Fina’s Vegetarian Café

Hue style spicy soup

One Tuesday afternoon a few weeks back, I was walking along Victoria St to catch a train at North Richmond Station, after a morning volunteering at Fareshare. On the way I passed Fina’s Vegetarian Cafe. I was hungry so I stopped for lunch on a whim. What a good decision!

Sometimes I get used to there being so few vegan choices on a menu, that when I am faced with a lot of choice I get menu paralysis. I miss Vietnamese food, and here is a place serving lots of it. And mostly or possibly all vegan. And cheap as well.

Which dish to have? So many choices! I took a while to decide.

There are no helpful symbols saying that a dish is vegan or not, but a large number of the dishes have written in the blurb that they are recommended for vegans. To be honest I suspect that many of the other vegetarian dishes that weren’t explicitly vegan in the description, in fact, may have been. I didn’t ask, bad vegan! I’ll ask next time and perhaps suggest they could label them consistently. But there were plenty of choices available without any need to interrogate the staff and I was hungry!!

In the end I went for a Hue style ‘Special Vegetarian Spicy Noodle’ soup with noodles, a spicy broth and pieces of different mock meat, mushroom and tofu. The soup was described as mild with the option of spicing it up with extra fresh chillis.  Being a slightly wimpy Anglo I would have described it as moderately spicy. 🙂 It turned out to be perfect for me with no added chilli.

It comes served with a large pile of sprouts, shredded cabbage and some herbs and lemon. Plus the extra chilli for the brave.

I loved it. The staff were incredibly friendly. I think the food is much better than Loving Hut just down the road and it comes without the obligatory dose of Supreme Master TV, which isn’t really conducive to relaxed eating.

As I left, the weather was muggy and the sky was filled with grey clouds with some big fat raindrops just starting. It wasn’t too difficult to pretend I was in Vietnam, and all for the price of a Zone One train trip.

I’ll be back.

Fina’s has also been reviewed positively by Where’s the Beef? and The Simple Eater.

Edit: I have been back, twice! Once for a Banh Xeo (vietnamese coconut pancake with scarily real mock pork, mushrooms and beanshoots) and another time for a much less confronting curry. Both good. I did ask about the items that are not marked as vegan and was told that anything on the menu can be or is vegan.

Fina’s Vegetarian Café
268 Victoria St 
Richmond VIC 3121

(03) 9428 6765

 

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