Smith and Daughters, Fitzroy

Smith and Daughters is a vegan restaurant in Fitzroy on Brunswick St, easily accessible by tram 11 and close to a number of other popular eateries. It's opened by the same people who own the also vegan Smith and Deli (also in Fitzroy), which is best known for their sandwiches and of course, range of deli produces.

The interior of Smith and Daughters is quite spacious, with large windows allowing plenty of natural light to enter. There's a rustic feel with the stone and brick walls, and the back wall is adorned with a range of framed artwork that gives the place an edgy vibe. Although there are a lot of tables, the open space doesn't make you feel cramped at all, and there wasn't any need to raise our voices particularly when talking, even with the music and chatter in the background. The staff were attentive and there wasn't too long of a wait for our food when we went on a Sunday afternoon. As we didn't book a table, we had the option of sitting at the bar or the communal table, so if you're after your own space, it's best to call in advance.

Saint Thomas Coffee and Kitchen, Richmond

Saint Thomas is a cosy cafe in Richmond, about a five minute walk from East Richmond Station and also easily accessible by tram 78. It's actually a few doors down from a famous cafe in the area, Pillar of Salt, which I've also blogged about.

The cafe has a very lively, bustling environment from all its customers, so you do have to raise your voices slightly when talking to one another. The kitchen is to one side of the cafe and there's further seating behind it, so you hear the sounds from within as well. We were sitting quite close to the kitchen and the smells of bacon kept wafting over to our table, which almost made us want to order some ourselves! There aren't very many decorations up on the walls; for the most part it's just white, though the seating at the very back is for a larger group, with couch like chairs to one side. Service was great, we waited about ten minutes for food at most, and got a table immediately when we went on a Sunday around 11am, and the staff were friendly.

The Black Trestle, Balwyn

The Black Trestle is a cafe in Balwyn in the shopping strip just past Balwyn Rd and relatively close to Mr. Hendricks, a popular cafe in the area. The cafe is easily accessible via tram 109, and there's plenty of side streets for parking as well.

The cafe is quite small, with minimal decorations apart from a plant here and there. The white walls and general wooden decor give the place a comfortable feel, with a cosy atmosphere. We went on a Sunday around 11:30am and surprisingly didn't have to wait at all for a table. There weren't very many people at the cafe at all when we were there, which was a bit surprising. Couch like seating lines one side of the cafe, which is mostly designed for groups of two. We were in a group of four, so felt a little cramped at times with all the food on the circular tables. The staff were friendly, though our food did take at least twenty minutes to arrive, even though we were the only people sitting down to eat at the time.

Royal Stacks, CBD

Royal Stacks is a new(ish) burger joint in the city located on Collins Street, closer to the Southern Cross end of the CBD.

Like most burger joints, Royal Stacks is a self service where you have to up to the counter to order, and pick up your food when the buzzer goes off. We went relatively early on a Saturday night and there was about a fifteen minute wait for our food. The restaurant itself is quite big, with dark wooden decor lining the seating beyond the counter. In contrast, the front of the joint is made up of large communal tables by the large window and the plant covered wall, and there's a cool neon pink burger sign on the other side.

Hello Sailor, Hawthorn

Hello Sailor is a cafe in Hawthorn close to Auburn Station on the Belgrave/Lilydale/Alamein line, close to another cafe I've recently blogged about, The Counter. I'd noticed the cafe a little while ago because of the huge 'Hello Sailor' logo painted on the wall of the cafe (it's located on the corner of a street), and the fact it seemed to be always very busy when I went past.

The interior design of Hello Sailor is very cosy, and there's a very homely feel to the place, with the pale wooden walls contrasting with the white ceiling, and the simple hanging lights. Cushioned seating lines one side of the cafe, and soft upbeat music plays in the background, giving the cafe a lively but not too noisy atmosphere, mixed with the chatter from all the customers. There's also plenty of seating for two outside the cafe, and I noticed quite a few people bought their pets along when sitting outside. The staff were friendly for the most part, however service was average - despite it not being particularly busy when we went, there was a half hour wait for our food to arrive.

Matcha Mylkbar, St Kilda

Matcha Mylkbar is a famous vegan cafe in St Kilda, best known for its bright dishes and use of matcha. The cafe is located just off the popular Acland street in St Kilda, and easily accessible by a number of trams that go down the area, including 3, 16 and 96. All the dishes at Matcha Mylkbar are vegan friendly, with some very unique items.

We went on a Saturday morning and were told there was going to be a 1.25 hour wait, though luckily got a table in about an hour. They take your phone number when you put your name down for a table, and you receive this quirky text message when your table is almost ready. The menu items had really quirky names as well; this seems to be a recurring theme throughout the cafe. There are a couple of seats outdoors, but for the most part the seats are indoors. There are a lot of plants hanging from the ceiling, and the use of wooden tables and wicker chairs makes you feel like you're at a florist or the like.

St Cloud Eating House, Hawthorn East

St Cloud Eating House is a Vietnamese fusion style restaurant, located on Burwood Road in Hawthorn about a five minute walk from Auburn Station. It was a really enjoyable experience here, and I noticed there is a lot of emphasis on using different herbs to provide flavours and add to natural ingredients, something I haven't really seen in Viet style cuisines.

The restaurant has quite a lot of seating; there's two levels plus an outdoor area on the second floor, but as it's so popular, you definitely have to book for one of their two sittings in advance, in order to grab a table. The decor is quite simple, with white painted walls and lights hanging from the ceiling, giving it mood lighting in a relaxed environment. Upbeat music plays in the background; loud enough to provide add to the atmosphere and experience of the whole place, but not too much that you had to raise your voice to speak, even with all the chatter from the groups of people. The service was really great with attentive and friendly staff, and our food came out in less than fifteen minutes.

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