Vegie Bar, Fitzroy
Okay food but an experience that feels like a random assortment of beginners’ vegetarian recipes and staff that need hipster qualities massively toned down. For a place that’s been around for so many years Vegie Bar has such a surprise cult following and that has been evident the last few times I’ve tried to get a table on a busy evening. To be honest I had been rather put off by the experience at their sister restaurant Transformer so my expectations were a little lower than before. Dining on a weekday was a much easier bet with an almost 1:1 hipster staff ratio as well as a steady stream of Ubereats drivers parading through the restaurant.
The other Sam from work said the stir-fries were the better bets here, although the menu itself at Vegie Bar is glitteringly eclectic with pizzas, burgers, Moroccan, Japanese and Chinese influences as well as a raw menu. Why? Mine my main was the Mee Goreng ($17) of hokkien noodles tossed with mixed veges, tofu, sauteed potato, in spiced peanut sauce. I wasn’t a fan of the dish with the peanut sauce being weirdly sour and the tofu quite a bit lacking for the price. It kinda reminded me of the hokkien noodle I sometimes make when I run out of meat, and throw in random leftovers in and hope for the best.
The menu is expansive so maybe there are some gems to be had. There’s plenty of a hipster crowd around (count the man buns) and an infrequent squeak where someone is declaring their veganism. I ended the service with a taste of their key lime pie adaption. The cream part was great but the base was an absolute brick. I stabbed my spoon to seperate it and a part ricocheted and almost hit the eye of my neighbouring diner. I suspect the were too heavy in their use of coconut oil as it solidifies much more than butter and should be used sparingly. Seems like basic cooking instruction that’s concerning missed for a place that’s been around so long.
Service was super friendly and it was easy to get their attention despite how busy the store was. The cuisine seems too mishmash for me to feel their is any real journey to dining here and even if you’re vegetarian and seemingly limited on choices, there’s still plenty on Fitzroy Street alone. It’s awfully basic for the levels of crowds it attracts.