It’s difficult to get vegan food in many parts of Canberra, but especially so in the parliamentary triangle. I propose that the current amenities review of the parliamentary zone result in a vegan food truck or wandering cupcake seller, it could be called govsnack (copyright Cush, @cu5h).
I’m providing this summary of my experience with cafés and restaurants in the parliamentary triangle in the hope that they’ll recognise the vegan/vegetarian market, without the requirement to phone ahead or make a special request. Look at the success of Sweet Bones in Braddon, only 4 kilometres away from the parliamentary triangle (but with a fair chunk of time trying to find a car park there and one on return).
I went to The Kitchen Cabinet (Old Parliament House), I’d been to their 2012 Chocolate Maker talk (see if you can find me in the photos!) which was very accommodating to vegans (but then it is pre-booked so it’s a different thing altogether). Today I was incorrectly enthused by their roast vegetables with pine nuts listed on their menu, before their staff member kindly pointed out that it was a quiche filling. Clearly subheadings on chalkboards are not my forte. There was lots of blocks and gift packs of Lindsay & Edmunds organic chocolate for sale, but solely milk or white chocolate combinations. If there was dark chocolate I could have bought it, as Peter is very insistent about not putting milk solids in chocolate (he mentioned this at the Chocolate Maker talk).
Lots of other produce including pumpkins, but I had already used up too much of my lunch break walking around so I didn’t have time to buy, chop, cook and eat vegetables from start to finish.
Lovely roses outside Parliament House, maybe I could eat them – rose petal icecream and lavender truffles are my top favourite foods of all time.
Here’s a list of other places to eat in the parliamentary triangle, if you want lunch on a weekday. Some of these places have excellent call-ahead vegan options but I hope that they become permanent menu items:
Promenade Café at Hyatt Hotel (custom risotto if you turn up for lunch without a call-ahead), I have also attended the weekend high tea where I’ve had a separate special meal (everyone else accesses the buffet), there was a chargrilled vegetable sandwich (average) and dessert plate (excellent). Make sure you mention it when you book the high tea tickets.
Pork Barrel (tomato or mushroom pizza with no cheese, depending on your view of veganism relating to yeast, no call-ahead),
Coffers at the Treasury building (basic white rice and vegetables, no call-ahead),
Bookplate at National Library (custom on-demand salads, call-ahead needed. They also do excellent vegan catering with lime-soaked coconut strawberries). Paperplate (LG1 level of the Library) has a noodle salad that could possibly be vegan,
Portrait Café at National Portrait Gallery (custom on-demand salad, zucchini balls, call-ahead definitely needed, which sometimes goes to their voicemail which means they are very busy and probably won’t make it),
Café Milieu at John Gorton building (sandwiches, basic rice with vegetables, no call-ahead), and
NGA Café (National Gallery) inside on lower ground level has an apple blackberry cake (but there were none today, very sad) and occasional dairy free salad. The Turner Tea Room on level one offers cream tea, lunch and high tea – I’m unsure if there are vegan variations on the menu offerings. The outside café might sometimes have vegan soup and bread at the during winter (today was wombok soup, which was apparently vegetarian but not vegan).
Places I haven’t tried for lunch during the week are Galileo Café (Questacon), Queen’s Terrace Café (Parliament House), Waters Edge, Lobby Restaurant, and the Deck (Regatta Point) and probably some others.
Sometimes it takes a lot of phone calls, planning and walking just to get lunch. Perhaps instead of parking spaces in the parliamentary triangle, we should convert all the parking spaces into community gardens so there would always be something to eat.