In case you get confused by the ’99 Problems’ emblazoned on the door of number 31 Johnston Street…the address is a cafe called The Mercy Seat by day and a bar called 99 Problems by night. Time-sharing space (and facilities) is such a good idea!

The Mercy Seat serves vegan food that’s not just beans and lentils. In fact, here’s the place to get your fake meat fix! The lunch menu has three ‘meaty’ choices – a Creole Chicken burger, Philly Cheesesteak roll and Blackened tofu mushroom burger. The all day breakfast menu doesn’t contain the same degree of meat fakery – make your choice between scrambled tofu, scrambled pesto eggs and avocado feta smash.

D and I shared the Creole Chicken Burger with extra vegan bacon and cheese ($12) and the Blackened tofu mushroom burger ($10). The food is prepared behind the bar using a simple oven grill and came out promptly (though we were also the first table to arrive for lunch).

Both burgers were very tasty so it’s hard for me to pick a favourite – but I think I preferred the blackened tofu as it was less processed than the ‘chicken’ patty and contained nice big chunks of creamy avocado. That’s the compromise with mock meat – sometimes it’s the choice between taste, texture and processing. I did really like the smokiness of the facon though so I think they should have the option for facon and cheese for all the burgers! Oh and definitely hit your burger up with the bottle of hot sauce if you like some heat.

For sweets they source their brownies, cupcakes and cookies from Box Brownies in Collingwood. The vegan and gluten free peanut butter brownie ($4.50) was amazing! It had an oozy caramel topping studded with peanuts and caramel shards and a surprisingly moist brownie base given no eggs or butter were used. Despite the sugar-coma-inducing description, the brownie was actually not too sweet so it’s easy enough to finish a whole slab on your own :–)

I liked The Mercy Seat – the food is good and cheap, the staff were friendly, the atmosphere and uber-relaxed and they were playing Prince on the speakers.

For more places to eat mock meat, try Englightened Cuisine and Las Vegan.

The Mercy Seat, 31 Johnston St, Collingwood
Wed – Sun: 8:00 am – 4:00 pm
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