LAUNDY’S LION GOES VEGAN

In New on the menu by Clyde Mooney

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Laundy Hotels find itself on the cutting edge of dining in Australian pubs as the country’s first vegan pub bistro opens in the Red Lion.

Located in the inner west heartland of Rozelle, within cooee of dozens of sophisticated modern dining offerings, the Laundy’s Red Lion has seen a typical array of foodservice solutions, both by contractors and done in-house.

A regular patron and professional singer, Bhavani Baumann had been utilising the upstairs space for some time for her women’s choir. Bringing her partner chef Sacha Joannou for a motivational talk to the group prompted a conversation as to what could be done with the currently vacant upstairs kitchen.

“Recently in Sydney, even just in the last year, vegan sales have gotten a lot bigger, and there are now a lot of all-vegan outlets,” Baumann told PubTIC.

“Sydney is apparently the vegan capital of Australia. Melbourne has a lot of places with vegan items, but not the whole venue.

“A lot of pubs are very meat-based, and we definitely thought the market opportunity is amazing.

“I did a lot of market research looking into demand. We put the idea on forums to see if people would be interested in a vegan pub. The response was overwhelming, so we thought we would give it a go.

“We’re aiming at vegans, but also the growing number of people just cutting down on meat, who may want one or two meals a week maybe without meat.

“I find it exciting to be involved with the vegan movement. Greater demand creates products, and brings prices down. There are so many great vegan options available now.”

Laundy Group reports they “couldn’t resist” Baumann’s enthusiasm for the concept, and agreed to the creation of the Green Lion vegan restaurant upstairs.

“It wasn’t something we were looking for,” admits Robyn Gumbley, of Laundy Hotels.

“But we understand the appeal of healthy food, and think it’s a really good fit for the area. Given Bhavani’s enthusiasm and the kind of people in the inner west, we thought it could be worth having a go.”

The Green Lion's Green Mac & fries

The Green Lion’s Green Mac & fries

The Green Lion will open on Saturday, 17 September, with what’s set to be a gilded launch event. The food samplers will be on the house, but donation buckets and raffles held on the night will support animal welfare charity Voiceless.

‘We want to be a local for families, that’s why at the launch we’re handing out free tasters, so people can be amazed at how good vegan food can taste. In the future we’ll do fake meat trays!

“We’d like it to be a place people like to hang out.”

Launch night will see vegan offerings of: mini cheeseburgers, fishless fish tacos, fries ‘loaded’ with guacamole or gravy, fake pepperoni pizza, and amazing dairy-free ice cream from co-sponsor of the event, Over the Moo.

Bhavani Baumann and Sacha Joannou

Bhavani Baumann and Sacha Joannou