New Vegan Menu Items at Cafe Essen, Civic – Updated 26 June 2017

 Cafe Essen

Vegan Menu Update!

Original post

At Cafe Essen located at 6 Garema pl in Civic, we now have a new range of vegan menu item’s:

  • Vegan Sweet Potato & Pumpkin Stack.
  • Vegan Stuffed Zucchini.
  • Pumpkin & Sweet Potato Salad
  • Spicy Tofu & Brown Rice Salad

And the Soups of the day including: 

  • Lentil
  • Green vegetable
  • Tomato & Basil.
    Come feast your eyes on our new delight’s!

Review By Lisa Green (2016)

Location:  Shop 5 6 Garema Pl, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory

Cafe Essen is somewhat of a Canberra institution located between Garema Place and Bunda Street in Civic. With a vast loose leaf tea selection, different coffee roasts to choose from and a pretty good hot chocolate it’s a great spot to catch up with others.

There are a range of clearly marked vegan options on the menu as well as the specials board. Meals include a vegan mexi-burger (kidney bean and corn chip patty with guacamole, jalapeno and vegan aoli in a bun) and a vegan breakfast bagel (baked beans, scrambled tofu, spinach, roasted capsicum and pepitas over a toasted bagel). There are also a number of items that can be made vegan or may be vegan, such as the bruschetta, curry, various salads and the soup of the day.

For a sweet treat Cafe Essen currently stock vegan cupcakes from Crafted and also have dairy-free smoothies that are vegan.

Smiths Alternative Cafe & Bar, Civic (Updated Menu 9 June 2017)

Smiths Alternative

Be sure to specify the vegan chai

Original Post by Sarah Michelle Thomson (21 June 2017)

Smith’s Alternative will now be proudly stocking RealChai vegan chai powder! Meaning you can absolutely come in for a 100% vegan chai latte with soy or almond milk ❤️❤️

Original Post by Sarah Michelle Thomson (9 June 2017)

Newwwwww things at Smiths! Some new breakfast options, garlic bread (subject to availability because I literally eat it by the kilo) and a loaded sweet potato 😍 hope to see you soon!! ❤️

Original Post By Erin McKay, Manager, Smith’s Alternative Cafe and Bar

Hi everyone! If you haven’t already, you should come by Smiths Alternative, we are baking in the cafe, and have LOTS of vegan goodies! 🙂 we use Bonsoy in our coffees, and are looking for any and all criticisms and advice on what you’re looking for 🙂 we’re open 7am til late, so come check us out! xo

At the moment we’ve got wraps and sandwiches, I use nuttelex, and we will be working on expanding a bit more, but it’s mostly baked goods.  The chocolate tart in the top right is gluten free as well as vegan :).Smiths Alternative

The Fish Shack, Civic (Vegan-Friendly)

The Fish Shack

Location:  Petrie Plaza. off Bunda Street.

It came as a surprise to us to discover that The Fish Shack located in Petrie Plaza off Bunda Street has a well populated Vegan menu!  You can go for the authentic beer-battered Vegan fish and chips or you can opt for the healthier grilled version.  Or, if you want to try both, you can ask for 3 pieces of grilled and three pieces of beer-battered Vegan fish and chips.   Their Vegan Laksa is very spicy, filling and the perfect thing for a chilly day though it is a very good idea to ask for mild if you aren’t good at handling heat.  It is filled with delicious laksa broth, noodles, beansprouts, sweet potato, potato, tofu and some grilled Vegan fish so it is best to eat it by itself.  If you’re looking for a quick bite to eat, go for the beer-battered Vegan Fish Burger :).

Vegan Menu Originally Posted by Ana Brandon



If you are on a computer, click here to get the latest Vegan ACT facebook group goss on The Fish Shack. 

Coffee Lab, Civic (Vegan-Friendly)

Coffee Lab

Compiled by Rowena

Although I’ve not yet been, there seems to be quite a bit of buzz about Coffee Lab on the Vegan ACT facebook group so I decided to compile the comments.  See end for menu :).

Maddie Haslam:  Went to coffee lab in the city today and was really impressed with all the vegan options! I had the oats something that has the strawberry purée and oh my gosh, it was soooo yummy!!! 😍😍 I highly recommend their food and coffee! The staff were super lovely aswell!!  No photo because I gobbled it up too fast!!

Halcyon Window:  Hey guys. If you haven’t already then go check out Coffee Lab in the city. Great coffee, they use Bonsoy, I didn’t ask about other Mylks but they used almond milk in my oats (freaking amazing btw) so possibly have it for coffee too [Confirmed]. They have 5 vegan options in the menu. I’m having the oats now and its delicious!!  End rant<3

Gabb Carr:  Julian and I went to Coffee Lab for a late breakfast this morning. Super delicious!  It’s near the Tax Office on Narellan St in Civic.  I can’t remember the names of the dishes, but the mushroom one [The First Frost] was my fave (definitely use the lemon with it, that acidity helps cut through mushrooms a little and make it 100X better). And we had a sesame seed crusted avocado one (that was replacing the ‘Healthy something something’ dish) was awesome with a kick of chilli and splash of lime. Fantastic coffee plus super friendly and helpful staff. They make you feel like a regular even if you’ve never been before! Highly recommended!

Amy Victoria‎:  Hi all. Thanks to whoever posted with the coffee lab’s menu. I had lunch there and it was fantastic! So many vegan options, great coffee, good service and no issues with breastfeeding. Oh and very comfy lounge seating which was great for the latter (I love you sweet bones but those chairs are ouchy). Anyway highly recommend if you’re in civic and don’t have time to get to sweet bones 😊’

If you are on a computer, click here to see the latest goss about Coffee Lab on the Vegan ACT Group.

Menu (from photo taken by Steph Gorman)

They have some always vegan and some ‘vegan options’.   I suggest you ask for avocado or mushrooms instead of the animal products rather than leaving them off as you are paying for a missing ingredient and if enough people ask for it, they may decide to make that menu item always Vegan.

All Day Breakfast:

  • Toast served with jam, vegemite or peanut butter
  • Oats Overboard (always Vegan):  Chia, oats & sultanas soaked in almond milk & blueberry juice served with strawberries, stone fruit salsa, flaked almonds and passion fruit
  • Heaps Healthy (ask for Vegan):  Hummus stuffed piquilos peppers, house pickles, alfalfa, spices, lemon and EVO
  • The First Frost (ask for Vegan):  Roast field mushroom topped with sauteed wild mushrooms, rosemary, thyme & garlic on multigrain toast with zucchini ribbons, alfalfa & lemon
  • Lil Italy (ask for Vegan):  Confit garilc smashed into multigrain toast with lightly pickled hairloom cherry tomatoes, torn basil and garlic chips


  • Stoners Delight (always Vegan):  Caramelised stone fruit, heirloom tomatoes, collard greens, spanish onion, fresh corn, charred bread, cervil & cashew cream
  • Rainbow Salad (ask for Vegan):  Cherry tomatoes, red grapes, quinoa, corn, pepitas, basil, onion, spinach and pink goddess dressing

The Food Co-op Shop, Civic + Review – January, 2016

foodco-opCanberra’s not-for-profit food co-op.  Has lots of organic and sustainable Vegan ingredients and foods (such as Funky Pies in the frozen section and Sprout and Kernel Vegan Cheese).  They also have a cafe which sells organic, fair-trade coffee and cakes.  Bring your own containers and weigh them before you fill them up with goodies (so the weight of the container can be subtracted at the checkout).

Review by Gareth Ballard – 28 January 2016

I went to the Food Co – op Shop (formerley the ANU Food Co-op) to get lunch for the first time a while ago. They are a non profit Co – op with a café. They have a wide range of unpackaged organic foods to choose from and a select range of packaged foods (frozen and unfrozen) and drinks (which are all discounted if you become a member, check out the link below for more info) Some of the items of most interest to a vegan would be the range of cheeses, including some by Sprout and Kernel as well as yoghurts etc. The setting is quite casual in a really good way. The café also does breakfast from 8 until 11:30 in the morning and at the moment the vegan options are homemade porrige and museli (with a gluten free option) served with a selection of non-dairy milks. They do lunch from 12 till 2 in the arvo. They will serve one type of meal each lunch (which is ALWAYS vegan) and on Wednesdays and Fridays when they have Peter doing the cooking an option of spicy and not spicy. On the day that I went there was a 2 potato with black lentil stew served with rice. It was a bit like a chilli. Really great simple flavours with that nourishing comfort food factor. I loved it and was struggling to finish the bowl due to how hearty it was. I had a chat with the cook and he said that they (obviously when you think about it) just grab ingredients from the shelves that need to be used in the next few days, so the main ingredients were seasonal organic food. I really like a bit of spice and ordered the spicy which was at the limit for my tastes and the cook said that he usually puts a bit more spice in! There is some chilli powder to add to the non spicy if you’d prefer to choose exactly how spicy it gets, which I’m definitely doing next time. They can also do a funky pie for you (If you haven’t had one STOP right now and go get one!), and have a selection of treats from Veganarchy and Raw Capers. The lunches cost $5 for Food Co – op members / students and $7 for everyone else, which, with filling food that tastes as good as this, is damn hard value to beat. I’ll certainly be returning soon, I’ll just have to remember to have a small breakfast to leave as much room as possible!

The Food Co-op Shop is located at 3 Kingsley Street on the ground floor of the Lena Karmel Unilodge building. Their website is which is really worth checking out for all their events and the information on becoming a member (which has loads of benefits!)

Sonja Barfoed:  Community-based, non-profit cooperative with bring-your-own-container options. Also sweets, vegan cheeses, unusual vegetables and fruit. Similar to As Nature Intended and Mountain Creek in that there’s an in-store café (the lunches are great value and generally vegan).  It has been around for ages, I don’t remember when it was in the Union building, but before the current bricks-and-mortar, it was in a transportable building near the Law Courts, and prior to that, a different transportable near the current site.  Parking: There is a loading zone out the front, but it’s more polite & good karma to park in the proper spots. There is a useful map on the Co-op’s website.  Closest gallery: Drill Hall Gallery

Akiba, Civic – Small Separate Vegan Menu

Akiba CanberraRecommended by Jean Davies:  “Akiba is great- modern Asian fusion with small separate vegan menu.”

Where: 40 Bunda St, Canberra ACT 2601

The said Vegan menu:

Snacks and Street Food:  josper roasted edamame, chilli, lemon ($4)
shiitake & water chestnut dumplings, red vinegar, chilli oil ($10 for 4pcs)

Others:  wok blasted asian mushrooms, tofu, cashews    (vegan on request) ($15)
soba noodle salad, bamboo shoots, yellow bean, sweet & sour ($12)
steamed rice ($7)

We are happy to prepare a vegan fried rice on request.

Extra Note by Sonja Barfoed:  Something that I found a bit tricky was that if you don’t book, they will seat you at the raw bar which has a lot of fish cooking and octopi on ice. I had the mushroom dish which was really good. At this stage there are no vegan desserts – be careful as they may try and recommend the tofu cheescake but it is bonded with the non-vegan stuff.


If you are on a computer, click here to check out the latest goss about AKIBA on the Vegan ACT facebook group.

Gelatissimo, Belconnen, Civic and Manuka (9 Vegan Flavours)

Gelatissimo Belconnen


  • Belconnen Shop 128A, Top Floor Westfield Shopping Centre, Benjamin Way, Belconnen ACT 2617 – (02) 6251 7780
  • Canberra Civic Square Shop Centre, Kiosk K11, 148 Bunda Street, Canberra ACT 2601 – (02) 6248 8171
  • Manuka Manuka Terrace Shop T5 & T6A, 18 Flinders Way, Manuka ACT 2603 – (02) 6162 1165

Gelatissimo is a gelato franchise that servies 9 dairy-free sorbets: Blood Orange, Choc Sorbet (Amazing!), Forest Berries, Lemon, Lime, Mango, Passion-Fruit, Raspberry and Strawberry

“The Gelatissimo sorbet range is a refreshing and flavour-packed alternative to the dairy range. Every one of our sorbets are 100% fat and dairy-free, not to mention smooth and simply irresistable!”