One of the first restaurants I went to after becoming vegan was the Blue Train Cafe in Southgate. They have a great mix of food so it was the perfect place to drag along my brother and father, who would have had fits at a vegetarian restaurant. It’s described as the ‘people’s cafe’ and I’m fairly certain you either need tattoos, piercings or an artistic hairstyle to be hired. But don’t worry, the staff are just as friendly as anywhere else.
Blue Train has retro outside seating, which is gorgeous for summer-time meals.
Although they don’t advertise for vegans, there are a reasonable number of dishes on the menu marked with a (V) for vegetarian. Some are suitable or can be modified for vegans. The following are dishes I’ve ordered in the past, and although I’ve asked waiters numerous times about being vegan, make sure you do too, just incase the people I’ve been talking to haven’t understood the ‘no meat, no cheese, no butter… etc’ spiel.
- > Pizza #5 with roast pumpkin, marinated fetta, caramelized leek, mozzarella, pine nuts and fresh wild roquette (V) $17.90 (Make sure you request NO cheese!)
- > Vietnamese style vegetarian spring rolls w wrapping lettuce, mint, coriander and dipping sauce (V) $12.90 (The dipping sauce comes on the side but I’m fairly sure it contains fish sauce, so either check or leave it in the kitchen.)
- > Golden dahl with coriander, hot stone bread & tomato, red onion and coriander salsa (V) $10.90
- > Roti bread served with peanut dipping sauce (V) $7.50
- > Moroccan spiced pumpkin with roasted capsicum, sesame chick peas & mixed leaves with honey yoghurt dressing (V) (G) $16.90 (Obviously avoid the dressing, ask if you can switch it out for the lemon vinaigrette if you like.)
My favourite dish so far is the Moroccan pumpkin salad. I believe I might have actually drooled when they brought it out, it looked and tasted divine. The portion sizes are filling, but if you find you’re after a little bit more, you can order a side of garden salad or steamed vegetables (watch out for dressing and butter!).
Salad: Moroccan spiced pumpkin with roasted capsicum, sesame chickpeas & mixed leaves with lemon vinaigrette
It’s not the easiest place to find—in fact, I don’t even remember how I discovered it in the first place. It’s address is given as:
MR5 Mid Level
Southbank VIC 3205
Map from the Southgate Melbourne website.
Directions: Cross the Southgate Pedestrian Bridge over the Yarra (away from Flinders Street Station), which has Ponyfish Island underneath, and take the entrance to the left. Walk down the hallway past kikki.k and there are escalators to the right of PJ O’Brien’s Irish Pub. Blue Train is upstairs, just a few large strides away from Chill On Ice Lounge.
Prices accurate at time of post.