In Short: If you’re in doubt that healthy, vegan food can be a match in memorable meal experiences, then head down to Arlo vegan cafe in Brighton and let the wonderful Louis completely change your mind! There are daily, fresh-baked goods like breads, muffins and biscuits, and everything is made in house from sustainable and ethical products. You must try Louis’ falafels, either in his wraps or the hummus plate – you won’t regret it!
There is just something magical when, as a foodie, your urban exploration has guided you to one of those rare café finds. A place where all things come together, the food, the coffee, the ambiance; a place that makes you want to linger that little bit longer, and makes you want to come back, over and over again.
Foodie world, meet Arlo. Trust me, you want to get down here to Brighton, Victoria and taste what the incredible (and possibly the friendliest owner ever!) Louis, can do with a full plant-based menu. I’m not kidding. Louis has mastered some of the most delicious recipes that are 100% vegan, and are not only full of the most nutritious and tasty ingredients, but you can see how much care and love goes into everything he creates. He absolutely lives what he believes, and we’re so lucky he is a 15min walk from our house!
On any given day, grab a cosy bench seat inside by the window or make yourself at home outside on the share tables in this quaint café. Streams of locals come through the door, securing their freshly house baked sourdough bread, drawn in by the charm of this quaint little space and it’s owner, Louis. He knows most people by name (unless you’re a newbie!) and he makes you feel like a welcome guest into his home. Oh, and a little hint, the beautiful hand-crafted jewelry you see in the cabinets are made by his equally lovely partner-in-crime, Bernie @bernie.ellen.
On this occasion (we’re definitely regulars!) we’re trying out a few of Louis’ specialties and can’t wait to dig into to the hearty meals on this quintessential Melbourne winters day. But, as always, it’s coffee first! Arlo has stayed true to it’s commitment to simple, good old fashioned quality, and has chosen local specialty roaster Coffee Supreme for their brew selection and it blends perfectly with the choices of vegan milks – oat, soy, or almond – that you can choose for your daily fix. We’re always up for a flat white, and paired with oat milk it delivers on a light tasting roast with a nutty flavour and is served in a beautiful cosy blue mug.
We also try Arlo’s Mork Chocolate hot chocolate made with oat milk. Once again staying committed to sustainable and ethical sources, Melbourne-based Mork Chocolate take the same approach to their chocolate blends as specialty roasters take to coffee, respecting the quality and unique origins of their beans. This makes for a wholesome, and simply delicious hot chocolate that is a must have to beat any cold winter morning.
Surrounded by the addictive aromas, we just couldn’t resist lingering longer and ordering up lunch. Louis’ menu is all about simplicity, with the highest quality ingredients, that you can hardly believe is all vegan. Given winter, guest foodie Georgina had to order up his daily soup, which this day was a hearty winter vegetable stew. Full of hearty legumes of chickpeas and kidney beans blended with chunks of tomato, green peppers, and coriander and then served with Louis’ home-made lightly toasted sourdough bread, not a drop of this was left in the bowl!
I am always partial to a falafel wrap and let me tell you, Louis’ version is up there with the very best I’ve had at falafel institutions up in Sydney. His falafels are made to order, and although there is a little wait, it makes every second worth it. One bite into the toasted wrap, gives way to a creamy layer of home-made hummus, onions, and then the crunchy outer layer of a freshly cooked falafel. My silence, enjoying every mouthful is testimony enough…!
We also couldn’t resist Louis’ bread, and it wouldn’t be a café trip without the quintessential Aussie staple of Avocado toast. Everything tastes so good here at Arlo, the smell of the lemon, with the fresh layer of tomatoes, all drizzled with olive oil. It’s incredible what food can taste like when it’s simple, fresh, and all home made.
Finally, we think Louis’ has caught on to a winner here with his latest special of a hummus plate. Beautifully displayed ingredients are encased in the glass display cabinet on the counter, and we’re not the only ones who can’t resist ordering up this lunch special. Roasted sweet potato, carrot, chickpeas, green peas and beans, sit atop freshly made hummus, dusted with dukkah, alongside freshly diced tomato and cucumber. But of course, the centre piece of this plate are the falafel, once again cooked to order. They are crunchy and golden brown on the outside and give way to an impossibly moist centre with rich flavours and textures.
What Louis has created at Arlo is hard to replicate. He has expertly balanced a homely, laid back feel with impossibly delicious wholesome food and great coffee, that will make even the hardcore carnivores re-consider a vegan diet! And, he’s a man after my own heart, with an ethical, responsible consumption based approach to food that helps you realise that we can still enjoy the love and joy that goes with making, and sharing, food with others…it just doesn’t have to be at all costs…thanks Louis!