Although my exploration of the Western suburbs of Melbourne has been somewhat limited – I don’t think I can count staring out of the window on my commute to the city for work – I am slowly discovering more and more hidden gems. The latest is Reverence Hotel in Footscray; a venue known for their live music and Mexican food, with a menu that can please vegans, and the omnivorous among theirfriends, alike. Excitingly, around 80% of the original menu has the blessed VGO (vegan option) label, and this even includes the wine list.
Like every restaurant Olivia and I go to with more than a couple of vegan options, we got overexcited and definitely ordered too much food. Who can blame us? We’re talking burgers, pizzas, nachos, tacos… all vegan. Plus we needed something substantial to soak up the vegan wine, right?
We opted for the mock fish tacos; battered ‘fish’ fillets, which to my surprise tasted authentically like a fish finger, piled high with tangy red cabbage slaw and vegan tartare sauce, the mesquite popcorn mock chicken; a delicious and spicy cruelty-free alternative to it’s KFC counterpart, the jalapeño, coriander and cream cheese empanadas; crisp and golden on the outside with a melting filling, creamy with a kick from the chilli and the vibrant tomatillo salsa, and finally the Rev’s nachos with their housemate vegan ‘pork.’
Now, those nachos… although they certainly looked impressive, they were unfortunately the only dish I found to be disappointing. The vegan ‘pork’ was made from jackfruit, and although I liked the spices they had used to marinate it, it lacked the shredded ‘pork’ like appearance jackfruit is so renowned for, and was broken into about three or four large chunks throughout the nachos. It also felt as if it could have taken a little more time to cook down and soften, as the fibrous plant texture was still there, unlike some jackfruit I’ve tried that could easily be mistaken for the real thing. However, to put it into context, I’d still be impressed with those vegan nachos if I was served them at an average pub or restaurant. It was only in comparison to some other pretty outstanding food that they were a little lacking.
So, would I visit again? Hell yeah. There’s still a ton of things on the menu I’m itching to try, not to mention a few more bottles of their vegan wine. Whether you’re in the West or not, whether you’re vegan or not, it’s definitely worth taking a trip to Reverence Hotel for a night of flowing drinks, live music and some seriously tasty food to sink your teeth into.