Anyone who is vegetarian or vegan will tell you just how hard it is to find good meat-free dining options in Brisbane.
I love to dine out with friends, but as I am often the only vegetarian, I am frequently stumped about where to go. Even the finest of fine dining restaurants seem to have little imagination when it comes to vegetarian options. There is usually one, and if you’re lucky two menu options: the ubiquitous risotto is the fall-back it seems, and for some reason goat’s cheese in just about everything. Too bad if you’re a vegan or dairy intolerant.
Well Vege Rama reckons vegetarian food can be innovative and exciting.
I work in the city and Vege Rama’s café in Adelaide Street has been my go-to lunch time stop for the past year or so. The food is so good that many colleagues eat there as well, whether vegetarian or not.
The team has had a challenging few weeks getting up and going, topped off by the storm on Thursday, which caused them to close, but everything is now on track. I went along on Saturday with two non-vego friends and we were all very impressed with the food, the wonderfully attentive staff, and the general ambience.
Manager, Anna Isermann told me the restaurant opened officially on Wednesday November 27, and said the teams was humbled by the overwhelming support of the community.
Anna said that Vege Rama is a “plant based” business incorporating both vegan and vegetarian meals. The Post Office Square outlet in Brisbane City is a fully vegan outlet whilst the Myer Centre Outlet and the West End restaurant has a combination of both Vegetarian and Vegan dishes.
Vege Rama’s first outlet opened in Brisbane City at the end of 2009. The Vege Rama brand was created by young designer Ruchi Sharma. Ruchi had recently moved to Brisbane to seek a more fulfilling career and in response to the lack of vegetarian eateries bought a small cafe which was the early beginnings of what later became Vege Rama. Ruchi learnt to cook, drawing inspiration from family recipes in order to create nourishing plant based dishes that challenged the conventional take-away outlets in the area.
Vege Rama’s philosophy is encapsulated in the tag line ‘a taste of good health’. “We believe in conscious eating through a plant based diet, and Vege Rama strives to offer plant based alternatives that inspire health without compromising taste”, Anna said.
Vege Rama in West End expands on the success of the city cafes. It is a licensed restaurant offering a sit in dining experience. Anna said that unlike the take-away trade of the Adelaide St and Myer Centre outlets, the restaurant is inspired by native Australian bush herbs as well as drawing inspiration from cuisines from around the world.
Head Chef Daniel “is an innovative young man who expresses himself through his food. He loves to cook, and is always coming up with unique ideas for the Vege Rama menu”, Anna said.
Our dining experience on Saturday attests to Daniel’s skills. Between the three of us we had a wonderful array of meals. The sizzling provencal ratatouille of eggplant, zucchini & tomato slices and cannelloni beans with tomato concasse, topped with sour cream was a hit at our table, as was the rustic vegerama burger. We all loved the Samosas with peach chutney and fragrant Indian style carrot salad. And we agreed that the devilled spiced cashews with mixed seeds and crispy curry leaves would make a fabulous accompaniment to a cold beer, on a hot day.
The dessert list sounds as wonderful as the entrees and mains, and so we will be back for a dessert-only adventure soon.
Vege Rama sources everything locally. “All of our ingredients are chemical and spray free, however because organic produce is seasonal and not everything is available all year round- we strive to use organic produce whenever it’s possible. Our ingredients will always be chemical and spray free”, Anna said.
Anna said the Vege Rama restaurant “showcases a unique menu of nourishing and innovative cuisines. Like our outlets, all of our ingredients are chemical/spray free and sourced locally. The restaurant also offers a bar with a selection of local and imported vegan and vegetarian wines”.
The restaurant is working on weekly specials that may include old favourites but with a unique Vege Rama twist according to Anna.
So finally the vegos and vegans amongst us have a place to take our non-vego friends because this is a restaurant anyone can enjoy, vego or not.
Vege Rama’s is open for lunch through to dinner on Mondays to Wednesdays, and breakfast, lunch and dinner Thursdays to Sundays
See the full menu and contact details at: http://vegerama.com.au/restaurant
You can also follow Vege Rama on facebook