As someone who has only been in Melbourne for 7 months, I don’t quite have the same passion towards The Pancake Parlour as those who have grown up here. In fact, due to it not having any vegan options, it was somewhere I’d only ever given a courteous glance towards. But this all changed a few months ago when they revealed that they would be releasing a brand new vegan menu. I’ve not seen the vegan community so excited for something in ages.
As they began to send out teasers of what they would be releasing, glee soon turned to disappointment, as people begun to realise that there didn’t seem to be any pancake options at all, and it was in fact all healthy food. As people rightly pointed out, you don’t go to The Pancake Parlour for something healthy. You go to indulge.
Thankfully, it seems that unlike most other establishments, The Pancake Parlour were listening, and they added multiple ‘unhealthy’ options to the menu to balance out the healthy ones.
Myself and Sam were in fact lucky enough to be invited to the VIP launch of the new menu, two days before its official release. Here, we got to indulge in all of the new menu items before they were released to the world, and with that, I’ve written a review on everything to expect when you head down to enjoy the delicious new vegan offerings.
But first, lets give you the low-down on how it’s going to work. All of the crepes are to cooked in advance in their own separate pans, to avoid any cross contamination with things like steak. When it comes to being served, they’ll be re-heated. It’s important to note that they are being re-heated on the same area as the other pancakes (although kept separately). This does mean there could be the potential for cross-contamination in terms of butter etc., from the other pancakes, but this isn’t an all vegan restaurant, and so this is always going to be likely. They said they’ll do their best to avoid it, but can’t guarantee. I personally think this is completely fair, and if you want to avoid cross contamination completely, then really your only option is an all-vegan establishment.
The new vegan menu is being launched Friday 7th April at the Melbourne Central store only. It will then be rolled out to all of the other stores in the coming weeks.
When we went we also got to meet Serge, Director of Food and Beverage, and I was so impressed with just how invested he is. Nothing goes on the menu without extensive testing, and if it’s not 100% right, then it won’t be put out. I found it inspiring to see someone who really cared and who wanted to offer things everyone would enjoy.
And you know what else is great? They’re working on more recipes and are eager to expand this menu. So show your support, get down there, and you’ll soon see the menu grow!
Super Green Power Smoothie – $9.50
The first thing we got to try was their new green smoothie. Made up of kale, spinach, cucumber, banana, vanilla vegan protein power and coconut water, it is certainly an option for the health conscious among us. It was surprisingly tasty, but had a strong cucumber taste; one which I always automatically link to healthiness. It’s not something I personally would choose, but its luscious green colour is sure to be a big win for those green smoothie lovers amongst us.
Berry Power Smoothie – $9.50
This was more to my taste, as I have a blueberry smoothie every morning. It’s made from blueberry, banana, vanilla vegan protein powder and coconut milk. It was really thick and rich with a delicious berry flavour, and unlike some protein powders, you didn’t taste this one at all. It reminded me of a healthy milkshake, so if you want to up your fruit take as well as enjoying a pancake, then this is a good option.
Vegan Swiss Mountain Malt – $11.20
I’d seen posts from people about the ‘famous’ malt drink, so I was excited to find out that they were releasing a vegan version. I had no idea what to expect but it was seriously good. Lovely and chocolately (perfect for me), and very sweet, it was fab. Possibly on the pricy side for a drink though. Be warned, it’s a big portion, so don’t end up filling up on the drink and having no room for pancakes.
Superfood Salad – $15.90 + $4 for vegan chickpea tuna
The words superfood and salad usually put me off an item. Don’t get me wrong, I love being healthy, but if I’m eating out, it’s not something I’d normally choose, and so I approached this one with trepidation. But actually, it was surprisingly good! With a layer of hummus at the bottom (a vegan dream) and topped with kale, quinoa, lentils, black beans, corn, mixed lettuce, mixed vegetables and dressed with a lemon infused olive oil, it’s a great healthy option (I was also told it was under 500 calories, if you’re watching what you eat). To top if off, you can choose your own protein. Halloumi or chicken for the non-vegans, or a fantastic chickpea tuna for the vegans (as seen in the photo). It’s great to see a mainstream business experimenting with things like this, and the chickpea tuna was definitely the best part.
Plantcrepes with Vegan Ice Cream – $12.60
So, onto the pancakes! The first one is two simple crepes that comes with vegan soy ice cream. The crepe is delicious and light, and there’s certainly nothing about it that would make non-vegans turn up their noses. Ours also came with a pot of real organic maple syrup, which they have had imported from Canada, which we were told you would have to pay extra for (they still have the complimentary maple-flavoured syrup on all tables though), but I’d highly recommend it because it’s super sweet and helps make it more exciting.
Bavarian Apple Plantcrepe – $15.90
If you’re a fan of apple pie, then this one is for you. The same crepe as the last one, but this time filled with spiced apples, dusted with cinnamon, and served with vegan vanilla soy ice cream. This was probably my least favourite (not that I didn’t enjoy it). Don’t get me wrong, the pancakes were great, but I found the apples slightly lacking in sweetness. Then again, I’m not the biggest fan of apple pie, so this is probably why.
Jamaican Banana Plantcrepe – $15.90
The same crepe again as the others, but filled with fresh bananas grilled in vegetable oil, dusted with cinnamon and served with vegan vanilla soy ice cream and maple syrup (again, we were told you’d have to pay extra for this, but I’d recommend it). I think the name is a tad misleading with this one. It’s basically a banana pancake, so I’m not sure what makes it Jamaican; possibly the fact the banana is grilled? That being said, if your favourite fruit is banana, this is a great one.
Strawberry Plantcrepe – $16.90
This one was Sam’s favourite and my second favourite. A crepe filled with fresh strawberries and organic strawberry jam, dusted with icing sugar and served with vegan vanilla soy ice cream. I love strawberries on pancakes, and had never considered including jam, but this is definitely what I’m doing from now on. It suited my sweet tooth perfectly, and as strawberries are one of my favourite fruits, it would have been difficult to disappoint.
Chocnana Crunch Plantcrepe – $15.90
By far, this is the best one. A mix of crunchy chocolate peanut butter and raw banana, dusted with cinnamon and served with vegan vanilla soy ice cream. I could live off this. Chocolate + peanut butter + banana is always going to be a winner in my eyes. This is actually the first time peanut butter has been on The Pancake Parlour menu, and I’m wondering why they took so long. This one will have omnis clambering to try it, and I’m already waiting for when I can next go back and have it again.
Overall, I’m really impressed with what The Pancake Parlour has to offer. The crepes are delicious (although I do think most of them you could make at home; head on over to my crepe recipe if you’re feeling inspired) and it’s so great to see them so open to trying new things. My only criticism is that they all look the same. It was virtually impossible to take any good photos; a few strawberries on top of a drizzle of chocolate wouldn’t go amiss, and would help to take them to the next level. We all know we eat with out eyes, so I’d like to see them make them look more interesting.
With that, the only thing left to say, is get down to The Pancake Parlour and give it a try for yourself! I’m looking forward to seeing what they bring out next.