Vegan Calamari – Fitzroy’s latest invention
The world is awash with vegan replacements. Meat mimicry comes in various forms, but rarely does this industry attempt the seafood switch. The vegan prawn, the vegetarian crab, the orchard-reared fruit fish… all conspicuously absent from menus.
But what about Cauliflower Calamari?
Brunswick Street Indian Restaurant Mukka has stumbled upon a credible claim of creating a vegan masterpiece, with a dish that might soon surge into a tsunami-like fad around Melbourne.
Gobi 65 fuses North India traditionalism with Fitzroy flare.
The cauliflower is part boiled, to the specific texture of calamari, then heavily spiced with Kashmiri red chilli, turmeric and home-made garam masala that is made from a combination of 10 different spices, then deep-fried.
The result is heartening for those vegans craving a pescatarian hit. Calamari has been so ubiquitous over the past few years that many newly converted vegans struggle in its absence. Indeed, the loss of calamari from a vegan’s diet could represent a new-age bacon-like void.
The key is heating the cauliflower so it retains just enough muscle to feel squid-like, almost crunchy. Just a few ticks too long and we’re into Grandma’s soggy potato territory, and a few ticks too few and we’re playing dental roulette.
This balancing act is critical – dialling in the perfect heat is make or break.
Owner Prateek elaborates “its addictiveness comes with the right crunch, a zesty squeeze of lemon and a spice combination that keeps you wanting more”