How many vegetarian establishments can one street sustain? Quite a few it seems, if you operate on Smith Street.
Slowly, I’ve managed to tick off my list Trippy Taco, Las Vegan and Friends of the Earth. As I was feeling a bit under the weather on a sunny weekday and in need of some healthful sustenance, I decided that it was time to complete the series with Soul Food Cafe.
According to their website it’s been operating for an impressive 25 years and nothing much has changed in that time. Call me omnivorously ignorant but for a vegetarian restaurant I was quite impressed by Soul Food‘s varied menu, with many of the dishes adaptable for vegans and gluten-free diners.
I wanted to try something like a house specialty so enlisted the help of the super-friendly young waitress. She directed me to the patties because you also got to choose any classic Soul Food salad as a side – so I ended up with a Thai brown rice pattie flavoured with fresh ginger, coriander and soy sauce with a sweet chilli mango sauce. The natural salad accompanient was the Asian mint salad, consisting of baby spinach, bean sprouts, tofu, capsicum, Thai mint leaves and a nicely balanced lemon soy dressing ($9.50).
Despite the waitress’s recommendation, I can’t say that I’d rave about the pattie, mainly because I’m not fan of overcooked gluey rice. Other than that I quite liked the flavours and the crunchy sesame seed coating. And it was very filling. Fortunately, the fresh and colourful salad lifted the dish.
To finish the meal I tried the moist lemon and yoghurt cake, which came with a rather winsome pot of ying-yang berry and mango coulis ($4).
I liked the relaxed atmosphere, motley crew of dreadlocked and hippe patrons, healthy food and friendly service of Soul Food Cafe and despite the meh pattie I’ll definitely be returning.
- Soul Food Cafe, 273 Smith St, Fitzroy +61 3 9419 2949