I don’t know why so many people seem to have a problem with Vegetarian food. Surely it’s possible to go one day without eating meat? I think that when done creatively, Vegetarian food can be so fantastic that you wouldn’t even notice the lack of meat. Besides, Vegetarian eateries are perfect for Muslims since cross-contamination of Halal and non-Halal meats is not an issue, but judging by the number of Halal steakhouses that have opened of late, Muslims and meat are a match made in Jannah.
Fortunately I love my vegetables, and I managed to round up two fellow vegetable-lovers to go to Nourishing Quarter in Redfern. Nourishing Quarter is a Vegetarian restaurant which focuses on healthy, nourishing (as the title might suggest) and ‘fusion’ food. I don’t usually like the sound of ‘fusion’; it screams tiny portions and trendiness. However, I’ve been here before and know that while it certainly is trendy, the portions are adequate for the hungry diner and the food delicious. The last time I came here the swimmer Eamon Sullivan was sitting next to me, and if it’s satisfying enough for an Olympic athlete, I’m sure it’s good enough for everyone!
The real reason I love coming here is the kooky, vintage decor that makes you feel like you’re in your grandmother’s parlour. It’s as much a feast for the eyes as it is for the other senses. However, it’s quite small and can get a bit cramped when busy.
I could photograph every corner of the place, but you get the idea. The menu at Nourishing Quarter is entertaining, with cute little puns such as ‘Pho-evermore Soup’. The title is too funny for us to resist, so we decide on this, as well as the ‘Pretty Dumplings’ and a Quinoa Noodle Salad. For the non-trendy, quinoa is a health ‘super food’ that has a nutty, grainy consistency and can be used as a substitute for rice. I was too afraid to say it out loud for ages, but have since learned that the correct pronunciation is ‘kin-wa’.
The dishes come out at a leisurely pace, giving us time to enjoy the pretty setting before enjoying the Pretty Dumplings. They are daintily presented and filled with grains and other healthy stuff, but are utterly delicious, especially when garnished with a bit of chilli.
Next to come out is the Pho-Evermore soup. Pho is a Vietnamese noodle soup, and this version is wonderfully cleansing and filled with delicious tofu and bean sprouts.
The Quinoa Noodle Salad comes out last, and is served at room temperature. It has red onion and crispy quinoa, which we agree tastes a bit like chicken. The salad is refreshing and tangy and we are starting to feel like we’re on a very tasty detox diet.
We feel reasonably satisfied after sharing these three dishes, but not satisfied enough to pass up on dessert. Our obliging waitress lists the selection for tonight and we settle on the Strawberry Chocolate Cheesecake. It comes out and is a bit smaller than we expected, but is a perfect light ending to our meal, with its crumbly biscuit base and fresh fruit sides. It’s certainly the healthiest-tasting cheesecake I’ve had!
My friend decides to get tea, but is disappointed by the water being lukewarm and asks for a replacement. The service doesn’t falter; another tea promptly arrives with a smile.
All this adds up to be only around $20 per person, and we leave thoroughly satisfied, if not belly-achingly full. If you’re like me and can’t commit to a detox for more than an hour, this is the next best thing. Just ensure to make a booking, as they do get quite busy and sometimes have to turn people away who haven’t made one. Don’t be put off by the location either; it’s an easy walk from Central station. Grab a bunch of friends as this food is best shared, and if it helps, don’t say that it’s Vegetarian because they probably will be too busy looking at the vintage plates to notice!
315 Cleveland St
Redfern NSW 2016
Phone (02) 8399 0888
Lunch Thursday to Sunday 11:30am – 2:30pm
Dinner Tuesday to Thursday 5:30pm – 9:30pm
Friday to Saturday 5:30pm – 10pm