At around 1.30pm on Friday I jumped off the 86 tram just before it turned into Gertrude Street. I had an appointment in East Melbourne, but realised I had some time to kill, and I hadn’t eaten since 6am. Luckily I was in Fitzroy, because I needed to find vegan food, fast!
Since I was walking down Smith Street, my first thought was that I could grab something from Las Vegan on my way up to Victoria Parade, but then I remembered it closed down! Well, it’s closed as a café, but it’s still open for catering. But that didn’t help me with lunch.
I considered walking back to Trippy Taco in Gertrude Street, but was worried I might run out of time. Then I spotted Like Minded Projects, sitting unobtrusively on the other side of the road. So that’s where it was!
I found it, but what is it?
I’d heard about this groovy place when it opened (last year?). It intrigued me, because I couldn’t quite figure out what it was. It sounded like it was part café, part market, part cafeteria, part food court (gasp!), but much groovier.
Each time I caught the 86 tram, I peered out at the Smith Street shops, hoping to catch a glimpse of it. No wonder I couldn’t find it – it was in that little strip of Smith Street past where the tram turns off!
The signage doesn’t give any clues, so I was glad I’d read about it. If I hadn’t I wouldn’t have known that it was actually 3 ‘likeminded’ businesses in one place, and I would have been totally confused and intimidated by its grooviness.
It’s a lovely, light-filled space, even on a grey winter day. It’s all light and fresh and clean, with glass and polished concrete and potted plants. Although it looks cold, it’s surprisingly warm as long as you stay away from the door!
Ace – raw sweet things
I’ve had way too many treats recently, so I regretfully avoided Ace, the first shop (or do we call them stalls, in this case?), which sold fantastic-looking raw cookies and sweets. I plan to make a visit another day, because I really want to try the chocolate mint raw cookie. I came SOOO close to relenting and having a treat, but managed to stop myself, because my pants hardly fit me anymore!
Fred Gets – lunch
I headed to the main meal part – I think it’s called Fred Gets. They had deals on big salad meals and soups. The salads looked really good, but I was freezing and wanted something hot, so I was shown the menu.
All the food is vegan, but some dishes have non-vegan options, like adding a poached egg. I love that! It’s just the opposite of most places I eat where dishes need to be adapted for vegans.
I chose and paid for the corn fritters and moved down to the next stall, Coffee Supreme Roasters, which is where you order your hot drinks (Fred Gets has lots of cold pressed juices in fancy glass bottles). I ordered a soy hot chocolate and took a seat at one of the long benches to wait for my meal. It occurred to me later that, since they’re mostly vegan, they might have had other non-dairy milks to choose from. I’ll have to check that out when I go back.
It’s kind of unusual, because the place has a cafeteria feel to it because you’re moving from one counter to another choosing your food, but instead of making you stand and wait for your meal, they bring out water and deliver your drinks and meal to the table, like a café. I liked that. It felt like there were lots of different people looking after me.
Surprisingly excellent meal
I was so impressed with my meal! There were 3 good-sized fritters that were really hot and crisp and bursting with whole corn kernels. They fell apart a bit, but that was only because they were so light and crunchy, with none of the dense stodginess that fritters sometimes have.
The fritters were accompanied by a very generous dollop of guacamole – the lovely, fresh, chunky kind that you’d make at home. But best of all was the salad!
I’m not a big salad eater during the colder months, and I’d dismissed it as just a bit of a plate filler, until I tasted it…oh my goodness, I’ve already tried to copy it at home (not too successfully, so far).
This was a perfect wintery salad. I’m only guessing, but I think it had fennel, red cabbage, red onion, lots of fresh herbs and green chillies, in a dressing that I couldn’t identify. The taste was really earthy and strong – it was one of those rare combinations of unusual tastes that left me hopelessly trying to figure out what was in it. I haven’t done that since my visit to Maha in May (which I didn’t blog about, because I didn’t take any photos). Oh, and the hot chocolate was excellent too.
I had thought I’d find this place a bit pretentious with all its mysterious hipster ways, but it was great. The people were lovely and helpful and I’ll definitely go back. I have get a raw cookie and figure out what’s in that salad!
Even their website is mysterious. Enter if you dare!
Just in case you need help finding Like Minded Projects, here’s a map. If you’re coming from the north, jump off the 86 tram at Gertrude Street and walk down Smith Street towards Victoria Parade. It will be on your right, almost opposite Las Vegan/Vegan Style. Don’t look for a sign, just look for a huge glass shop front.