Before I went vegan, I loved going out for breakfast. So much so that whenever I went to diners that offered breakfast after 11am, I would usually choose a morning meal no matter the time of day. I almost always ordered french toast, but sometimes pancakes or waffles. Generally sweet things!
Upon going vegan, I had to shift my breakfast-excursions to savoury. In small diners I would order toast or a bagel with home fries and whatever veggie was around, and then usually construct myself a vegan breakfast sandwich. As I was a university student, these breakfast-excursions usually involved a hangover, and the greasy starches quite suited the circumstances, perhaps in a way that sweet breakfast would not.
I still love going out for breakfast, but in Townsville the options are pretty limited. When we do go out, I almost always have to put together a plate of sides - toast, baked beans, mushrooms (if they're not cooked in butter), spinach or avocado. It's pretty satisfying usually. The last time I went out for breakfast, though, was with Andy and some friends, and we didn't realise it was Father's Day until we were out. Our first few attempts were thwarted by completely booked-out cafes. We eventually found a spot at one, I tried to order the vegetarian breakfast with no eggs but was told that customers are not allowed to go off-script. So I ordered the usual sides, but when the baked beans came out they had sausage mixed in. So I was a bit traumatised, and we hadn't been out for breakfast since.
Fast forward to a few days ago. On a local food-related Facebook groups, there was a discussion about vegan breakfasts that brought a new(?) cafe called relish. to my attention. The owner said she had vegan granola, oats, and the plate-of-sides. I clicked "Like" on their page, and put the information away for the future.
The next day, relish. posted this on their Facebook page.
This is fairly revolutionary. Though Townsville is a city of 200,000 or so, the vegan options here are more limited than you would expect. Andy's small hometown of 5,000 in southern NSW has more vegan options. As you can imagine, it is mighty exciting to see a cafe write the word vegan anywhere on a menu, and to advertise it so blatantly. So I mentioned it to Andy and said "Let's go!!". And he said (surprisingly), "Okay, how bout tomorrow?".
And so, this morning, vegan waffles were had.
They came with two sides, so I got the mushrooms and baked beans. Perhaps not the most typical accompaniments to sweet waffles, but I didn't feel like waffles + toast. Everything was good! The mushrooms tasted a touch like vinegar, which is a flavour I love but rarely add to mushrooms when we make them. The baked beans were sweeter and more barbequey than most Aussie breakfast baked beans I've had. And the waffles were crunchy and went nicely with the berries & pomegranate syrup I ordered with them. Relish, if you read this, you should absolutely make them a permanent menu item! And/or veganise those cornmeal pancakes, because I would totally be all over that.
I will definitely come back here - in fact, when it's a bit cooler, it will be a lovely bike ride destination. I noticed bike parking around the side. Most of the tables are outside, and there are plenty of them. There was a cute but really cheeky and persistent sparrow who hung out on our table and really had no fear of humans. They have, in the style of American diners, bottomless drip coffee for $4 with any meal. It's a tad pricey, but I thought it was good value for money (but we almost never go out to eat, so maybe in comparison to other places it's not even pricey?). Loads of gluten free options.
Relish. also has two vegan-isable burgers on their lunch menu, but who needs lunch when they have all-day breakfast with vegan waffles?!
2 Kingsway Place
Next door to Townsville Bulletin office on Flinders St West (across from Fletcher St)
Monday & Tuesday 6.30am - 2.30pm; Wednesday - Friday 6.30am - 3.30pm; Weekends & Holidays 7.30am - 3pm