Dinnertime at Red Robyn Cafe and Restaurant

Many cafés in Melbourne have been opening their doors to the dinnertime trade. One such location is Red Robyn Café and Restaurant in Camberwell.

Red Robyn Café and Restaurant is situated at a safe distance from the hustle and bustle of Camberwell’s lively junction district. As you enter, there’s a rustic and relaxed feel about the place. The kitchen and welcoming counter is within an arm’s reach from many of the tables, and the space is warmed by the splash of red across its back wall. Wire cages hang from the ceiling in corners and a Victorian fireplace yearns for the cooler months.

There is a natural feel here and rightly so. Red Robyn Café and Restaurant is 100% gluten free and also caters for other dietary requirements such as lactose intolerance, vegetarian and vegan. We’ve been here for breakfast once and the food, suited to our dietary needs, was sublime. When we heard that Red Robyn decided to open for dinner, we were thrilled; we booked a table as early as we could.

The menu is brief and suits Red Robyn’s short-order character. To start, we’re treated to freshly made sourdough bread with balsamic and olive oil to dip it in. Each course features only one dish that’s suited to our newfound vegan lifestyle so we decide to share an entrée and dessert, while we opt for a serve of the main each.

Our pickled vegetable medley arrives – a colourful plate of tangy zucchinis, sundried tomatoes and shavings of sweet potato crisps on top, all drizzled in pepita seed pesto and preserved lemon chutney. It’s a mellow way to start the meal as the last of the day’s sun pours through the windows and jazz wafts overhead.

Our mains follow casually – crispy cannelloni with a side of sweet potato crisps. The cannelloni have been stuffed with zucchini, mushroom and dukkah, fried lightly and resting on a rich shackshuka chutney. The crisps are light and moreish after being dipped into tomato chutney. This side usually comes with aioli and our thoughtful waitress was all too willing to ask the kitchen for an alternative for us.

By the end of mains we are completely stuffed, though we still have some spare room for dessert. It just so happens that our friendly waitress has some extra vegan treats for us to choose from – melting moments, hot jam doughnuts and vanilla slice. The benefits of dining at a café! Considering we’ve ordered just one berry cold crumble to share, we become greedy and order one of each extra treat. We pace ourselves to consume these treats, as we don’t normally get a chance to choose from so many vegan sweet options. Then, the crown of the meal emerges just as the last drop of doughnut jam is licked from my lip.

This cold berry crumble is a gorgeous bouquet of raspberry sorbet, topped with nuts and toasted cereals, blueberry puree, strawberries, blueberries, edible blooms and lavender. The lavender gives the dish its sweet kick and a sprig of citrus greenery brings this three-course meal to a summery end.

Visit Red Robyn Café and Restaurant for breakfast, lunch or dinner. 393 Camberwell Road Camberwell Victoria 3124. Phone (03) 9077 3763. Open Monday to Friday 7.30am to 3.00pm, Saturday and Sunday 8.30am to 3.30pm, dinner Friday from 6pm.

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