NOT: Madame K’s Vegetarian, 327 Brunswick St, Fitzroy

This is a post about the competition between a reigning champ vs the newcomer.

Madame K’s Vegetarian is a new vegetarian restaurant in Fitzroy with an Asian bent (Asian being anything from the Indian subcontinent to the Japanese archipelago). Unfortunately, it is situated almost across the road from Vegie Bar, a long-time Fitzroy favourite which is also a vegetarian restaurant with a strong Asian flavour.

Everyone likes to support the underdog. So even though Vegie Bar was spilling out customers onto its footpath tables, we entered the empty Madame K’s for lunch to give them a chance.

The decor was quite lovely – dark wood furniture, a few porcelain and wooden knick knacks and a beautiful modern interpretation of a typically Chinese wallpaper. I was also enamoured of the large lights built from Thai basket fishing traps.

After standing uncertainly at the door for a bit we walked inside tentatively going ‘hello? hello? hello?’ until I spotted someone in the back of the kitchen. ‘Are you open?’ I said and instead of looking overjoyed at having a customer I received a sullen affirmative. Hmmm. Maybe I was interrupting her napkin-folding duties.

A and I perused the menu on starters, soups, salads and main meals and after waiting for a bit the waitress returned to take our order – Madame K’s pancakes ($11.90), Steamed wontons ($6.90) from the entrée menu and a Thai mushroom and eggplant salad ($14.90).

The food was all presented well but fell flat in terms of taste. The pancakes were ok, thin wheaten wraps encasing mock soy duck with a drizzle of sweet sauce. The wontons were full of juicy mushrooms but encased in a too-thick skin and the morsels were lifted only by the kick of chilli in the soy sauce.


A described the salad as a bunch of chopped raw vegetables doused with that commercial sweet chilli sauce you see everywhere.

Undeterred by our lacklustre choices and frankly, still hungry, I went to find the waitress (since she seemed to have no conception of table service) and ordered a black sticky rice dessert with coconut ice cream and lychees ($10.90). Again, full marks for presentation but nothing special when it came to taste. The sticky rice possibly wasn’t glutinous enough but I quite liked the grainy texture.

While I try not to make direct comparisons when writing reviews it can’t be helped in this case. Madame K’s competitor is right across the road and it serves tastier, cheaper food in livelier surroundings. Reigning champ 1, newcomer 0.

Reliable vegetarian food blog Where’s the Beef seems to have had a better time, so maybe they chose better? For other vegetarian food options in Fitzroy, try Yong Green Food.

Madame K’s Vegetarian, 367 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy +61 3 9415 6909
Seven days 12pm-10pm (closed between 4pm-5pm)

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8 thoughts on “NOT: Madame K’s Vegetarian, 327 Brunswick St, Fitzroy

  1. Thanks for the link. We do seem to have had better luck with our menu choices than a few others – I’ve not been cursed with the commercial sweet chilli yet!

    I actually think of Yong as more direct competition to Madame K than the Vegie Bar… and Yong has established a better reputation for consistency.

  2. wow! cant believe we went to the same place. are you a complete fault finding nit picker? cause i am. and as a person who usually has a lot of negative things to say about most of the veg places in town, and i think i know my stuff because i owned an award winning vegan establishment not long ago, i would say that madam k’s is ACE and the people who work there are really lovely. perhaps you had a bad attitude? the food is AWESOME. anyone reading this blog should read on because the vast majority of online reviews do not tally with this.

    • @liavandersant Thanks for your comment. Perhaps my friend and I did eat there on a bad day for the kitchen and the staff but my mood, bad or not, has nothing to do ever with what I write. I provide honest reviews of my experience of an establishment at the time of my visit and sometimes my view may not be the view of the majority. The purpose of this blog is definitely not to write negative comments just to be vindictive towards a small business, which is what I think you’re implying by my ‘bad attitude’?

  3. bad attitude:

    “After standing uncertainly at the door for a bit we walked inside tentatively going ‘hello? hello? hello?’ until I spotted someone in the back of the kitchen. ‘Are you open?’ I said and instead of looking overjoyed at having a customer I received a sullen affirmative. Hmmm. Maybe I was interrupting her napkin-folding duties.”


    restuarants in brunswick street are in keen competition with restuarants right up and down brunswick street (not to mention smith street and surrounds). veg restuarants also cater for meat eaters. so madam k is in all probability in direct competion with more than just the veggie bar and yong green.

    running a veg restuarant is the same as being ginger rogers, she made all the dance moves that fred astaire made, but she did them going backwards on high heels. ie. a meat restuarant can serve veg options while still dishing up meat. veg restuarants cannot compete in the same way.

    most people who run veg restuarants do so because they want to promote cruelty free eating. naturally they want to pay the rent etc. but from a pure business perspective serving both meat and veg options is more lucrative.

    anyway… i wish all veg restuarants the very best success because they promote ethical eating. really, they are up against it, competition wise, and not from each other. from the perspective of a veg restuarantuer, the more successful and popular veg restuarants, the better. it would mean that more and more people are choosing animal free food.

  4. Agree completely,

    We walked in and straight back out and into vegie bar after waiting for a while with no one even IN the restaurant that we could see!

  5. Totally agree. Have been to this restaurant a couple of times and both times we have waited for ages to place an order and then waited for way too long for the food. I was totally unimpressed with the food, lacking in flavour and bad manufactured sauce.
    I will not be giving them another try.

  6. Sadly I too had a bad meal at this place. I am all for supporting ethical eating but if the food AND service is terrible then it goes against the case for vegetarian food being fantastic! Worst veg meal ever here, the eggplant wasn’t even cooked through. Yuck, never again! BTW “An Do ” just up Brunswick Street from here on the same side (meat as well but vegan friendly) serves the best salt and pepper tofu ever, I go whenever I can, it’s just up Brunswick St, it’s friendly, BYO and cheap. Give Madame Ks a miss and try this little gem instead!

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