On a leafy strip of shops at the base of Arthurs Seat, Wombat is a 100% vegan café serving up wholesome fare for the plant-curious.
The café is so-called after the rambling mountain bike tracks located in the national park opposite the store. The Hillview Community Reserve is a popular spot for adventure-seekers and families, boasting an intricate web of trails, a hidden pump track, an expansive dog park and BBQ facilities overlooking the picturesque lake.
Wander across the road to the bright white café, and you’ll be greeted with sleek concrete floors, timber tables, and an underlit bar installed during their recent renovation. A stack of plants, mint green ceramics and a giant mural add vibrant colour to the space, with customers spilling out onto outdoor picnic tables in the summer months. A bustling open kitchen means you can see your meals in progress – and smell the vegan banana bread as it’s pulled fresh from the oven.
Rather than offering a standard set menu, the kitchen produces daily specials sprawled on a giant blackboard each morning. Depending on the day, you might tuck into a stack of plant-based pancakes with maple syrup and coconut ice cream, a tofu poke bowl with sticky rice and shredded veg, or smashed avocado served with slow-roasted cherry tomatoes and cashew feta. The rotating menu is designed to appeal to non-vegans too, with familiar dishes such as plant-based egg and bacon muffins and vegan nachos offering an easy entry point.
Beans are roasted around the corner by Little Rebel Coffee Roasters, and there’s an impressive selection of alternative mylks on offer. If you’re after an extra dose of well-being, try the house-made Mushroom Brew – made with an organic blend of medicinal mushrooms, carob, and cacao power – or a freshly brewed chai by Shanti Soulfoods.
Those dropping in for a spot of takeaway will find a display cabinet loaded with salads, wraps, breakfast puddings, and healthy house-made treats ready to grab and go. The smoothie menu pays homage to the trails opposite and is perfect for refuelling post-ride – try the Eastlink, High Roller or Pins & Needles. Their signature Wombat Smoothie – made with banana, cacao, dates and almond mylk – is particularly popular, as are the choc-coated Wombat Balls and the moreish Snickers Slice.
Frosty fridges are filled with fresh-pressed juices, coconut water and locally-made kombucha , and you can browse a neat retail section of vegan cookbooks, pantry staples and locally-made gifts as you wait.
Though the space fills up quickly on weekends with mountain-bikers, hikers, and holiday-makers, a strong local presence remains. The cafe has built a thriving community as committed to the tasty, health-conscious fare as they are to the cruelty-free ethos.
Wombat Café opens at 8 am, 7 days a week.