Sydney's "Vegan Mile" is set to add a meatless mecca, with a plant-based supermarket and a trilogy of meat-free dining venues to open under one roof before the end of the year.
Greens Super Market, plant-based sushi train Kimusabi, pasta bar Cousin Sal's and a teppanyaki venue Outlaw, are all under construction at 59-61 Enmore Road.
Sophia Stewart-Kasimba, part of the duo behind the sprawling development, already operate the 18-month-old plant-based Vandal Taqueria. She counts around nine plant-based venues already trading on the strip, which is more accurately a few hundred metres rather than a full vegan mile.
Stewart-Kasimba, who maintains the project will tick a number of firsts for the burgeoning plant-based sector, will import a new tapioca-based salmon substitute previously unavailable in Australia.
"The high price of plant-based products meant adding the eat-in options to let everything feed into each other and keep prices and wastage down," Stewart-Kasimba says.
What's driving Sydney's building boom for plant-based venues? Stewart-Kasimba points to figures that one in three Australians are consciously limiting meat consumption. Online searches for vegan recipes have doubled in the past five years, while analysis of Google data by website Chef's Pencil found Australia was the second-most popular country for veganism in 2020.
Brent Savage, the chef behind Sydney venues including Bentley and Monopole, was an early adopter of the movement at Potts Point venue Yellow.
"My partner is a vegetarian and there wasn't much on offer," the hatted chef said of his move towards a plant-based menu. But he's amazed by how it has grown. "In terms of volume, our Yellow sales have been our biggest seller on [home-delivery platform] Providoor," Savage says.
Sydney's plant-based heartland around Enmore and Newtown is starting to spawn new venues further afield. Lorenzo Petrachi, the former manager at Gigi Pizzeria, opened his own plant-based business, Fred Said, three months ago at 51 Shepherd Street, Marrickville.
"The original idea was a trailer parked in the middle of a warehouse with seating all around it. Then the lockdown hit, so we moved it outside for takeaway," Petrachi says.
The yellow trailer and its burger and focaccia menu has been a lockdown hit with locals. "Of course, it's 100 per cent plant-based," Petrachi says.