Some people aren’t for settling down, but I’m glad that the much-loved Veggie Patch Van has a spin-off that’s permanently in the park position: its new project, the Veggie Patch Diner, recently opened in Five Ways, Paddington.
There’s no need to chase or tailgate this offshoot to get your fix of the Veggie Patch’s vegetarian street food – and in fact, the luxury of expanding beyond the original food truck means that there’s plenty more elbow room and a lengthier menu, too. There are all the ace burgers you love – the flavour-stacked Zucchini and Feta, Haloumi, and Olive & Almond options (all $11 each; $16 with chips) that you’ve carefully rescued from the counter window of Veggie Patch Van many times before, only to later demolish in record, T-shirt-staining speed. Plus, there are some that I hadn’t tried before, like the feisty Smoked Mushroom and Tempeh Burger, with is full of revved-up ingredients, thanks to the char and burn of the mushrooms, the firepower of the chipotle barbecue sauce, the fighting form of the pickled banana peppers and lime & pepper mayo, plus the cooling contrast of the lemon myrtle and apple & kale slaw. You can’t really have burgers without maxing out on carbs and starch either, so make sure to add on Veggie Patch’s signature Sweet Potato Crisps with Vegan Basil Mayo, Shoestring Fries with Smoked Onion Gravy or Onion Rings with Chipotle Mayo.
You can also get an ever-changing mix of salads (the roast eggplant with soba is pretty great) with edamame falafel, pickles, dips and flatbread for $12-$17 a plate ; there are also pies that are both savoury (pink peppercorn and creamy mushroom; pumpkin tikka masala), and crafted for your sweet tooth (apple and salted caramel with coconut ice cream; nutmeg sweet potato with maple whipped cream). The list of intriguing drinks includes an iced raspberry tea that’s flavoured with lemon myrtle that hangs from the drying rack on the Veggie Patch Diner’s ceiling. The smart and spare fit-out – by Joe Snell, who also did the design for sister restaurant Yulli’s – includes lines of shelving for the kaleidoscopic collection of pickles that the Veggie Patch Diner has been busy producing.
And if you get there early enough, you can try the breakfast options, which range from Pumpkin Pie Porridge ($10) to a Haloumi and Fried Egg Roll with caramelised onions and green tomato sauce ($10). And regardless of the time zone, there are also plenty of vegan options across all of Veggie Patch Diner’s menu.