If there’s one think I love in this world (apart from dogs), it’s brunch. Having only recently transitioned to veganism, learning where to get the best plant-based meals in my area has been a huge adjustment. Living in the Yarra Valley/Dandenong Ranges vicinity of Victoria means I’m relatively far out from the hub of vegan friendly places that the inner Melbourne suburbs have to offer. This doesn’t mean we’re completely devoid of options, however, and there are certain places out here in the sticks that are absolute GEMS.
I have to start off this series with a cafe that almost instantly became my favourite upon my very first visit there.
Round Bird is a small and unsuspecting cafe at the end of the Lilydale train line. Located at the quieter end of Main Street, its plain charcoal exterior would be easy to look over, should you not be expecting it. Once inside, the industrial feel would be right at home in any inner city laneway, and the staff are all warm and welcoming.
Nestled among other menu items making use of local and seasonal produce lies ‘vegan surprise, ask your waiter!’. When I did just that I was incredibly surprised by the waitress producing an ENTIRE vegan menu. Consisting of regular menu items adjusted for plant based eaters or specifically vegan dishes, the presence of this menu is a breath of fresh air for people who would usually have to make several adjustments to meals to suit their diets. The way to my heart is through avocado on toast, and boy does Round Bird deliver on that front. Each time I’ve had it (I’m not ashamed to say it’s what I get every time) has been slightly different, but all with the same insanely generous helping of avocado stacked onto the most delicious bread with what I imagine is house-made beetroot pickle. When it comes to drinks, I recommend the dark hot chocolate (I asked if this contained milk solids and was very excited when it didn’t!) with coconut milk, which tastes like a delicious liquid Bounty bar. I’ve also tried their cold drip coffee with coconut sugar and lime – which was absolutely bizarre but really delicious.
All in all, every time I go somewhere in the area now I find myself comparing it to Round Bird and wishing I went there instead. Lovely staff, lovely food and a lovely atmosphere make it an absolute 10/10 for me – and one to definitely check out if you’re ever in the area.
If there are any cafes or restaurants in the area that you think I should try out – please let me know below!