Tahina Bar, Fitzroy
Food: Red Falafel Pita Pocket, Red Shakshuka, White Shakshuka, Vegan Carrot Hotdog, Califlower papiot, roasted eggplant, roasted potatoes, hummus plate, smoothies, Vegan chocolate souffle, Vegan malabi
Tahina is taking a big risk with two cuisines which can both be hit and miss: Vegetarian food and street food. We’ve all been places where the Veggie food lacks flavour and the street food lacks quality, but luckily Tahina doesn’t fall victim to either of these, putting on an amazing veggie and vegan Israeli feast.
We were seated outside in their courtyard, which is just perfect. Inside the cafe there are some seats, but it is a little tight, and probably best for single diners or couples grabbing a quick bite. The back courtyard, decked out largely with wood, is spacious and fully covered. When we arrived it was fairly busy, but it still easily accommodated our group of 6. Despite being a bit of a miserable day weather-wise, you wouldn’t have a clue if you’re dining at Tahina. The walls help to keep it bright, and it was certainly snug enough to dine outside, even on a cool winter’s day.
We started our meal with some smoothies, trying the Salted Caramel, Green Goddess and Chocolate Wendy’s Frostie. All three were good. The Green Goddess had the edge for us, as it was such a crisp, fresh flavour. I usually avoid green smoothies as I always feel they taste like liquid spinach, but this one had a lovely sweetness to it. The salted caramel was enjoyable, just not quite as much of a flavour hit as the other two.
We then tried the falafel pitas, shakshuka and a range of sides. The shakshuka platters are excellent value. I had the red one and the gentle tomato based sauce with a nice touch of cheese in there was great for a winter’s day. Served with pita and a huge salad, it’s probably their most filling option on the menu too.
The falafel were perfect; great consistency and nice touch of chilli in there whilst also being a generous serve. There was falafel from the first bite to almost the last – you don’t get left with half a pita and a sad bit of salad. The tahini was well used – adding the needed moisture to the dish, but without allowing it to become soggy. These red falafel pita pockets were a real hit and would be my top pick!
As there was a large group of us, we got to share a good range of sides, from the creamy cauliflower to the melt-in-the-mouth herb-roast potatoes. I was taken by the richness of the flavours in these – something vegetarian places can often shy away from – and you really can taste those Middle Eastern influences throughout, especially in dishes such as the smoky eggplant.
We also shared the vegan carrot “hot dog” which was – a little unexpectedly – a whole, spiced cured carrot, adorned with a variety of toppings. While I enjoyed trying this and the flavours were great, I’m not sure I could eat a whole one without getting a bit bored of the carrot and I do think, despite how awesome it looks, the other dishes we tried were better. However, the sweet potato chips were fab and it’s definitely a unique dish to try, but maybe pair it with the red pita pocket and share, or add a couple of sides to keep things interesting.
We finished up with the Vegan Chocolate Souffle and Vegan Malabi. The desserts are adorable little pots of sweetness to finish off your meal. The souffle was quite creamy and was given that extra bit of sweetness from the cute halva fairy floss on top. The Malabi was a delicious smooth pudding with just a hint of rosewater and a nice sugary kick from the maple syrup – the perfect end to our fresh Israeli spread!
Address: 362 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy
Mon 11am to 9pm
Tue 11am to 9pm
Wed 11am to 9pm
Thu 11am to 9pm
Fri 11am to 9pm
Sat 11am to 9pm
Sun 11am to 9pm
Parking: Parking this close to Brunswick street can always be a bit tricky. If you’re happy to pay there’s plenty of parking on nearby Rose Street, otherwise, unless you get lucky expect a short walk (we got unlucky and had about a 10 minute walk).
Getting here on PT: You’re most convenient tram is the 11 (alight at Leicester Street) and you’ll be less than a minute away. It’s walkable from the 96 or 86 too.
Disclaimer: We dined as guests of Tahina Bar, Fitzroy. Reviews are honest and based on our own personal experiences. We cannot guarantee things at a cafe won’t change including, but not limited to, menu items and opening hours, so please confirm any details with the venue before visiting.