There’s a new(ish) kid on the block. The North Carlton Canteen is a welcome addition to the culinary no man’s land between Brunswick’s piece of Lygon Street and Carlton’s little Italy. It’s nice that the smell of roasted coffee beans and toasted sourdough now fills the void previously monopolised by rose buds and death. It only struck me while I was slurping on my medium roast why this particular spot is such a hub of floral activity (including a 24-hour drive-through florist). It’s the strip running opposite a cemetery. And behind sweet Valentines and mothers on Mother’s Day the next category of people most commonly in receipt of a heartfelt bouquet has got to be the dead. Hmm. Right. Mystery solved. Now, that’s enough about the dead. I’ll tell you what wasn’t lifeless: the mushrooms NCC served me for breakie! Another seamless segue, Emma.

While there was nothing vegan-ready on NCC’s menu, the very attentive and friendly waitress was happy to ask her vegan colleague for suggestions. The two of them rattled off a few ideas and I went with smashed avocado on seeded sourdough with a side of mushrooms. It was a simple meal but it was delicious. A big dollop of creamy avocado, nutty roasted pumpkin seeds and tangy lemon was the perfect topping for the crunchy Brasserie sourdough. The mushrooms were full of flavour, juicy and tender. I would be happy to go back and try another of the dishes they said could be veganised — a pumpkin and rocket toasted sammie sounded like a winning lunch option.

NCC blog pic

Vegan options: Nothing vegan on the menu but they are happy to put a few options together for you.
Coffee: The coffee is a single origin Italian blend, specially roasted for NCC. It was nice, but I’ve had better coffee in the area.
Soy: Bonsoy
Moola: I paid over $20 for what was essentially avocado and mushroom on toast (and a coffee) so I definitely grade this vegan breakie as a little pricey.
Ear candy: Not sure actually. There’s a great busy atmosphere inside the cafe and the air is filled with chatter.

Have you got a favourite vegan-friendly spot in Carlton?

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