Food is one of the most important things in both mine and my family’s life, and it has always been so important for me to eat sustainably and healthily. Whether you are vegan, vegetarian or just curious to see what Sydney has to offer, the Sydney Vegan Tours is the tour to do.
Their Glebe tour held every Saturday and Sunday takes you through the picturesque suburb and shows you the best vegan culture it has to offer. Before I tell you about our experience I will say one thing: whatever you do, do not eat breakfast before you go. Trust us, you’ll thank us later.
We met our amazing tour guide Sarah at one of the coolest places I’ve ever been to and absolutely had no idea about; The Cruelty Free Shop. It sells everything from sustainable makeup, fashion and accessories to all kinds of food, and even dog food! We were served a tray of the richest, most beautiful tofu “feta” thinly sliced and served on wafer crackers. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. (You can purchase some here!).
We then walked to the only vegan pastry shop in the city, Oh My Days. We got to try a delicious focaccia with mushroom, corn, onions, salsa and cashew cream, some delectable vegan chocolatey pastries and their special soaked croissant pudding. It was so delicious; you would never guess it was vegan!
The café is easily accessible, pet friendly, and has some of the coolest interiors and decorations I’ve seen in any Sydney café.
The next stop was at the Gardener’s Lodge in Victoria Park, which honestly, I had no idea was a café let alone a gorgeous vegan haven. The warm, woody atmosphere separated you from the outside world of the flourishing, colourful Victoria Park and sent you into the world of a little Aussie outback home; basically, exactly how the name sounds!
We ate a range of paninis on a traditional Italian ciabatta loaf and my goodness, for someone who tries not to eat too much bread I fell in love three times over.
The first was a decadent pan seared mushroom panini with radicchio and dairy-free blue cheese. Just as strong as the taste of regular blue-cheese, it may not be for everyone but the flavours are beyond magnificent.
The second was a grilled eggplant panini with dairy-free cheese, rocket and mayonnaise; another rich flavour but a gorgeous one at that.
The third, something anyone could very easily make at home, was a simple yet scrumptious plant-based schnitzel panini with avocado, tomato, cos lettuce and mayonnaise.
“It’s just a good old schnitzel!” one tour member said.
When asked about who exactly attended the tours, Sarah informed us that the tour isn’t only for vegans, but also those who are exploring new options.
“We have so many non-vegans on the tour. Some are curious, some are dragged by other people, and then at the end of the tour everyone is very surprised!” Sarah said.
“Without actually telling them the food is vegan they can enjoy it and feel they aren’t being judged.”
At this point, I was so, so full, but on we went with the tour!
Our third stop was Brainwave Café hidden behind Sydney’s Broadway district. Walking up the stairs, I felt a sense of joy and pride in the little vegan café community that Sydney has to offer. This adorable place was surrounded by greenery, books and incredibly aesthetic furniture, complete with a bag hook under the table!
This pan Asian inspired vegan eatery served us up a Prik Khing fried rice alongside one of the most delicious Katsu Dons I’ve ever eaten. This particular Prik Khing was served with Brainwave café’s homemade coconut chilli paste and for someone who can’t cope with spicy food, I absolutely loved it. It was so delicious; I didn’t even care it was spicy.
At this point, I was close to exploding. As I said, don’t eat breakfast beforehand!
We came to the last stop of the tour, which much to my surprise was a very cute little communal place on the corner of a quiet street.
Something for Jess is a community based café with an always changing seasonal menu. Although the menu isn’t entirely vegan or vegetarian, it has a vast array of options for both. Part of their menu is constantly different and so it’s a good idea to come often and try a range of new items.
The café was created to give a community space to people, and each month they feature a new local artist on the walls of the café; something I particularly love. We struggled to eat more food, but it was worth it as their Homemade Cashew Cheese on Bruschetta (which I learnt is pronounced “brusc-etta”), Apple and Cinnamon Cake and their Blueberry Friand were to die for.
Overall, it was by far the best vegan tour I’ve had the pleasure of attending. The guide was incredibly knowledgeable, the spots were all equally gorgeous and I discovered even more about our amazing little vegan community. It is definitely worth the $99 as you get over three meals and some drinks along the way, not to mention the whole experience.
Sydney Vegan Tours shows you just how open, friendly and close the vegan community is. So vegan or not, it is worth attending.
Take lots of photos, get to know the people in Sydney’s vegan community, and remember, whatever you do, skip breakfast!
1. The Cruelty Free Shop, Glebe – crueltyfreeshop.com.au
2. Oh My Days, Glebe – ohmydays.com.au
3. Gardener’s Lodge – gardenerslodgecafe.com.au
4. Brainwave Café – brainwavecafe.com.au
5. Something for Jess – somethingforjess.com.au
Sydney Vegan Tours
GLEBE: Saturday and Sunday morning
NEWTOWN: Friday, Saturday and Sunday late afternoon
SURRY HILLS: Thursday morning (for all you weekend workers!)
Head to sydneyvegantours.com to book your tour now!
Written by Talya Jacobson.