Though it's still pretty chilly, there are signs that winter is receding - the neighbourhood magnolias are flowering, the magpies look ready to swoop any day now and we've seen 20 degrees again, just the once. It's enough to inspire Michael to get up early for bird-watching, and for me to grab a picnic blanket and meet him for lunch.
Rather than preparing our own spread, we picked up lunchboxes from Mankoushe ($13 each). They'll cater to all manner of special dietary requirements, and the packages were vegan by default on the Sunday that we dropped in. We enjoyed dense little packs of a half-dozen dishes - grainy salads, garlicky sauteed greens, fresh tomatoes and pickley cabbage, nuts folded into a starchy mash, and slightly saucy lentils. Michael ably shovelled up his share with a wooden fork while the sun was still shining; I was slower. The wind picked up, the sun ducked behind a cloud, and I tucked up the last third of my food for later. We escaped the rain, at least. It's still a bit early for picnicking, but perhaps you can find a more sheltered spot to enjoy this splendid takeaway meal.
You can read about one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight of our previous visits to Mankoushe.
323 Lygon St, Brunswick East
Accessibility: There's a small step up through a narrow-ish entry but everything's more generously spaced once you're in. We ordered and paid for our takeaway at the counter. We didn't visit the toilets.