Monday, October 25, 2010

The joys of Thornbury

First to get the confusing part out of the way. Pearl Oyster is a cafe at 114 Miller St, Thornbury. Don't believe the 2011 Australian Veg Food Guide which tells you that it is at 238 High St, Thornbury. If you go to High St you won't find anything like this awesome cafe at that address.

Now, the back-story. Last weekend, I woke pretty early & felt like going somewhere different for Sunday breakfast. I already know that most of the cafes in the Australian Veg Food Guide don't open on Sunday mornings, but I double-checked anyway. The closest I could find was Pearl Oyster which opened at 12pm, which I thought was way too late for breakfast... right? D was fast asleep though, so I decided to read for a little while. I ended up reading for a long while, and before I knew it, it was 11.30am & suddenly Pearl Oyster was a possibility!

I had a feeling we had been there before & I wasn't wrong - when we pulled up out the front we both experienced deja vu (this was after I had established through lots of Internet searching that it was in fact on Miller St, not High St). I was excited though - I only had fond memories of enjoying the sunshine & excellent service in their back courtyard. This time the weather wasn't so sunny, so we were promptly seated inside & delivered perfect coffees.As other reviewers have pointed out, they have quite a few vegan options on the menu, including tofutti cream cheese. I took full advantage of this & ordered the Avocado, Cream Cheese, Tomato Chutney & Rocket Baguette, substituting Tofutti for the dairy variety.This really hit the spot - it was fresh, creamy & easy to eat. D chose some kind of omelette - I think it had spinach, chilli & crispy fried spring onions. He enjoyed it, which is the main thing.I really recommend Pearl Oyster - even though their opening hours are a little restricted (***EDIT*** - see hours below, clarified by Bella, one of the chefs - not so restricted after all!), it's worth the effort to get there. The service is friendly & fast & the food is fresh, delicious & a little bit different.

Here's something to get your mouth watering - we couldn't possibly visit Thornbury & not pay a visit to La Panella. We've been there a few times before, but because we live so far away it's been quite a while. That's probably a good thing, considering the range of calorie & fat-laden vegan desserts they have!

This time we picked up about 10 cold sausage rolls for D's lunch - $1.50 each (I will never get over how cheap this place is)! Plus a cream-filled eclair for my dessert on the way home.Look at that cream! This actually didn't taste that great - there wasn't enough sugar in the cream & it was a little bit bland.

And because I'm a sucker for icing, I also got a strawberry-jam filled donut for later. It only lasted until after dinner that night - happy to report that there was no shortage of sugar in this one!Pearl Oyster
114 Miller St, Thornbury
**EDITED** Mon,Wed-Sat 8am-4:30pm; Sun 9am-4pm

La Panella
465 High St, Thornbury
Mon-Fri 6am-6pm; Sat 6am-5pm; Sun 6am-4pm


  1. nice to meet you yesterday - I have pearl oyster on my list of places to go - and 12pm sounds a great time for us - we are not early birds

  2. Hey,
    I'm glad you enjoyed your food- I'm pretty sure I cooked it for you! Myself and one of the other chefs are vegan, so we always get excited when we get vegan orders :)
    Just wanted to let you know you've got the opening hours wrong (maybe they came from the Veg Food Guide...?)
    We are actually open:
    Mon,Wed,Thurs,Fri,Sat- 8am - 4:30
    Sun 9am - 4.
    Aaaaand, the kitchen closes at 3 everyday.
    Hopefully this means you can come visit more often! Come say hi to me if you come again!

  3. Hi Bella,
    Thanks for clarifying the opening hours - I did think they were a little strange! Yes, they're from the Veg Food guide. We'll definitely be back as often as we can - I love the courtyard on a sunny day - congratulations on running such a wonderful cafe with such delicious vegan food!

  4. Hi Johanna,
    It was great to meet everyone - I'm looking forward to many more potlucks to come!

    I can highly recommend Pearl Oyster & Bella has just clarified the opening hours - 9am-4pm on a Sunday.


  5. I need to go back there sometimes.

    (sorry to hijacking your blog, Rachel)
    @Bella , I like what I had last time! Would you guys make something with more protein, like...scrambled tofu or beans?

  6. @Toby, Did you have the scrambled tofu? Oh man, that stuff is awesome! I wish I could boast it was my creation, but it's sadly not.
    We try to run vegan/veganisable specials every week but our kitchen is so itty bitty it's quite difficult sometimes. Starting this Sat we're doing a chickpea/israeli couscous salad for the week so if you're down for some protein now is your chance! looks as if you changed La Panellas hours instead of P/Os.

  7. Oops - thanks Bella, will fix that now - that's what you get for doing things too late at night.

    Would love to see scrambled tofu on the menu/specials board - it's one of my favourites.