I wanted to love this place. I want to support businesses that acknowledge that it’s important for ethical, environmental, and health reasons to provide vegan options. Or heck, just plain financial reasons! But it was good to okay. Not I-want-to-go-back-take-my-friends spectacular.
The meal started off with a bang.
These little balls of amazing flavors bursting in your mouth. Mango with basil sprinkles, strawberry with fennel sprinkles, and lychee with rose sprinkles. They were fun to eat and tasted true to the flavors. But this was more dessert than starter to me.
Following on were more littles. Little bit of tomato tartare.
Little morsels of sushi.
A little bowl of tofu with handmade vegan caviar.
A little cone of micro greens.
And a mouthful of green tea noodles.
None of it was enough, and they knew that, so as the last course, they hit you with a big bowl of gohan.
That’s rice. We got a normal full meal sized bowl of rice with bamboo and shiitake. While good, it really stood out from the rest of the menu which was delicate and bite sized and pretty and then, plop, here’s some rice to fill you up. Also, the website says it’s a 12-15 course menu, whereas I counted 11 courses, including the welcoming tea and the amuse bouche as two separate courses.
The chef was a great guy. And he asked us for what we’d recommend to him.
We both told him that even though we probably didn’t need to eat more, and it was probably better we didn’t, we could have had more.
Here’s what I didn’t tell him –
This menu, though vegan, isn’t truly vegan-friendly. I don’t eat meat but I still need protein. The menu had plenty of carbs from rice and vegetables but the only protein in the entire menu was a tiny bit of tofu and fungi. Where’s the natto? Where are the pulses? And for a Japanese vegan place, they could have incorporated more varieties of plants. Lotus root. Seaweed (there was some but I wouldn’t have minded more). More tsukemono (pickled things – though there was a very interesting pickled ginger flower). I wanted everything to be something I couldn’t make at home. This was not the case. Some things were definitely unique, but it felt like the menu petered out at the end. Instead of a grand finale that wow’d us, it was a sputter to the finish line.
The service was impeccable. They were all super duper friendly with zero airs. No snooty pretentiousness. We slurped. We picked up our bowls. We Kirby’d our food. We felt completely at ease. And I was hungry by the time I got home.