I met up with some friends for dinner recently at Transformer. Both of them are non-vegan, and when we eat together they always let me choose the restaurant and eat vegan with me. What good friends!
I’d been wanting to get to Transformer since before it even opened so it was an easy choice. It is run by the owners of the Vegie Bar. I love the Vegie Bar, but its food is closer to cheap and cheerful comfort food rather than fine dining. There is a place for both. Transformer meets the fine dining brief really well.
The space at Transformer is lovely, divided into “rooms” by partitions, the tables are well spaced and well lit, which also just happens to be excellent for photography.
We really couldn’t organise ourselves to choose, since everything looked good, so we opted for the vegan version of the “Feed Me” option at $45 per person. I was expecting perhaps 6 or so dishes. I later discovered that this ACTUALLY means they feed you until you ask them to stop. In the end we had to beg for mercy. The only downside is the Feed Me option doesn’t include any dessert and we failed to leave any room for it.
Here is what we ate.
Pumpkin and pinenut dip with sourdough crisps.
Coconut oil popcorn with nori flakes.
Spelt and seed steamed buns with crispy fried tofu, pickled cucumber and gochujang mayo.
Soba and kelp noodles with silver beet, arame, nori, wasabi cashews and gojiberries.
Salad of roasted red and golden beetroot, grilled lemon, mint, avocado, radishes and dukkah with a cabernet and pomegranate glaze.
Grilled king oyster mushrooms with smoked leeks and confit garlic pinenut puree, porcini salt.
Jerusalem artichokes, confit parsnips, truffled onion puree and parsley oil.
Roasted cauliflower with golden raisins, red sorrel, saffron, mint, parsley and pistachios.
Roasted sweet potato with coconut yoghurt, lime and togarashi.
Smoked tofu skewers with pickled ginger and dried miso.
Freekeh, quinoa, kamut, lentil, barberry and hemp seed pilaf.
I loved all the dishes, but the real standouts for me were the steamed buns, the noodles, the sweet potatoes for their delicious simplicity and the confit parsnip and truffled onion puree on the Jerusalem artichoke dish. The only thing I didn’t enjoy were the Jerusalem artichokes and didn’t eat them, beyond one taste which confirmed my dislike!
It will be no hardship to return and leave room to eat dessert next time.
It is reasonably priced for really good food, when you want to go somewhere a bit fancier.
99 Rose St