I stumbled upon Gypsy Hideout on a wee excursion to the Fruit Peddlars in Northcote. I knew that if I was about to buy my body weight in Vegusto vegan cheese (holy wow! A review on this cheese-prayer-answering product coming soon), CoYo ice-cream, and activated nuts — I best be fuellin’ myself up so as to have the strength to carry it all.

This café, nestled in the Westgarth strip of Northcote, is bright and breezy with a white-washed interior and a cute little courtyard out the back. The service was friendly and my waiter was happy to offer a suggestion for veganising one of the interesting dishes on the Mediterranean-infused menu. I was served Greek Yemista — plump, roasted tomatoes stuffed with rice, garlic and herbs — on a bed of baby spinach with crusty sourdough and baba ganoush. The serving was mammoth. I couldn’t finish it. And that never happens to this little plate-scraper. I would recommend sharing this with another — or taking a hangover with you. The tomatoes were tasty but the chef’s unique baba ganoush was the star of the show. It was creamy and chunky and unlike any other baba ganoush I’ve smeared on sourdough. And I’ve done a lot of smearing.

I recommend giving the hideout a shot. The coffee was rich, the service attentive and there are nice little details about the place like Gypsy Elixirs that come in chemistry flasks and vintage souvenir spoons to stir your hot drinks.

Vegan options:  No obvious vegan options on the menu, especially in the brunch category but they were more than happy to veganise this dish for me so it would be worth asking what they can do.
Coffee: The coffee was great, this I remember. But I lost my notes so I cannot tell you the usual tidbits: which coffee, which soy, what it all came to and what kind of tunes tinkled in the background. Forgive me!

Do you have a favourite vegan-friendly lunch spot in Northcote?