Green Gourmet must be one of Newtown's longest running restaurants, it opened in 1998 but we only ventured in for the first time a few years ago.
It's a special place too. We walk by here almost every day and see the family/staff having a meal together before opening the doors for dinner. We see big happy family gatherings, vegans relaxing with no fear of animal whatsoever, students getting a vitamin hit and people like us who simply appreciate the art of veggie cooking. We like to pop in now and again for a big vegetable feed when we feel like we are on the verge of scurvy and need a big boost of vegetable goodness.
On a recent visit we watched as an insect flew in from outside and started to buzz around some of the dining tables. A staff member expertly caught the insect in one hand, then took it outside to release it. Principles in action right there.
As well as their vegan stance (and no killing flies policy) they also omit onions, garlic or even leek, spring-onions and chives from any of the cooking, they explain further on their website. Thankfully chilli is still allowed.
The buffet is probably the most popular way to eat. It is charged by the weight so be careful how you stack up your plate. There are usually choices of stir fries, cooked greens (green beans, chinese broccoli or choy sum), deep fried morsels (cauliflower, mushrooms, fake fish slices) and a wild rice mix. You pile up your plate and then take it to the counter and pay by the weight. It's cheaper at lunch time than in the evening.
On weekends they offer a vegan yum cha which can get the place quickly full and busy. Mock chicken sweet'n' sour, fried radish cakes, steamed rice rolls filled with greens, 'prawn' dumplings, stuffed burdock and mushroom tofu skins and tofu with a nugget of paste on top are some of the offerings.
It's such a joy to have a yum cha bill in English that you can add up yourself, but we miss the little stamps.
Vegan cat food for sale in the restaurant. Note how pissed-off the cat looks.
Green Gourmet is at 115 King St Newtown. Ph 9519 5330. Also in St Leonards at 538 Pacific Highway.