April 09, 2019

Cairns’ Vegan Dining Scene

As our society has become increasingly more health conscious, we have also become a lot more discerning about the ethics and sustainability behind the foods we eat. Over 2 million Aussies are now choosing to live a meat-free, plant-based life, and Veganism is one of the fastest growing food movements in the world. 

To keep up with the rising trend of plant-based diets, chefs across Cairns’ dining scene have had to get a lot more creative in the kitchen to ensure their menus offer a range of inspired vegan-friendly options. 

We recently sat down with our resident vegan and F&B attendant at Coco’s Kitchen + Bar, Lillian, to discuss Cairns’ vegan restaurant scene, her tips for taking a more plant-based approach to eating, and our new vegan option Superfoods High Tea. 


The growing vegan trend in Cairns restaurants 

Choosing to live a plant-based lifestyle is becoming a lot easier and much more accessible than it once was. Vegan options in Cairns’ dining scene are continually growing, and Lillian notes that a lot more restaurants in the city are adding amazing vegan-friendly dishes to their menus. 

Lillian says she loves finding niche cafes in Cairns that offer full vegan options, such as The Healthy Hub and Happy 4 10. 

“My favourite vegan-friendly restaurant in Cairns is Happy 4 10,” Lillian says, “It’s a Japanese/Korean BBQ restaurant, they do amazing udon noodles and tempura vegetables.” 


Why go vegan? 

There are many environmental, ethical, and health benefits of choosing a vegan lifestyle. For Lillian, it was mainly a desire to feel healthier. 

“There wasn’t really one reason that made me turn vegan,” Lillian said, “I guess I had a bit of cognitive dissonance – I grew up on a farm so I saw a few things, but nothing so bad that turned me straight away.” 

“It was just a gradual change in wanting to be healthier… Since becoming vegan, my hair has grown like crazy and my skin is so much better!” 


Tips for trying Veganism 

For anyone wanting to try Veganism or eat a more plant-based diet, Lillian suggests that gradually easing into the lifestyle and experimenting in the kitchen is key. 

“It is a process, don’t try to do it all at once,” Lillian said, “The biggest thing that helped me was experimenting and adapting my daily recipes to be vegan. Some things were hit and miss, but you eventually get there – Cauliflower Bolognese is my go-to staple!” 


Vegan Superfoods High Tea at Coco’s Kitchen + Bar 

Inspired to offer more vegan-friendly options on our menus, we sent Lillian to Cairns’ famous local fruit and veg market, Rusty’s, on a mission to purchase some fresh produce that could be used in creating a vegan high tea experience at Coco’s Kitchen + Bar. 

Lillian returned with a bounty of colourful, exotic fruits, fresh vegetables, locally grown nuts, and much more, and our talented chefs began crafting our vegan-friendly Superfoods High Tea. 

The Superfoods High Tea menu is natural, raw, and refined sugar free. Not just for vegans, this high tea menu offers a much healthier alternative to the sugar-loaded traditional high tea, so everyone can enjoy, guilt-free! 

Boasting three tiers of wholesome, handmade treats, the Vegan Superfood High Tea features classic favourites, such as vegan scones with whipped coconut cream and smashed fruit jams, and delectable desserts, such as Daintree cacao sweets. 

Who knew High Tea could be so healthy and so delicious? 

Come and treat yourself to Pullman Cairns International’s iconic high tea, from 11am to 4pm Monday to Sunday at Coco’s Kitchen + Bar. Check out all of our High Tea menus here. 

Brittany Herron is a freelance travel and lifestyle writer
and content creator. When she's not between her two 
homes of Newcastle and Adelaide, Brittany is an 
adventure-seeker, wandering the globe in search of 
sun, snow, and sand.