Admiral Cheng Ho- House of Vegan and The Gluten-Free Crazy Jim

I have a running tradition of getting birthday pancakes at Monk Bodhi Dharma. This coffee house south of the city is famous for its seriously good coffee (rated #11 on Melbourne's Beanhunter!) and its vegetarian and vegan food. It's not only a local favourite, it is an institution of a gathering place for Melbournian vegetarian and vegan foodies to pig out. MBD is such a sought-after brunch place, it needed to open a second location. Thus came to being, on Melbourne's north-side: Admiral Cheng-Ho.

Its owners know what works for the north-burb cultural crowd and bring much of the charm that is reminiscent of its beloved big brother to Admiral Cheng-Ho. The coffee house is outfitted with timbre communal tables, long wooden planks for window-facing dining and accented light fixtures. The ambiance is as nice as its house-brewed chai-latte; smooth, comforting and done just right. 

Admiral Cheng-Ho offers a full-on vegetarian menu with vegan and gluten-free options. My food buddies and I went to work: three orders of Northside French Toast, Avoca Ho, Acai Bowl and one Crazy Jim.

Desert for breakfast anyone? This is the vegan Northside French Toast with raw vanilla cashew cream, seasonal fruits and 
raw chocolate sauce.
The Northside French Toast was indisputably popular for our group, and truth to be told, I had every intention of ordering the gluten-free version myself. Our server, however, had let me know her favourite dish being the Crazy Jim. She was stylistically dressed with an upbeat attitude- I figured I couldn't go wrong with going by the opinions of someone like her.

The Crazy Jim. A gluten-free and dairy-free savoury dish- that's doing brunch right!
By title alone, you'd have little idea of what the dish is about. So it was with an element of a reveal when the Crazy Jim arrived in front of me in the form of a small hill of sautéed super greens on an open-faced gluten-free vegan polenta bun topped with almond feta, basil cashew cream and tangy beetroot relish. The polenta bread was dense and crispy, veggies soaked with creamy sauce and the refreshing beetroot relish and avocado mash made the dish much more decadent.

The house-made bircher muesli in a smoothie bowl. Vegan well made.

For dessert, we had brownies and carrot cake, both gluten-free and vegan. Admiral Cheng-Ho makes exciting vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free food in keeping with the original Monk Bodhi Dharma's high quality brunch fare and coffee. Regardless of your dietary-orientation, a visit by any foodie is fully warranted!

Coffee Ranked #4 on Bean Hunter!
Admiral Cheng-Ho is located at 325 Johnston Street, Abbotsford, Melbourne, VIC 

Like them on Facebook! @AdmiralChengHo

Fun fact: The timbre works like the tables and benches are handcrafted by owner, Martin Shaw!

Admiral Cheng-Ho Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato