The philosophy of eating vegetarian

By Tristan Hooker for

26 NOVEMBER 2016

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Vegetarians rejoice!  A fully vegetarian café has opened up in Hamilton and its manager believes it to be Hamilton’s first proper vegetarian café.

“You’ve got the vegan buffets,” says manager and head chef Olivia Kelly, “but they’ve got the same stuff each day, because, well, they’re a buffet”. 

The café on Ward Street, called Coffee of Philosophy, is owned by George Liu and his wife Tiff.

“George has been vegetarian for 30 years,” explains Olivia.  “Originally he’s from China but he’s lived in New Zealand his whole life and there’s just nowhere you can go to get pure vegetarian food”. 

Coffee of Philosophy opened its doors three weeks before Christmas 2015. 

“Opening before Xmas, just before Hamilton dies, was probably the wrong time to do it”, says Olivia, “but we survived.  We actually did really well.  Each week we’re getting busier and busier.  This week has just been so crazy with Wintec back in full swing.”

Olivia says she, and owners George and Tiff, have been a bit surprised by how well the café is doing and at how many vegetarians and vegans there seem to be in Hamilton.

“The amount of vegans has been our biggest surprise,” says Olivia.  “We knew there were vegetarians out there but not as many vegans as we have been getting. 

“The guy who runs the vegan facebook page works at the ANZ.  He comes in regularly. 

“And because we’re not far from the bus depot we get a lot of tourists come in.  When they turn that corner they see our sign so every day we get someone with a backpack coming in”.

Coffee of Philosophy is planning to have a stall at the upcoming Frankton Thunder event, an automotive show being held in the first week of March.

 “If you go to an event like that and you’re vegetarian all you can eat is chips – and they might have been cooked in all kinds of stuff,” says Olivia.

“We’re going to stand out at the Frankton Thunder… With our black and our bright orange.  It’s a car show, but a lot of [our food] will be for the wives.  Often females want salad, not fatty food.  Something a bit healthier. 

“We’re going to make a combo and they can have a drink and a salad, a pie, sausage roll or filo.  Our filo is vegan so the vegans are catered for too”.

Coffee of Philosophy can be found at 75 Ward Street in Hamilton’s Centre Place.