madame k


I’ve eaten at Madame K at least four times, so obviously I like it.  I didn’t write any blog posts about the first few visits because either we scoffed the food before taking any photos or the photos were poor.

I have to say I am pretty impressed with the food here. It is at the high end of the scale for mock meat.  In fact some of the mock meat is so realistic, it is a bit scary.

The menu is a roam around Asia, with Chinese, Thai, Malaysian, Indonesian and Japanese dishes all making an appearance so there is a lot of choice. All of it is vegan with a handful of desserts able to veganised with the swapping of dairy for soy icecream. Over the course of those 4 visits I’ve eaten the massaman “lamb” curry several times.  I’ve taken a non vegan friend here and he was impressed with the food.

This latest visit was an impromptu one after a comedy festival show (Denise Scott – fabulous). We jumped off the tram in the vegan section of Brunswick St, and decided on Madame K for dinner.

This time we resisted the temptation to eat the massaman curry again and opted instead for several small plates, some of which were on the specials menu.

We chose betel leaves with fresh coconut, quinoa, black beans and a sweetish dipping sauce,  followed by some crispy chive stuffed sticky rice dumplings with a soy based dipping sauce. These were so delicious we ordered a second serve.  Then came some lamb ‘sliders’ in roti, which were not really what I think of as sliders at all, but completely delicious with chewy ‘lamb’ wrapped in flaky roti and doused with a sweet sesame flavoured sauce. Lastly we ate a sweet and sour mushroom salad which I thought was OK but not up to the standard of the other dishes.

Madame K is always reliably good and it will remain a regular favourite on my list.

Madame K
367 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy VIC 3065
(03) 9415 6099

truffled fava puree

grilled asparagus with truffled fava and almonds

If you have ever had the good luck to eat at Maha, you have probably tasted the truffled fava puree. I have eaten it each time I have been there, and though it may not look like much, it packs a delicious punch of flavour that makes me go weak at the knees.

I’ve wanted to try making this ever since the first time I ate it, and I finally went searching for a recipe after my latest visit to Maha. I found the recipe on the SBS food site with a video demonstration by Shane Delia himself. It is one of the recipes featured on his program Spice Journey.  Strangely, the recipe on the website differs in technique to the video so I am sticking with Shane and following his directions. It is part of a larger non vegan recipe, but the puree itself is vegan in the original.

I had assumed that the name of it meant that it contained fava (broad) beans, but in fact it is made from yellow split peas.

It is smooth, sweet and unctuous with the heady flavour and aroma of truffle.

It works well as a dip, as a sauce with some grilled vegetables and flaked almonds or frankly, just eaten off a spoon, which is what I am doing as I write this post. :)


truffled fava puree
prep time
cook time
total time
recipe type: dip
cuisine: vegan
serves: 1 cup
  • 150 grams yellow split peas
  • 1 red shallot peeled
  • ½ carrot peeled
  • ½ stick of celery (strings removed)
  • 1½ tsp truffle oil
  • salt
  1. Rinse the split peas until the water runs clear.
  2. Chop the vegetables roughly.
  3. Add the vegetables and split peas to a saucepan, just cover with water.
  4. Cook over a low to medium heat stirring occasionally until everything is soft and breaks down.
  5. Puree with a stick blender until utterly smooth.
  6. Add the truffle oil and salt to taste.
  7. Drizzle with some extra truffle oil.
I made half the original recipe.



banh mi at trang bakery and cafe

banh mi

I’ve been to Trang six times this year and have so far failed to blog about it.  Five of those times have been at the Smith St shop and the one other time was at the new shop in the city in Hardware Street. A review is well overdue.

I love banh mi, I make them at home and I eat them out whenever I have the chance,  so I’ve eaten a lot of them. I’m prepared to call these the best banh mi I’ve eaten.

At Trang there are six vegan options on the menu, ranging from lemongrass tofu and a crispy crumbed eggplant to several types of vegan mock meat – duck, chicken, ham and prawns.

There’s almost always a queue at the door, the turnover is huge and the ingredients always fresh.

So far I have tried the lemongrass tofu, the crispy eggplant, the vegan chicken and the vegan duck. I have a hard time choosing between the tofu for its flavour and the eggplant for its texture,  so today I ordered one with a combination of both.

The baguettes are nicely crunchy and come packed with some eggplant and capsicum relish, salad, herbs, whatever filling you choose, some chilli, crunchy fried shallots, crushed peanuts and delicious sauces.

There are a couple of tables outside where you can sit to eat at both shops, but a banh mi is also perfect for eating on the run.

I’ll be back to try all the vegan options, but I think I’ll have a hard time getting past that eggplant and tofu combo.


Trang Bakery and Cafe
382 Smith St,
Collingwood, 3066
03 9416 3988

Also at

119 Hardware St
Melbourne, 3000
03 9670 4761

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