I’m lucky enough to work in the neighbourhood of Kokako, a vegetarian café run by the people who roast Kokako coffee. I bought lunch there today: a falafel wrap and a piece of vegan chocolate cake, heavily frosted.
I used to buy lunch at Kokako most days, but have been going a little less frequently lately. There used to be lots of takeaway vegan options all the time – salads, sandwiches & wraps, shepherds pie, little artichoke and tomato tarts, sweet slices and banana bread… so many good things. Lately pretty much everything includes cheese, there are no vegan labels on things, staff don’t always know what’s in things, and some days there aren’t any vegan takeaway options at all.
Kokako isn’t a vegetarian business and doesn’t advertise itself as such. All the food in its Parnell café is vegetarian, but their catering business includes organic meat. Because the café is vegetarian for brand rather than ethics, veganism is seen as a minority special dietary requirement rather than something you would naturally cater for. This is fine, I don’t begrudge them making whatever business decisions they feel like making, but I do get a bit nostalgic about how vegan-friendly it used to be.
Having said that, there are always some vegan things to eat if you have time to sit down. Highlights include two kinds of tofu scramble on the brunch menu, and a choice of soy or rice milk in your (always excellent, organic, fair trade) coffee.
Kokako is at 492 Parnell Road, near the intersection of Ayr St and Domain Drive.