Monday, 28 November 2011

Kingsland Restaurant, Dickson (part 4)

The salt and pepper tofu at Kingsland is vegan comfort food at its best. The recipe has been improved over time, incorporating some onion for extra flavour. There aren't many vegetables served with it, so it's best served with another meal that has more vegies included (and rice of course). 

The sweet corn patties are listed as an entrée and are a nice addition to any meal. They are served with a sweet plum sauce.

These two are some of the items that we order regularly at the restaurant.

Our previous review can be found here.

Salt and pepper tofu

Sweet corn patties
Kingsland Restaurant - Healthy Vegan Cuisine
Shop 5 Dickson Plaza, 67-69 Woolley Street, Dickson
(02) 6262 9350

Kingsland Vegetarian Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Banana Leaf, Civic

The Banana Leaf restaurant specialises in Sri Lankan cuisine and occupies a very prominent position in City Walk opposite the Canberra Centre. There are a few interesting mains on the menu that can be made vegan. What's more, the staff were very helpful in explaining the options to us.

The vegan version of the 'kottu roti' consisted of roti bread strips served with vegetables and lentil curry, along with tamarind and chilli sauce. The 'string hoppers' had various curries, coconut sambal and chutney served with rice noodles. Both were quite filling and tasty. We also had a side salad tossed with mango vinaigrette. Unfortunately there were no dessert options, however we were told that they can prepare something without using animal products if given some advance notice. The prices here are higher than for our usual vegan fare - this may be a consideration if you're on a tight budget.

Kottu roti (veganised version)

String hoppers

Banana Leaf Restaurant & CafeShop 2, 240-250 City Walk, Canberra(02) 6248 5522

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Eggs are unhealthy for you, painful for chickens

A recent study found that men who consumed more than 2.5 eggs per week had 81% increased risk of lethal prostate cancer compared to men who consumed less than 0.5 eggs per week [1]. This isn't an isolated finding. Looking to the medical journals, eggs have often turned up as a risk factor in cancer development [2,3,4,5] , including (ironically) ovarian cancer [6].

The number of cancer studies implicating eggs is remarkable enough to be a concern (see numbered references below). In contrast, whole plant foods are generally found to be protective against cancer. If the choice is between eating egg and getting cancer, it is better to stay on the side of caution. Have you ever seen someone suffer from cancer? There is nothing that tastes so good that it is worth getting that disease.

Eggs also have large amounts of cholesterol. The dietary requirement for cholesterol is zero; the body makes all it needs. To quote a review in a Canadian journal, "Stopping the consumption of egg yolks after a stroke or myocardial infarction would be like quitting smoking after a diagnosis of lung cancer: a necessary action, but late" [7]. This short video has more discussion on the research: .

Egg laying chickens endure possibly the worst suffering of any farmed animal. Their sensitive beak tips seared off, they are worked until they can produce no more, then trucked in crates to the slaughterhouse at a young age. The male chicks are economically useless and meet an early death.  

Most free range egg operations are hardly any better.

Having backyard chickens is becoming popular again, but do you know what conditions the layers were hatched in? The hatching and selling of day-old layer birds is poorly regulated and has parallels with the puppy mill industry. And what happened to all the male birds? What happens when the chickens stop producing? Even at the "kinder" egg operations,  the birds don't really get to express their complex social needs. The birds are sold off to some unknown fate when their production rate declines.

Eggs are a popular breakfast menu item for cafes in Canberra - it almost seems like the national breakfast food. They are automatically included in many recipes when other alternatives are available. There is a curious fetishisation of eggs in food writing.  It's time to let this go, for our own health and for the chickens.

... and remember: vegans don't eat eggs !


Monday, 3 October 2011

Rice Tapas Bar and Restaurant, Civic

'Rice' is located upstairs in Garema Place where the old Tip Top restaurant was. It has been redecorated and looks much more modern. It now has a Thai menu and we took part in their lunch special. We asked about options for vegans and they came up with three dishes. Of these, we ordered two simple stir fries with tofu and vegetables. We appreciated their friendly service because finding vegan food in town can sometimes be a challenge. Asian restaurants offer mislabelled "vegetarian" meals which contain sauce made from sea creatures. If you go to 'Rice', explain that you're vegan because these dishes might have some non vegan sauce in their usual form.

Sweet & sour rad khow

Gatiem rad khow (garlic stir fry)

Rice Tapas Bar and Restaurant
24 Garema Place, Canberra
Ph 62476161

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Au Lac, Dickson (part 2)

On another visit to Au Lac, we ordered the stuffed bean curd in sweet & sour sauce. It appears to be bean curd that has had noodles stirred through it and then baked. The sweet & sour sauce is quite hearty and natural, almost like a thick soup. Some lightly cooked vegetables are included. This is great vegan food and we don't know of anywhere else in Canberra that makes anything like it.

Stuffed bean curd in sweet & sour sauce
See previous review here.

Au Lac Gourmet Vegetarian Restaurant
Shop 4, 39 Woolley Street
Dickson ACT
(02) 6262 8922

Au Lac Gourmet Vegetarian Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Friday, 2 September 2011

Sunny's Cafe, Newcastle

Sunny's Cafe is located in Islington near the Hamilton train station. The premises are those of an old shop, with a rustic atmosphere quite unlike anything you would see in Canberra. The menu contains a number of vegan items, and we were told that the non vegan meals could easily be made without animal products if requested. So, naturally we declined the free range eggs and went straight for the vegan goodness.

For dinner we had the lime infused curry (from the specials board) and a vegan burger. Our request for gluten free bread in the burger was easily met. Both meals were full of flavour and we would certainly order them again. We also had a freshly-made juice along with the meal.

We did go back, but it was breakfast time and so we ordered a big serving of the chai spiced buckwheat pancakes, which were quite delightful along with our soy coffees.

Lime infused curry

Vegan breaky burger

Chai spiced buckwheat pancakes

Earth's Garden Organics (formerly Sunny's Cafe)
86 Maitland Rd
Ph 02 4962 1304 

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Kingsland Restaurant, Dickson (part 3)

The Ma Po Tofu at Kingsland consists of soft tofu and vegetables in a spicy sauce. The chilli flavour is a little hotter than most of their other dishes, but it is not too overpowering. It is visually interesting with a colourful variety of vegetables, and rice makes a good accompaniment. The chilli sauce soaks into the rice and makes it really tasty. This was another great meal at our favourite vegan restaurant in Canberra.

Ma Po Tofu
See previous reviews here and here.
UPDATE: a more recent review can be found here.

Kingsland Restaurant - Healthy Vegan Cuisine
Shop 5 Dickson Plaza, 67-69 Woolley Street, Dickson
Ph: 6262 9350

Kingsland Vegetarian Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Global Cafe, Civic

The Global Cafe on Northbourne is a good place to go if you are hungry for some Ethiopian food at lunch time. It's a basic style cafe that offers a small selection of vegan dishes, and an $8 lunch special where you can choose up to three dishes to have with injera bread or rice. The vegan options include a selection of dhals, a spicy pumpkin dish, and a cabbage, carrot and green beans dish. If you're into coffee, they also serve cheap soy flat whites! They use Fair Trade Ethiopian coffee.

Global Cafe is open 11 am - 3 pm Monday to Friday for lunch, and 5 pm - 8 pm some evenings for dinner.

Lunch special

Cabbage, carrot and green beans with red lentils in spicy sauce,
and split yellow peas with spiced pumpkin

Global Cafe and Bar
Flavours of Ethiopia 
63 Northbourne Avenue, Canberra City 
(close to Jolimont Bus Interchange)  
phone: 6247 4104

Monday, 15 August 2011

My Rainbow Dreams, Dickson

My Rainbow Dreams is a vegetarian cafe that offers a lot of vegan options. The food looks and tastes healthy. There are a number of tempting cakes and desserts, smoothies and fresh juices, and hot chai. The cafe is open during the day Monday - Saturday. See their website for opening times:

The Indian spiced lentil burger vegan option comes with hommous, satay sauce and salad.
Indian spiced lentil burger

The soup of the day is normally vegan (do check just in case). We had a hearty split pea soup on rice, though it can also be served with bread.

Soup of the day (split pea) on a bed of rice

Delicious marinated tofu and salad wrap with Tuscan bean pate, gluten free

My Rainbow Dreams
Dickson shops (opposite the Post Office)
Ph: 6247 8591

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Kingsland Restaurant, Dickson (part 2)

Kingsland restaurant changed hands in recent years and this is one of the new choices that appeared on the menu. The eggplant and tofu is suffused with basil and a hint of chilli. It is one of the best dishes on the menu - try it and we think you will agree.

See also the review from our previous visit .

Kingsland Restaurant - Healthy Vegan Cuisine
Shop 5 Dickson Plaza, 67-69 Woolley Street, Dickson
Ph: 6262 9350

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Abell's Kopi Tiam, Manuka

The few vegan dishes available at Abell’s Kopi Tiam in Furneaux St, Manuka are well worth the visit. The tofu and eggplant is divine, but you will need to ask for the vegan version, which is made with a black bean sauce—just so delicious.

Edit: last time we went here we got some conflicting information about the vegan status of various dishes. Confirm vegan status of each dish carefully with the wait staff.

Vegan mee goreng (with flat rice noodle instead of wheat noodle)

Tofu and eggplant in black bean sauce

Au Lac Gourmet Vegetarian Restaurant, Dickson

Au Lac restaurant in Dickson forms something of a pair with Kingsland restaurant since they both specialise in Asian-style vegetarian, though Au Lac tends towards Vietnamese flavours. It seems that everyone has an opinion as to which restaurant they prefer, so you might as well have one too.

The royal noodle soup (below) is a popular dish that comes with a plate of fresh herbs. There are some mock meats used, and it is quite salty, but we enjoy a bit of salt every now and then. If you need to avoid gluten however, the choices in Au Lac are not clearly stated.

Royal noodle soup

Shredded tofu rolls

Sunday, 3 July 2011

Perfect Bean Cafe, Florey

Edit: sadly, the Perfect Bean Cafe is now closed.

The Perfect Bean Cafe is located at the Florey shopping centre. What makes this cafe different is that they have made an effort to cater to vegans and those who are gluten-free. These items are clearly marked on the menu. The decor is pleasant and the coffee (with soy milk) is good. This vegan burger had a patty made from beans, and really hit the spot one weekend at lunch time.
Vegan burger

Fekerte's Ethiopian Cuisine, Dickson

Update: Fekerte's in Dickson has now closed, however they still have a presence in the food court of the Kingston Old Bus Depot markets.

There are some delicious vegan offerings at Fekerte’s Ethiopian Cuisine, Cape St, Dickson. In the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, members follow a strict vegan diet on Wednesdays and Fridays each week and daily in the lead up to Easter, so there's a good range of vegan dishes in Ethiopian cuisine. All mains are served with enjera—a spongy, slightly sour but scrumptious flatbread, and rice. 

Beetroot salad

Mixed plate – spiced lentils and vegetable curry

Lightly spiced pumpkin curry

Kingsland Restaurant, Dickson

Kingsland is the only completely vegan restaurant in Canberra. There is a huge choice of Asian-style dishes with creative use of vegetables, tofu and mock meats. The taste of meat is a distant memory for us, but thankfully, the mock meat doesn't quite mirror that taste. Most of the time you can just forget that it is supposed to represent an animal body part and enjoy it as the food as it is.

Anyway, we prefer the tofu dishes and there are plenty of those to choose from. The stir fried lemongrass tofu (pictured below) is a tasty dish to be savoured.

There is free tea on arrival, the staff are very friendly, and prices are affordable. There are lots of gluten free options, clearly marked on the menu.

The nest

Rice paper rolls

Stir fried lemongrass tofu

Satis Cafe, Watson

Update: Satis is no longer a meat-free establishment as of May 2014. We hope that Satis customers will continue to open their hearts and minds to the daily suffering of animals raised and slaughtered for human consumption. Please choose the vegan options on the menu.

Satis Vegetarian Cafe is tucked away in one corner of the Watson shops. It has a cosy and rustic feel and is often quite busy. You can also walk through to a lovely leafy covered courtyard at the back.

There are a few vegan options, and this is one from the lunch menu. Technically there was nothing melted on this "melt" but the tofu tasted great, and the salad, sprinkled with spices and pumpkin seeds, was delicious.

Gluten free options are also available.
Tofu "melt" and salad. Yum!