Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Hog's Breath in Geelong: a vegetarian's experience

Those who know me, would not expect the Hog's Breath Cafe to be the sort of place I would normally eat.  However my family thrives on diversity.  They accept I am vegetarian, just as I accept those who love their meat.  Hence my nephew's choice of Hog's Breath, a carnivore's paradise, for his birthday dinner.  Surprisingly it also catered well to my vegetarian diet.

The Hog's Breath franchise started in Queensland 25 years ago and now there are over 80 of what the website describes as "themed licensed restaurants".  My visit to the Geelong franchise was my first encounter with the Hog's Breath.  The restaurant is quite large - great for a big group - with lots of fun Aussie memorabilia about.  (I wonder if the Ford sign will stay once the company leaves Geelong!)  Thee were quite a few other groups there despite the empty chairs photo above.  As the name suggests, it is a meat lover's dream.  Just check out the menu that my nephew, the birthday boy, holds in the below photo. 

I expected to eat chips and a few lettuce leaves.  It is a steakhouse after all.  However when I checked the online menu I was relieved to find a few vegetarian options.  The "sensational salads" were impressive.  Two were vegetarian.  I also could have ordered two pasta dishes, an avocado and mushroom wrap.  And quite a few of the appetisers and a lot of sides were vegetarian too.

The chips were curly and called Hog Tail Fries.  I was pleased that they sorted out the kids' orders first and I ordered Sylvia some of these fries.  (With hindsight I could have ordered her some vegies - though she would not have been pleased if they have butter on them.)   For myself I passed on the Aussie Backyard Salad and ordered the Avocado and Crumbed Mushroom Salad.  It came with Cajun potato chunks, salad greens, carrots, cherry tomato, red onions, cucumber, mixed beans and balsamic Italian dressing.

The salad was so substantial that I almost regretted ordering some of the fries for myself on the side.  I couldn't finish them but they were so cute and curly.  The salad was good.  Far more impressive the salads that often disappoint me in chain restaurants and pubs.

We were spread over three tables and were a fairly chaotic group with lots of kids and parents rushing around checking on kids.  So I don't blame the staff that I missed the call for dessert orders.  It was probably just as well because I was quite full.  My sister-in-law ordered the warm chocolate cake (mud cake?) with warm chocolate sauce.  I had a mouthful and it was really good (thanks Erica).  We all dug in too quickly to photograph it.

My dad ordered Grandma's Trifle Sundae: vanilla and strawberry ice cream layered with swiss roll, vanilla custard, strawberry jelly, whipped cream and toasted coconut.  I confess I don't remember if I had a taste.  (The chocolate cake was dominating my taste buds.)  I know my dad enjoyed it.

The showstopper, however, was the "Hoggies Rocky Road Sundae to Share".  It had vanilla and strawberry ice cream on warm chocolate mudcake drenched in chocolate fudge sauce, then topped with marshmallows, strawberry topping, whipped cream and toasted coconut. Oh my!  You should have seen the kids dig in their spoons.  Sylvia loved it.  They all did.

Despite Hog's Breath not being my sort of restaurant, I had a good night.  The staff were friendly and helpful.  I enjoyed something different for dinner with lots of vegies and was pleased that there are quite a few vegetarian options.  And it was good and satisfying food.  Most importantly, I had a lovely night with the family.

Hog's Breath
23 Yarra Street, Geelong
03 5221 4661
www.hogsbreath.com.au

18 comments:

  1. Wow, that salad looks amazing.

    I love Hog's Breath. I love that they use a lot of avocado and even if it isn't on the meal you are ordering, you can order one on the side.

    I'm super hungry now and there are two hours till lunch.. :)

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    1. Thanks Snoskred - lots of avocado always sounds good to me

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  2. Oh my goodness! I don't think I've seen such a huge ice cream! I can definitely believe that the kids went wild over it.
    Pretty cool that the restaurant didn't ignore vegetarians (as so many meat dominated places do) and actually put some thought into providing good veggie options. The salad looks really hearty and delicious.

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    1. Thanks Emma - the ice cream was huge - my brother ordered it for all the kids - nice for them to share. I was amazed that the restaurant had good veg options - gave me more respect for the place

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  3. I would not have expected a place with "hog" in the name to have such good veg options! Impressive.

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    1. Thanks Joanne - yep that was about my reaction when I was told dinner was at Hog's Breath

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  4. I would go for Hog Tail Fries, love how curly and fried they are (hehe). Whoa, that sundae is massive, I’ve never seen anything like this, I wish there are vegan ice cream sundaes with these awesome toppings! I appreciate restaurants that offer vegan / vegetarian offerings, I tend to go there more often because I find their offerings pretty unique!

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    1. Thanks Rika - the hog tail fries amused me - probably finding good vegan options is even harder than vegetarian - not quite sure how well they would cater to vegans but I think the range of sides might make it managable

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  5. Those desserts look yum! It's always great to see an inclusive restaurant.

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    1. Thanks Cate - yes - if I go back I think I will definitely order the chocolate cake

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  6. I had to check the name of the blog at first-I didn't expect to see it on your Johanna. The sundaes look really good I must say.

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    1. Thanks Lorraine - ha ha - I thought it might seem an odd one for my blog but you would have understood when I said I didn't choose it

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  7. I like that you shared your vegetarian experiences here - it makes sense that veg-friendly places will have vegetarian food to enjoy, but it is the unexpected options in non-veg places that are helpful to know about when out and about or invited somewhere you wouldn't usually choose. I'm glad they catered to you, and yes, those desserts look impressive!

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    1. Thanks Kari - I think the Hog's Head catered well for our family to veg, gf and carnivore. I know my gf sister found something to eat ok - of course it wouldn't be my first choice but it is good to be able to enjoy a meal with others who are not so into veg places are I am

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  8. I'm glad you found something to eat as when I read you reviewing Hogs Breath I thought you must have sat there with nothing but a glass of water in front of you. I've only been once and that was on the GC and I found the portion sizes to be very generous xx

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    1. Thanks Charlie - I know what you mean - I love checking out menus online before going places just to check there is something I can eat - and was surprised that the range offered here was better than a few pubs I have been to lately

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  9. Oh my goodness that is the BEST salad in the entire world! They make it vegan on request and it's my favourite restaurant meal ever! :D

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    1. That's so funny sandy that your fave meal is at Hog's Breath but I was amazed to find they had such a vegie packed salad

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