Geelong, 75 kilometres south-west of Melbourne, sits as the gateway to the Bellarine Peninsula and the Great Ocean Road. It makes for a great weekend getaway from Melbourne, or the beginning of a picturesque road trip along the Great Ocean Road. We’ve travelled to Geelong a number of times recently to visit family. Each time we’ve been pleasantly surprised by the vegan scene. I’m not sure whether it’s because of the proximity to the vegan behemoth that is Melbourne, or perhaps the happy healthy coastal vibes, (or even that our local hosts know the best places to take us!) but we’ve found it to be quite a vegan friendly destination. Of course it’s great going to places with clearly labelled vegan menu items, but we’ve also found that a number of places without vegan items are understanding of vegan requirements and happy to accommodate.

Here’s a Geelong Vegan Guide we’ve put together based on our own dining experiences and some further research. Enjoy!

Places we’ve visited:

1. Armageddon Cake Dessert Bar 7 McLarty Place, Geelong

We were really impressed on our visit to this hidden gem in Geelong’s CBD. Armageddon Cake is an evening cake bar where the cakes are ever changing and about half the menu is always vegan. The interior is quirky, cosy, and entertaining. We called ahead a few hours to make a booking for 5 people and got our own private little cubby-house type room, complete with an original PlayStation (which kept the young nephew entertained!)

Cakes are $10 (including a side). I ordered the peanut butter ‘cheesecake’ with a side of soy ice-cream. It was delicious! Overall the whole experience was delightful – from the décor and the friendly and helpful staff, to the novelty of being able to go out to a ‘bar’ in the evening that serves vegan cakes.

2. Jashn 331A Pakington Sreet, Newtown and 38 Bell Street, Torquay

Jashn aims to capture the festiveness of traditional Indian cuisine within a contemporary atmosphere. The first thing that needs to be said is that their menu is amazing. Half the dishes are vegetarian, and within the vegetarian menu all the vegan meals are identified with a V. It was pretty tough to narrow it down but I ended up choosing the Gobhi Pokoras (crispy cauliflower fritters) for entrée and the Potato Eggplant Subzi with a side of saffron rice for main.

We were all surprised by how generous the serving sizes were for the entrées. I’m a massive fan of gobhi pokoras and was not disappointed by these ones. My curry was also tasty and packed quite a punch (probably wouldn’t recommend this one to those who aren’t a fan of tangy/spicy food). In summary, great food, great service, and great vegan menu items. My only regret is not taking photos to be able to share our yummy meals!

3. Surfcoast Wholefoods 41 Bristol Road, Torquay

Surfcoast Wholefoods is a one-stop shop. Not only is it the largest specialty organic and wholefoods store in the region, but it has an awesome café and juice bar. We stopped by just in time to order from the lunch menu. There were four vegan options on the lunch menu, including a raw pasta, two burgers, and soft shell tacos. I love anything with avocado so couldn’t resist the soft shell tacos. They were simple but delicious (and filling!). Travis had the tofu burger (more of a sandwich on toasted bread) which he enjoyed but found the tofu itself a bit underwhelming. Chelsea (our dog companion) on the other hand loved the tofu.

Now to the most important part. The dessert cabinet. It is packed full of deliciously enticing raw vegan treats. Good luck picking just one ;-) I took a raw snickers slice to go and enjoyed it the next day.

Be sure to take a look around the store as well, there is a massive range so you might be surprised by what you find. We visited just before Christmas so picked up some treats for our Carols by Candlelight picnic.

4.The Sprout and the Bean 163 Malop Street, Geelong

On our most recent trip to Geelong we were staying just around the corner from the Sprout and the Bean Café so dropped in for some breakfast. Although it wasn’t on the menu board, I had a craving for some avocado on toast, and the staff were happy to oblige. Unfortunately it was a bit of a let down. I like a decent thickness to my avocado when it’s on toast, but this was spread really lightly to the point that I could hardly taste the avocado as it was overpowered by the taste of the bread. It was one of those moments where I wished I had of stuck with the menu and ordered the fruit bowl with Co Yo. Travis got a vegetarian meal which also came with avocado – but strangely it was only spread on one half of one of his slices of toast.

The price was also a bit shocking. We paid $34 for 1 coffee, my toast, and Travis’ meal (which was $17). That put my toast at about $13.

If we had more time on our last visit I would have like to have tried lunch there, as there were more vegan meals available on the lunch menu than the breakfast menu. Vegan lunch options included a falafel wrap, a vegan burger, quinoa and roast vegetable salad, and a soup.

5. Organic Larder 167 Malop Street, Geelong.

Next door to the Sprout and Bean café is Organic Larder, an organic grocery store. Organic Larder was established in 2000 and stocks a wide range of organic produce. You’ll also find a range of vegan items throughout the store.

Places on our to-visit list:

6. Simply Vegan Cuisine

While we were in the Sprout and the Bean we picked up a business card for Simply Vegan Cuisine, a mobile food truck serving up cruelty free, plant based meals and snacks. Simply Vegan Cuisine provides catering for markets, festivals, and events. If you’re in the area be sure to follow them on Facebook to see where they’ll be making an appearance.

We haven’t yet had a chance to visit them but we are loving their menu so hope we get to try them on our next trip to Geelong. Cooked meals include chickpea curry, spicy lentil dahl, and cup of soup. Raw meals include zucchini linguini, lettuce boat and veggie crumbles, as well as raw cakes. All meals and treats are $10 and under.

7. The Usual Suspects Coffee Co. 4 Baines Crescent, Torquay

According to the Usual Suspects, they’re all about sustainability and creativity. We like the sounds of this, and love the look of their food photos on Facebook and Instagram.

8. Wholefoods Café 2 Baylie Place, Geelong.

Wholefoods is a community enterprise offering fresh, organic food. Unfortunately on previous trips to Geelong we have missed their opening hours (10am – 3pm Monday – Friday) so we’re still hanging out to try them. The café serves veg sandwiches and light lunches, with example vegan meals including spicy dahl, tofu and avocado salad, and vegetable curry.

9. 2 Little Birds Café

I’ve seen a photo of all the raw vegan treats at 2 Little Birds, and it’s beyond me why we have not yet been there. Apparently they have other food as well ;-)

10. Lavish Specialty Coffee 161a High Street, Belmont

Lavish is a café with a small retail section. Their Clean Eating/Healthy Wholefoods Summer Menu contains four vegan items, including chia pudding and a veg burrito.

Other resources:

Be sure to check out Happy Cow for more listings.

If you’re travelling around Regional Victoria, you may also find some useful listings on the Vegan Easy website.

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