Enmore Road has just been crowned the hippest street in Sydney but King Street, Newtown remains the undisputed mecca for plant-based foodies. The busy thoroughfare from Sydney University to Sydney Park teems with vegan restaurants, a food safari of international cuisines covering all budget levels from thrifty takeaways to trendy hotspots where the cocktail lists rival the menus. There are too many great places to mention, but here are some of our favourites.
The vegan beef rendang at Golden Lotus has gained cult status amongst lovers of the classic Malaysian dish, but it is just one of many delights at this popular restaurant. First-timers should try the $29 Traditional Menu banquet which includes the beef rendang. Golden Lotus does not take bookings, which may mean queueing for a table, especially on weekends.
A few doors down is Blossoming Lotus. This cafe with a buffet counter looks like something you might find down a small soi in Bangkok. Do not be put off. The buffet options are delicious and you can also order freshly made dishes like pad thai or wonton soup a la carte. It’s great for a quick bite or to take home for dinner.
If the wait for a table at Golden Lotus is too long and you want something fancier than Blossoming Lotus, book a table at Vina Vegan. This family-run Vietnamese restaurant is cosy and comfortable, perfect for a relaxing night out with friends. Popular dishes include salt and pepper tofu, eggplant and stir-fried noodles.
At the northern end of King Street, Calle Rey serves up Mexican and Peruvian-inspired fusion cuisine in a funky setting complete with a pisco bar. Try the $36 Set Tasting Menu. From Tuesday to Thursday, you can taste all seven of their tasty tacos with the $32 Taco Experience.
Further down South King Street, Vandal Taqueria offers delicious food which pays homage to LA’s Latino street vendors and cocktails in a spacious venue dripping with industrial cool. Order the $33 set menu, wash it down with a margarita or several and have a fabulous night.
Gigi’s Pizzeria often has queues waiting for its traditional Neapolitan wood-fired pizzas and other authentic Italian delights. Try the funghi e radicchio pizza or the lasagna de gigi with plant based ragu. Gluten free options include gnocchi al forno or al pesto.
The wittily named I Should Be Souvlaki has popular starters like salt and pepper calamari and southern fried chicken strips. However, you may not need a starter at all if you choose the generously proportioned souvlaki plate for mains. Health-conscious diners can accompany their meal with a fresh Greek salad.
Khamsa Cafe has built a loyal fan base for its fresh and delectable Palestinian food served in a bright and airy space. It is open every day for breakfast and lunch. Everything on the menu is delicious but you won’t be able to go past the mushroom crepes accompanied with an Arabic coffee – the perfect brunch.
Cheese and Desserts
All the places mentioned above offer fabulous desserts, but if you are specifically on the hunt for sweet treats, head straight to Comeco Foods Cafe. Serving only vegan and gluten-free foods, this Japanese cafe has customers waxing lyrical about their sourdoughnuts and sweet potato brownies.
La Petite Fauxmargerie makes its own range of hand-crafted cheeses, as well as sourcing other artisanal dairy-free, plant-based products from around Australia. Perfect for your dinner party at home or a fancy picnic.
There are also vegan sweets aplenty at Black Star Pastry, Miss Lily’s and Mapo for gelato, but these establishments are not fully plant-based.
Final tip: if you are undecided or just strolling through the neighbourhood, the heaviest concentration of vegan eateries lie at the southern end of King St, after the fork where it branches out to Enmore Road.