Burger

When I saw the wholemeal bun, I already felt like I was winning. From bottom to top was: hommus, carrot/red capsicum/bean shoots, tofu, sweet chili sauce, tomato & mixed lettuce. The tofu was obviously of high quality and not over cooked – it had a really nice dense but fluffy texture. Simple but delicious, I’d definitely eat this again and could even make it at home!

Fishtales 6
Chilli Chips

Ok… So I have a bit of a weakness for chips/fries. I didn’t ask any questions about these when ordering (stupid) but thought I better clear it up with them afterwards, just to be sure. On the up side, the chips are vegan/don’t contain any animal fat. On the down side, they share a fryer with seafood. Whether you decide to eat these or not is totally up to your discretion – they taste great, but knowing what I know now, I probably wouldn’t order them again. It just feels a little… Gross. I don’t regret trying them though and I won’t judge you if you decide to have a taste!

Below are some menu photos for your to browse – there was an entire page of international cuisine (curries/stir fries) that I bypassed completely because of the weather, but I know there was some suitable options there too, I just forgot to photograph them. It didn’t appear that any of the sweets on offer in the display cabinet were vegan, but I wasn’t too disappointed by that.

If we were in town longer, I’d love to try a few more things on the menu – we might just have to pencil in another trip for this purpose (no, I’m not joking – there’s also an Indian restaurant and a handful of Thai restaurants in town that I won’t have a chance to check out, sadly!).

Fishtales Breakfast

Fishtales Other Veg Options

Fishtales Focaccias

Fishtales Juice 1

Fishtales Juice 2

Fishtales Cafe on Urbanspoon

Cactus Jam

Cactus Jam 1
Cactus Jam
50 Liebig Street
VIC 3280

Mr. AA was kind enough to book us a short holiday in Warrnambool – his ulterior motive was a sci-fi exhibition at the local art gallery, which he made up for by booking us a room with a spa (ha!). Both Google and Happy Cow left me feeling fairly nervous about my food options, but thankfully the strip of restaurants a block from our hotel wasn’t quite as dismal as I expected.

Cactus Jam 2

We stopped in at Cactus Jam for lunch today. All signs on Google point to this being a Taco Bill restaurant, but it’s not. From what I can gather, it used to be (?). It’s fairly big inside and I’m pretty sure they need the space because when we walked past last night, it was busy.

Cactus Jam 3

Upon arrival we were greeted and seated with a trusty bowl of corn chips and salsa. These chips were really thin and crispy – definitely not the standard supermarket variety. I’m glad the bowl was small, because I could have easily filled up on them!

Cactus Jam 4
Vegetarian tostada without dairy – $9.90

It’s slim pickings for vegetarians, with only two options for lunch and just a few more for dinner. The nachos wouldn’t be the same without cheese and sour cream (or some kind of vegan substitute for them), plus I was in the mood for beans – so I ordered the tostada without dairy. It’s served on a corn tortilla, so it’s gluten free. Tortilla types aren’t specified on the menu, so you’re best off asking the wait staff about this – Mr. AA’s fajita was served with a flour tortilla.

Taste-wise, it was exactly what you’d expect and what you see is what you get. The only thing it really needed was some spice/heat in the pinto beans. They were fairly plain, so if you’re not already a bean lover, you might find yourself sorely disappointed. On the up side, Mr. AA was impressed with the fajita and the service was perfect. The girls were there when we needed them without us having to look around for their attention and they didn’t linger or pester us.

Cactus Jam 5

Cactus Jam is a licensed venue, so there’s a fairly good drinks menu – including Mexican beers and an impressive variety of margaritas! I ordered the mango and Mr. AA ordered the lime.

Cactus Jam 6
Mango Margarita.

It was about 36C outside when we stopped for lunch and this drink was SO PERFECT. It was ice-cold and smooth; we agreed that these were far too easy to drink so make sure you walk here, don’t drive. You’ll want to sample as many flavours as possible. Both the mango and lime were excellent.

Taco Bill Mexican Restaurant Warrnambool on Urbanspoon