Dullstroom isn’t known as a vegan food hotspot; it’s known for trout fishing.
As you’d expect, trout is a central feature on most menus. There’s also plenty of meat. This is South Africa after all; they love their beef, their lamb, their chicken over here.
Any vegan headed to Dullstroom for a weekend (there’s certainly more to enjoy than fishing) will benefit from a little planning before heading out.
Dullstroom vegan food basics
With a somewhat paltry restaurant list on Happy Cow for Dullstroom and surrounds and hardly a Pick n Pay or Spar in sight, you’ve probably got a few questions.
As you hit Dullstroom’s main drag (which is pretty much the only drag) coming from Joburg, Lebamba grocery store is one of the first buildings on the left side (behind the petrol station).
Here, you’ll find a limited range of frozen vegan foods (like Fry’s) as well as fruits, veggies, grains and other staples.
In principle, you could shop for a weekend of vegan self-catering here, though I’m prone to packing a cooler box at home and supplementing with local goodies as I go.
This is one of two restaurants listed on Happy Cow for the Dullstroom area. While it’s purported to have daily vegan specials, I still haven’t tried it.
It’s marketed as an up-scale restaurant and bookings are recommended. I’m usually dressed in active wear and tend to pack a lot more food than clothes when I travel anywhere.
But, it’ll happen one day.
The second restaurant listed on Happy Cow is this complete gem of a farm restaurant. I’ve been twice and will happily return for whatever their daily vegan special is.
It’s a question of getting to Tonteldoos.
Sure, it’s in the Dullstroom neighbourhood, sure. But, most of those 22 kilometres are on a rather bumpy dirt road. Basically, it’s a trek – and they’re not open on Saturdays. If you’re driving back to Joburg on Sunday, consider stopping on the way out.
Of course, you’ll find the staple foods of any travelling vegan on the menus at many of the taverns and restaurants in Dullstroom.
No, you won’t find any vegan cheese pizzas on any menus… yet. But you know how to handle this, right?
And now it’s time to play find the hidden vegan meals found at Dullstroom restaurants.
If you’re a vegetarian, not a vegan, Waffle & Co might seem like an obvious Dullstroom restaurant choice.
As a vegan, the menu items you’ll find online don’t seem to be all that appealing. But, a search through their Facebook page revealed the introduction of Vegan Flammkuchen to the menu.
I’ve always loved Flammkuchen, and I was excited to give it a go. Thankfully, they had the pizza oven cranked up and ready to go (normally, it’s not available until 11 am).
It’s definitely a vitamin-filled array of colours, but it’s far from my understanding of a Flammkuchen.
Personally, I would have swapped out the tomato base for a spread of creamy hummus which is far more similar to the crème fraiche base traditionally used. Or, you know, gone for a vegan cream of sorts.
The fresh carrots definitely added something, but I would have skipped the beets and peppers and added more onions. You know, make it as close to Flammkuchen as veganly possible.
Still, it’s a start.
And, they do offer almond milk for your coffee. You’ll pay through the teeth for it, but it’s there if you need it. (Also, coffee in a cone?)
Vegan platter for 2 @ Anvil Ale Brewery
I’ve been to the Anvil Ale Brewery a few times. It was always going to be on the agenda, even if it was just for the beer. You could say that I’m a fan of their award-winning IPA. (It tastes like Cleveland in summer.)
During my research, I discovered that they’d introduced a new menu – and that it included a few vegan items.
I was over-the-moon, jump-for-joy happy about The Vegetarian and Vegan Platter for 2.
You get it, right?
Craft beer + vegan tapas = big love.
Take a look:
We started with the free (yes, free) beer tasting flight. Sure, it’s barely a swig, but it’s nice to be certain you’re getting the beer you want.
But then came The Vegetarian and Vegan Platter for 2.
It was not what was expected.
For a start, it was missing the red pepper pesto listed on the menu – though no mention was made of that (until we brought it up).
The potato salad and the bread was indeed excellent, but, erm, it’s very difficult to pretend this is a platter for more than one person. Or that I couldn’t have run over to Lebamba and picked up all the ingredients to make a feast for six for the price.
Also, sliced tomato, carrot and avo are all vegan food, but it’s hardly what we’re after in a nibbly platter. Perhaps some marinated tomatoes, tasty guac or may I say, some baba ghanoush?
The verdict? I was disappointed in the value for money, but if they make a few adjustments, this could be a great addition to the vegan meal options in Dullstroom.
Vegan pasta @ Duck & Trout Pub
About a year ago, we pulled into the Duck & Trout pub in our crawl to try just about every establishment that we could in Dullstroom. Also, the rugby was on, and we needed a place to watch it.
Although I was about to put this on the pizza and French fry pile where vegan food is concerned, I took the chance to ask whether they could make a vegan pasta for me. They did and it was wildly delicious.
So, when we needed a warming pasta on a rainy Sunday (not to mention some internet connection as our AirBNB outside of town didn’t have a drop of signal), this is where we headed.
This time round, I found the same great service and willingness to help a vegan out. Sadly, the pasta wasn’t nearly as scrumptious as the previous one.
But, and this is something all vegans will cheer about, when we also ordered focaccia with our pastas, one of the servers came out to let me know that they used milk to make it. That didn’t phase my non-vegan companion in the least. I, however, was super pleased to know that the kitchen really did take the request seriously.
So now you know, you’ve got a few more vegan food options in Dullstroom than you ever thought.
And, it’s totally worth the visit to this part of the country. It’s super beautiful, with plenty of gorgeous walks, farm stays, country pubs and a few wonderful little shops too.
And how can you beat this view?