Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Fina's Vegetarian Cafe

Hello Fellow Nom Seekers!

Recently I enjoyed the company of fellow Melbourne bloggers (Hi y'all @ Eat and Be Merry and @ Nouveau Potato!) for a social dinner at a vegetarian cafe.  The best thing about eating in a largish group was that we could order heaps (which we judiciously did) and share.  There were much munching and photo taking between us!

Here is what we had:

Vegetarian Spring Rolls
Crispy, fried and delightful.  I have never met a spring roll I didn't like.  I didn't even miss the meat.  I'm pleased the filling wasn't just one type of vegetable eg all cabbage or carrot, etc but a nice assorted mix.  

Vegetarian Spring Rolls Rice Vermicelli
The vermicelli with the spring rolls was very refreshing and salady on a hot summer's day in Melbourne.  It came with plentiful nuoc cham for dressing.  There were also a few extra bits of fried tofu which was unexpected but I'm not complaining.

Vegetarian Rice Vermicelli
The rice vermicelli soup was a bit bland for my liking.  A nice variety of veggies but I've tasted amazing meat based broths before and unfortunately a vegetable based broth would never be in the same league.  The soup noodles came with a plate of bean sprouts for sprinkling.

Fina's  Salad
This would be my pick of the salads.  It was exactly like a typical Vietnamese chicken coleslaw without the meat.  I didn't even miss the meat as the dressing and the herbs made it so interesting on the palate.  The crunchy prawn crackers on top were moreish.  Perhaps we could have done with more of the crackers as you are suppose to eat the salad on top of the crackers and there was proportionally more salad than crackers.
Vegetarian Pho
The vegetarian pho, like the rice vermicelli soup was a bit bland.  Once again I am missing the meat based flavours in the broth.  Look, I can safely say that once you've had a beef pho, it's hard to go to any vegetarian version.

Spicy Vegetarian Noodles
The spicy vegetarian noodles were surprisingly good.  I was bracing myself for some bland broth but this was very tasty without being too fiery.  It had a lovely five spice flavour to it.  It came loaded with mock meat which lend a smoky flavour to the broth.  This would be my pick of the noodle soups.

Vegetarian Banh Xeo
Love, love, love banh xeo and this vegetarian version was textural filled with bean sprouts.  The only downside to this dish was that the bean sprouts then to make the banh xeo soggy so you have to eat this quickly to get the crunch which banh xeo are reknown for.

Vegetarian Curry with Rice Noodles (noodles served separately)
Curries always smell divine and this one was no exception.  It came with plentiful mock meats so there was a lovely smokey flavour along with the curry notes.  It was a shame that by that time this came out from the kitchen, I was getting full so I could not eat as much of it as I would have liked.  

Fresh Squeezed Avocado and Fresh Squeezed Strawberry Juice
Being a warm summer's day, the fresh squeezed avocado and strawberry juices went down a treat.  I did not order these but the crew at Eat and Be Merry advised that it was literally the fruit plus ice - no fillers, no dilution.  
Iced Taro, Milk Tea with Grass Jelly and Plain Grass Jelly
I ordered the milk tea with grass jelly which was light and refreshing.  It was not too sweet which was a blessing.  Kiddo ordered the iced taro milk and drank only three sips of it.  I tried it and found it very cloying as it was predominantly coconut cream (?) and not much taro flavour despite the lurid purple colour.  

All in all, great food, great company.  The above set us back approximatly $120 which was a very good price given the amount of food and drinks we ordered.  

Fina's Vegetarian Cafe | Vegan Café on Urbanspoon

Until next time,
Nom Seeker, Glutt

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