Fussy Vegan restaurant in Blairgowrie

The Hidden Vegan Restaurant in a Blairgowrie Petrol Station

I’m not a vegetarian and definitely not a vegan. While I totally recognize the benefits of a plant-based diet, both for myself and the planet, I love the occasional burger just a little too much to make that leap. (Don’t even get me started on cheese.)

That said, I do limit my meat consumption at home and I often order vegetarian dishes in restaurants. And I empathize with the plight of vegetarians and vegans in South Africa, a country full of rabid meat-eaters.

So when I heard — twice in the same week — about a mysterious takeaway restaurant called the Fussy Vegan hidden at a Caltex garage in Blairgowrie, I headed right over.

Fussy Vegan restaurant in Blairgowrie
The Fussy Vegan.

An Unfussy Lunch From the Fussy Vegan

I love everything about the Fussy Vegan. I love the name, which is evocative and easy to remember. I love that the Fussy Vegan is hidden in plain sight, sandwiched between a petrol station convenience store and a car wash. I love the branding and the friendly staff and the interesting selection of products, almost all locally sourced. Most importantly, I love the taste of the food.

Inside the Fussy Vegan.
Inside the Fussy Vegan.
Dairy-free cheese in the Fussy Vegan fridge.
Fancy-looking “fauxmage” in the fridge.
Vegetarian biltong from the Fussy Vegan.Yes,
Yes, the Fussy Vegan sells meat-free biltong. I’m not a huge biltong fan so I didn’t buy any, but a meat-eating South African friend told me he really likes it.

I showed up around 12:30 on a Thursday afternoon and the shop quickly filled up behind me. I heard one woman say she’d come all the way from Krugersdorp.

I struggled to decide what to order. Everyone around me seemed to be ordering the Beyond Burger, a high-tech vegetarian burger that is supposed to taste exactly like meat. But I couldn’t resist the mac-and-cheese burrito. Then I glimpsed the baked goods in a cabinet behind the cash register and decided to throw in a cinnamon roll.

Fussy Vegan menu
The menu. There are no animal products in any of these dishes.

I waited five or ten minutes for my food, paid the modest bill, and headed to a friend’s house.

Vegan mac-and-cheese burrito from the Fussy Vegan.
My burrito.
Mac-and-cheese burrito from the Fussy Vegan.
A few bites in.

I have no idea what this mac-and-cheese burrito was made of. But I do know it contained no meat, no butter, no milk, and — impossibly — no cheese. Yet it was mouth-watering. The sauce was creamy, tangy, and flavorful — not cheesy exactly but equally as good-tasting as cheese.

I devoured the whole burrito in under five minutes. I told myself I would only eat a bite of the cinnamon roll and save the rest for later, but then decided what the hell and devoured that too.

Fussy Vegan cinnamon roll
The Fussy Vegan cinnamon roll.

Bam. The Fussy Vegan is a can’t-miss. If you’re a vegetarian or vegan, this joint will save your life. If you’re a meat-eater you’ll love it anyway. Go.

The Fussy Vegan is at the Caltex Waterfall on Jan Smuts Avenue, Blairgowrie. Call 060-716-6029.

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  • Reply Kate Els May 13, 2019 at 4:04 pm

    Argh. No! We went to try it for lunch once and the staff were hopeless and moved at the pace of snails. The food was good, I’ll admit that, but not worth enduring that. I think we waited about forty minutes for two Mexican bowls that didn’t even require cooking. Plus the tables were all covered in dirty dishes.

    • Reply 2summers May 13, 2019 at 4:09 pm

      Oh no! I had the opposite experience – it was flawless!

    • Reply Minette May 14, 2019 at 2:03 pm

      Give them another chance. I’ve gone multiple times, everyone is super friendly. They do get very busy over lunch time and sometimes the food does take long. I would suggest going just before or after. About 10am to 12pm and then again from 2pm onwards is always a breeze. I also sometimes call them with my order and then just go collect it.

  • Reply dizzylexa May 13, 2019 at 4:04 pm

    Sounds worth a try even if it’s just for the Sweet Potato wedges – my favourite. I would like some vegan to explain to me why would you want to eat anything that resembles meat, such as the biltong?

    • Reply 2summers May 13, 2019 at 4:08 pm

      I guess there are some people who go vegan specifically for health or ideological reasons but still crave meaty stuff?

    • Reply Minette May 14, 2019 at 2:08 pm

      No one goes vegan because they don’t like the taste of meat or cheese. I still love for my food to have a chewy, salty substance similar to meat (although I prefer seitan over the beyond burger which can be a bit too meaty) If you can have something that tastes like meat without having to kill an animal, and it’s more environmentally friendly then why not? Honestly I’ve only been vegan for about a year (vegetarian for a year before that) and find the meat alternatives much more tasty than actual meat. Don’t miss the “real stuff” at all.

      • Reply 2summers May 14, 2019 at 2:12 pm

        That’s really interesting. I’ve also always liked vegetarian foods, especially vegetarian burgers, and sometimes even prefer them to meat burgers (even though I still eat those too). I’m definitely going to try the Beyond Burger the next time I go – I just so many veggie burgers at home so I wanted to try something different. Anyway thanks for the comment!

        • Reply Minette May 14, 2019 at 2:15 pm

          That’s awesome that you’re giving them a try! When I was still eating meat I also loved vegetarian dishes and always gravitated towards them. But sometimes that chewy salty spiced substance in a burger just hits the spot 🙂

  • Reply Richard Sherman May 13, 2019 at 4:09 pm

    Well I’m guessing you went off peak time. They are cursed with the curse of all vegan restaurants – they are very, very slow and have limited capacity. I waited over 40 minutes for my second choice meal because they didn’t have the ingredients I wanted.
    Still, the food is really really good, and they are very friendly and doing their best.
    One day I hope they grow to a proper restaurant where they will be able to overcome these challenges.

    • Reply 2summers May 13, 2019 at 4:11 pm

      Someone else just commented and said they also had a long wait for food. I guess I was lucky but in any case I loved it.

  • Reply bwcarey May 13, 2019 at 4:43 pm

    i am a half veggie myself, sounds great, I might even eat it some more, thanks

    • Reply 2summers May 13, 2019 at 4:49 pm

      I hope you enjoy it!

      • Reply bwcarey May 13, 2019 at 5:11 pm

        i’m learning, it takes awhile, thanks

  • Reply Nikki Brighton May 13, 2019 at 4:44 pm

    Sounds wonderful! Clearly people are in too much of a hurry in Jozi (comments) – relax and enjoy the comings and goings of the car wash.

    • Reply 2summers May 13, 2019 at 4:49 pm

      Hahaha, yes I suppose good food sometimes requires a bit of patience.

  • Reply Peggy Laws May 13, 2019 at 4:59 pm

    Another venue to add to my list! My daughter would love it being vegan. I hope she will appreciate me “standing in” for her!

    • Reply 2summers May 13, 2019 at 5:18 pm

      Let me know when you’re going, I’ll meet you there 🙂

  • Reply eremophila May 13, 2019 at 11:13 pm

    I’m with dizzylexa, I fail to see the point of pretend meat. Also, I don’t agree with laboratory food. Soylent green anybody?
    While I do eat some meat, I love vegetarian, and don’t mind waiting for it. Slow food, but not ancient☺
    There’s a fuel station I return to in my travels, that actually does good takeaway also, and has a laundromat kept immaculate.
    Hi to Smokey💚

    • Reply 2summers May 14, 2019 at 2:12 pm

      Smokey says hi back!

    • Reply Minette May 14, 2019 at 2:13 pm

      The point being you can get the same taste you’ve grown to love without the terrible environmental impact or the cruelty towards animals. It’s a great thing and people should keep in mind we make animals taste and look different in the first place. No one wants raw meat without spices. So “pretend meat” isn’t trying to be an animal, it’s just trying to be more yummy in the same way we make animal flesh more yummy

  • Reply Eva Melusine Thieme May 21, 2019 at 4:47 pm

    meat-free biltong. Gotta love it! How they made that Mac n Cheese is beyond me, but it does look delicious.

    • Reply 2summers May 21, 2019 at 4:57 pm

      I also can’t imagine how they did it.

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