The Alley, South Yarra

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MELBOURNE | The Alley is a Vegan cafe in South Yarra and is part of the new wave of Vegan restaurants in Melbourne that’s out to prove that plant based food doesn’t have to be tasteless. Owner Alexandra Pyke, who hails from Australia but only recently returned after 11 years living and working in health focused restaurants overseas (mostly New York City) was inspired to bring a slice of the sort of food she was seeing the in the US to Melbourne.

The restaurant ticks a lot of the right boxes – when we visited after being invited, we were told by Alexandra that everything is sourced locally, and waste is kept to a minimum. The food, while vegan, isn’t just aimed at vegans but rather anyone who wants to eat healthily. Browsing the menu, we were reminded a lot of Cafe Gratitude, a Californian vegan chain we visited when in San Diego. The menu doesn’t read like you might expect, rather it more closely resembles the kind of regular cafe menu you find around Melbourne – there are breakfast bowls, burgers, pasta, tacos, ice-cream, salads, juices and smoothies, and a surprisingly impressive craft beer and bio dynamic wine list.

A lot of experimenting was done by Alexandra and her team in order to create dishes that actually taste good with no compromise to flavour. The Mi_So Hungry Burger features a crispy crumbed piece of eggplant in a brioche bun with, lettuce, tomato, onion and ‘vegan butter, cucumber and umeboshi slaw, and tomato-miso ketchup. It’s got a great texture, fantastic flavour and lots of umami goodness. Along with this burger, the Mexican Taco Bowl was probably the best thing we tried. It features ‘chorizo’ made using black beans and gluten-free vegan protein, along with cherry tomatoes, crispy tortilla strips, salsa fresca, lime and coconut-yoghurt dressing. It’s fresh, light and very flavoursome.

Another favourite is the chocolate chia pudding which features activated chia seeds soaked in almond milk with layers of coconut yoghurt, fresh strawberries, and chocolate covered cacao nibs. A simple and delicious way to start your day. Other things we enjoyed were the Maple Bacon burger with smoky paprika aioli, portobello mushroom, sweet potato and adzuki bean, and the chocolate maple doughnut with “bacon” crumb. The only thing we tried that didn’t really hit the mark was the ‘mac’n’cheese’ with coconut bacon, sweet corn, cashew ‘cheese’, and crispy kale – it was the only dish where the lack of a signature ingredient, real cheese, was noticeable.

Overall, we enjoyed the bright, casual atmosphere of The Alley, and were impressed by the things we tried. We’re not about to convert to veganism any time soon, but we do think that most people probably eat to much meat, and we personally have a lot of vegetarian dishes in our repertoire at home. And this is where the appeal of a place like The Alley lies – it appeals to those who have a strict vegan diet, and those who just don’t want to eat meat all of the time.

The Alley

417 St Kilda Road
South Yarra
Victoria 3004
Australia

Telephone: (03) 9820 8314
E-mail: [email protected]
Website

Open
Mon – Tue: 8:00am to 4:00pm
Wed – Fri: 8:00am to 7:00pm

The Alley Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Paul
Paul
Paul founded The City Lane back in 2009 as a place to share photos of his travels around Europe with friends and family. The City Lane might have changed quite a lot since those early days but one thing that’s remained constant is Paul’s passion for food, travel and culture, and a desire to photograph and write about his experiences. Paul has a strong inquisitive nature that drives him to look beneath the surface in order to discover what really makes a city and its people tick, and what better way to do this than over a good meal or drink, with a city’s locals, at places that people who live in that city actually frequent. Paul is also a co-host of The Brunswick Beer Collective, a podcast that may or may not actually be about beer.

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