You may have seen the ‘documentary’ (and I use the word very loosely) Game Changers on Netflix. For the uninitiated, it looks at how a ‘plant-based’ diet has worked for an array of big, muscly guys, and that meat isn’t a dietary prerequisite for beefcakes.
Personally, as a marketer, I think it’s a brilliant rebrand of the mildly annoying veganism movement. However, it successfully convinced many – including me – to eat more plants and fewer animals. This can only be a good thing, unless you’re a plant.
Anyway, now when I dine out, I tend to scan the menu for the vegetarian options first, and I preference restaurants with plenty of ‘plant-based’ options. So, as a resident of the region, this is where I’m going…
The Surly Goat – Hepburn Springs
This place is my ‘date night’ go-to. Chef David Willcock’s Mediterranean influence equates to loads of amazingly tasty veg-based options.
Lake House - Daylesford
The class and sophistication of Lake House is well known. Alla Wolf-Tasker is a true food pioneer, and her restaurant is very much on board the plant-based movement, catering to vegetarians.
Phamily Kitchen - Castlemaine
If I’m in Castlemaine with the kids, we go here. Every time. Great Vietnamese food; I lived in Vietnam for two years, so I’m a reasonable judge.
Woodberry Café – Woodend
I included this place because their ‘Power Bowl’ blew my mind a year ago, when my wife started working on me to eat less meat. Their ‘Nourish Bowl’ is just as great.
Kuzu Izakaya - Woodend
There’s one word I associate with Japanese food (and Japanese people for that matter): clean. I love the lightness and freshness, and Kuzu Izakaya does it better than any.
Home Grown on Piper - Kyneton
A local favourite for breakfast and lunch, with an ethical approach to food. Their dahl is amazing.
Super Lekker - Woodend
Burgers are the best food in the world. If I were on death row, I’d order a burger as my last meal for sure. And it’d probably be Super Lekker’s ‘L Veg’ burger because the only death associated with it would be mine.
Ida Red - Macedon
Someone – maybe Woody Allen – once said that pizza is like sex; it is never bad, just degrees of good. Not sure my wife would agree, but she does like the vegetarian pizza here.
Blackwood Ridge - Blackwood
I’ve taken my team here for lunch a couple of times, and the food is A1. You can’t get more ‘paddock to plate’ than this place, as it’s an active nursery and you can see the plants you’re eating.
Sault – Daylesford
Sault also has an impressive garden, from which the team source their amazing vegies. And the setting and service make for a memorable experience.
Du Fermier - Trentham
OK, I’ll admit I have never eaten here (but really, really want to) its reputation amongst Melburnians is huge. Annie Smithers’ seasonal menu is legendary, and it’s vegetarian-friendly.
The Surly Goat thesurlygoat.com.au
Home Grown on Piper homegrownonpiper.com.au
Phamily Kitchen phamilykitchencastlemaine.com.au
Woodberry Café woodberrycafe.com.au
Du Fermier anniesmithers.com.au
Blackwood Ridge blackwoodridge.com.au
Kuzu Izakaya kuzu.com.au
Ida Red idared.com.au
Super Lekker superlekker.com.au
Lake House lakehouse.com.au
Main photo: Sault Restaurant