15th June - Dinner from Mantra Lounge

How do you choose where to eat? Do you just go for a wander and pick as you go? Or do you plan like me? I know where I'm going, their details (I do get lost sometimes), exactly what I'm going to order and how much it's going to cost. I'm a type A person who has extreme attention to detail, and you want me to plan your event. I have only met one other girl who's like me in that aspect.

Today I didn't know what I was going to have for lunch, just a vague idea and 20% chance of selecting the right one. It's ok, I'm open to trying new things, especially if there's no risk of eating pork. A vegan resturant was where we were headed. Chosen because it was on my list and near the dentist.

Mantra Lounge specializes in "delicious, wholesome cuisine that doesn’t cost the earth" and believes that "vegan cuisine need not be expensive or exclusive". They opened about 9mths ago and is voted the best value vegan resturant in Melbourne, my mother would eat here. And to her everything is unhealthy and expensive. She is almost impossible to please.

My perception on vegan food is it sounds healthy, and very hipster, but also expensive, hard to find and I love salmon and chicken too much. But Lucy Bunny is a vegan, except when I feed her cake. :P

As well as being a restaurant they run workshops, cooking classes things to de-stress. 

Here you can get a 3-course meal for just $8. There aren't that many places that you can get cheap, good, filling food for under $10 (McD doesn't count). Located near Melb Uni (where le beau went) and near the last stop on the Melb Uni Tram, the location is great. And they get a mix of students and the suits. 

It smells nice in here, a green smell, not grass or anything, perhaps a scent that temple have, it reminds me of Crossways. There's plenty of seats, outside, inside and upstairs too. And they do take-away.

*Click to Enlarge*

The menu's writen on the blackboard wall framed in neon frames - I like it! Seemingly simple, to me it was complex. I need picture of what the meal options are, because I ordered the wrong thing... 

We ordered two meals and a drink. The first meal has pasta/lentil/salad (Pumpkin & Lentil Tagine on Pasta) and a mango slice for $12 - I think. It comes with the slice of the day, in this case banana, but you can pay $2 for an upgrade. *Now I'm confused, the meal is $8 and I could have bought the mango slice for $4, paid the same price and get both slices?*

The second set was meant to be lasagna, but we got that wrong. It was lots of lentils, served with that side salad, corn chips, and the daily slice (banana). That set was $8. Upgrade combo to include drink $10. 

I'm not tall enough to get this picture, I wanted to included the signs on top that I can only see from a distance... We ordered the mango (lassi) lala, which is mango lassi but without the yoghurt, and a whole lot of fruit juices, but with a thicker consistency. Between milk and yoghurt. Delicious still! 

Dessert Options

Downstairs, one picture is not mine. 

Mango Lala (aka lassi but vegan) $3

The price was fantastic and so we ordered dinner/a late lunch for tonight  for lunch for tomorrow. I am not loving those cardboard takeaway continers when the food is wet. Within an hour it was wet... So glad they had plastic bags! 

'Pumpkin & Lentil Tagine on Pasta' was what I had for dinner. It was quite good, with flavours though I felt it was lacking something. More sauce. I'd also like to add wagu beef :P The food on the plate and cardboard box are the same, but I ate some between the two pictures...

Breakfast the next day was 'Lentil Tagine with Salad & Corn Chips', well one corn chips at that point :P But there was a bit more than a handful that came with the meal. The lentils was meh, it needs something, more flavour.

Someone tricked me into eating a block of softened butter...

The mango cheesecake was fascinating. With the colour and texture of softened butter, it was so creamy! There was a light mango taste, but it wasn't sweet enough for me. The texture I don't like because I think I'm eating a block of softened butter. Even though being vegan it has no butter or cream, maybe it contains oil? We were going to ask what's in it but forgot, twice. 

Friday 19th - Dinner

Jas had the green curry with rice meal and a lemonade-like drink. Which he said felt like an entree and reminded him of a lentil soup he makes. Unlike most people I know he loves to cook, and one assumes he's a good cook, therefore the lentil/baked bean but green, curry was good. 

He also had the most fasniating mango slice that is really a block of softened butter in disguise. Which he liked - but note that he does eat softened butter. 

This time we got the order right! I ordered the $12 meal, $10 for the vegan lasanga set and then a $2 upgrade to add the awesome mango lala drink.

The lassage was good, I didn't really miss the cheese, what I missed was the beef :P Add beef lassage to my to eat list. We shall add Pellegrini's to the list before the end of July.

Slice was the day was still banana. Did it change daily? Jas liked the faux chocolate on top. The banana cake good, but nothing amazing. Wouldn't buy on its own. 

I don't get it, but this is one of Jas's favourite quotes. 

Service was fast and friendly both times, I think the only lady there is also the manager?  

Do we recommend this place? Yes! But note they close at 8pm, so prepare yourself for an early dinner. Though as a photographer lunch is idea, for lighting. I'm adding Mantra Lounge as a place to try once on my list of recommendations.

Will we be back? No, sorry we love our meat too much. But if I was in the area I'd stop by for the mango lassi. Also will be back if we hear more good things about the desserts. 

Their website is as beautiful as the food and place. This is somewhere I'd take a date. 

They run cooking classes! And they're cheap too! Date Night Idea. On Mondays 6-8pm they have, well, the cooking classes for $20 which includes the recipes and dinner (what you made I assume?). Each week is a different dish, which you can find here

P.S. No minimum on eftpos. 

Have you ever been to Mantra Lounge or know of any good & cheap places?

Would you eat a block of softened butter?

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