Queen Tammy (Arielle Richards / VICE)
If you live in Melbourne and haven’t had Tammy’s börek, you must get out from under that sad rock you call home, immediately, and come into the light. Since opening just over two years ago, Tammy’s has become an epicentre of delicious food, comfort and community for the northside. Just one delightful location at the Preston Market, Tammy’s stands at the Mary Street entrance and it is unmissable.
The Turkish cafe’s offering is all vegetarian and vegan, with a huge and diverse variety of classic homemade börek and gözleme, as well as a rotating selection of treats and specials, savoury and sweet, including homemade soup, köfte, baklava, dolmades, cabbage rolls, simit and moist semolina cake. My favourite thing to eat in the world are Tammy’s cabbage rolls. When they’re still warm…? Holy fuck. There are no words, you simply have not lived. When I went to Tammy’s recently the scene was so typically Preston I gasped: crews of nonnos seated on the outside tables enjoying a coffee, sweet and smoko, parents with small children, a table of tradies on lunch.The eponymous Tammy is queen of the north side. A beautiful angel who welcomes all into her shop with a dazzling smile. Tammy is Turkish, and vegan, and her vegan Turkish food is completely unique. “You can’t find any of these in Turkey, or here. You’ll only find this,” she says, gesturing to the cheese and spinach gözleme, “The traditional spinach and cheese, and the spicy potato, but everything else is my own recipe.”
And there really is everything else. Tammy’s plant based börek options include cheese and spinach, firebreather with spicy capsicum, mushroom and cheese, and my favourite, lamb and spinach. Tammy worked on the recipes with her daughter, who is also vegan, who can often be spotted working the coffee machine, or greeting customers.
“I just wanted to bring affordable vegan food to the area, and I love it,” she beamed.“I’m so proud, seeing so many vegan, beautiful young kids. Everyone, I’m so happy.”Tammy’s is no secret: A line often snakes out the door on Saturdays and Sundays, as Tammy serves up her creations from 8:30a.m. until it’s all gone. The flavours are incredible, the variety is incredible, but you’ll be returning to Tammy’s time and time again for the incredible love from Tammy. You can taste it in her food, it runs through everything she does. You MUST go see her.Follow Arielle on Instagram and Twitter.Read more from VICE Australia and subscribe to our weekly newsletter, This Week Online.