Vegan Sass: The Alley, St Kilda Rd Melbourne

An easy brain recall has to be Allie from The Alley. Now repeat after me, Allie from The Alley, Allie from The Alley…mac n cheese with coconut bacon. Whoops. St Kilda Rd’s newest vegan haunt offers delicious grab n go options for health conscious people with their jet skates on.

A New York implant for five years, The Alley’s founder warmly greeted us on Friday as we arrived, eager to dive in to the momentous first drinks of the evening, a Colonial Draught and glass of Alley House Blend “All Day Rosé”, or bio-dynamic raw wine, if you please.

Inspired by her time in the United States, Allie opened The Alley at the start of April with a firm intent to provide fast, casual comfort food for busy folks. The place is small – there are 35 seats – but the menu offers an array of options, from signature burgers and salads to gluten-free pastas and guilt-free desserts, cold pressed juices and smoothies.

Of course an invitation to a new vegan joint led me to invite one of my great friends and founder of Melbourne Vegan Eats, Anne Brunsdon, who came along as my date.

First we tried the Fiery Kelp Noodle Salad, a gluten-free, light option of seaweed noodles tossed with cucumber, shaved red cabbage and cos lettuce topped with sunflower seeds and crispy brown rice noodles. It was finished with a sent-from-heaven cashew and sriracha sauce. The salad was a perfect starter, as vegan fried food can get a bit much (in my humble, non-foodie, opinion).

Next came the Mac n Cheese, macaroni and sweet corn with a creamy white bean and cashew sauce. Again with the finishings – the coconut bacon and breadcrumbs almost had us weeping. Fiery Kelp noodle salad and Mac n Cheese was a perfectly complete meal for me.

As was our duty, we shared a Beet Steak burger, with its bean-tempeh pattie, butter lettuce, tomato, onion, crispy shallots and Sriracha aioli on a beet brioche bun and Air Baked Sweet Potato Fries, and though I enjoyed both immensely, I have a fried food ceiling, and it was hit. I always write that I’m not a vegan but I don’t mind eating like one, because I love eating whole foods: legumes, pulses and smoothies (prepared by anyone but me) packed full of goodness.

For dessert we sampled a vegan choc chip cookie and gluten-free chocolate soft serve. Anne and I both agreed that an ice cream sandwich creation would knock The Alley’s dessert offering out of the park.

Special thanks to Allie at The Alley and Reymond Communications for the kind invitation and excellent company.

The Alley 417 St Kilda Road Melbourne. Tel: :03 9820 8314

Mon/Tues : 8am-4pm Wed/Thur/Fri: 8am-7pm – closed on Saturday and Sunday as well as Public Holidays including Anzac Day, Xmas Day and New Years Day

In other news…

The inaugural Melbourne Vegan Eats Big Vegan Market is happening at Royal Exhibition Building on Saturday 13 April. There will be nothing but vegan Food, Drinks, Craft, Fashion & Skincare. Support local business and get your chops around some plant-based goodness. RSVP to the Facebook event here.

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