• Fina's Cafe (Richmond)

A feast.  A feast.  A very merry feast!  Of broccoli, carrots, potatoes and things...

Ok, so perhaps the veggie feast does not have the same ring to it.  Whenever I think of a feast, I conjure images of colourful food-fight food from the Peter Pan movie, Hook, or Henry the eighth tucking into a pie.  And a veggie feast?  Well, we all know veggies are too healthy to be indulgent.

Bureaucrat from Eat and Be Merry had organised a lovely diner and catch up for seven of us at vegetarian Vietnamese Fina’s Cafe.  There is a tendency for people to overcompensate and this night saw everyone eating vegetarian.  Just for me?  It made me even happier to hear they all enjoyed eating vegetarian now and then.

Fina’s Cafe is in the heart of Victoria Street, Richmond.  This is one area where I struggle.  There are so many restaurants, most of them good, some of them terrible, and everyone has their favourites.  I was pleased to not only find a new one, but one that would cater for people like me.  We are a weird breed.  Did I ever tell you about the time when I was a kid and my parents told someone I was vegetarian?  His response was:  “Don’t worry.  She’ll get over it.”  It seems I still haven’t.

Amongst the plethora of Victoria Street eateries, Fina’s Cafe is hidden.  The dining area is casual with the typical cheap and cheerful theme.  The menu is extensive (being spoilt for choice is rare).  We opted to select a dish each and share.

The special vegetarian spicy soup was everyone else’s favourite.  It was delightfully fragrant with mint and a hot, tangy soup over rice noodles.  It was made to seem meaty with bits of gluten, tofu and mushrooms giving the appearance of offal.  For this reason, I preferred the other dishes.

The vegetarian vermicelli noodle salad was possibly my favourite with crisp spring rolls chopped over vermicelli with carrot, sprouts, tofu and a tasty vegan fish sauce.  The tofu was crispy but a bit dry.  The noodles were al dente.

The vegan curry was subtle without too much spice and hot basil.

The pancake was filled with lots of bean shoots and was still eggy inside whilst being crispy on the outer.  I didn’t enjoy the fatty mock meat.  Parts of the pancake were still batter.

Refreshing salad was like a coleslaw with peanuts and rice crackers.  Mmmm, more-ish.

We also shared spring rolls, which we wrapped in lettuce and ate with Vietnamese mint and vegan fish sauce.

With the diversity and quantity of the food, we became quite full, and for me, very happy.  There is something special about sharing meals and as a vegetarian I rarely get to enjoy such an occasion.  Not only that, but I was making new friends with wonderful people who all share my passion for eating.  If ever there were to be a feast for vegetarians, this would be it.

Read what The Quest for Noms thought of the meal.

Fina's Cafe
268 Victoria Street
Richmond 3121
03 9428 6765

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