When I announced my newfound vegan lifestyle to my best friend about a year ago she decided we would never dine-out together again. For some people, the words “vegetarian” or “vegan” denote healthy lifestyle and environmental awareness. For others, the words are synonymous with “pretentious, top-knot wearing, yoga loving, aggressive hippy who doesn’t eat bacon or anything else delicious in this world”.
Not Just for Yogis…
Despite the fact that everything on the menu at Pure Kitchen is vegetarian and they can make any of their dishes vegan upon request, it is not exclusively for the top-knotters and dedicated yogis of Ottawa. All kinds of people can enjoy the food at Pure Kitchen, it says so right on the wall.
In fact, it was my best-friend, who thought we would never enjoy another meal together for the rest of our lives, who introduced me to this busy spot on Elgin. Upon arrival, the friendly servers sat us in an enormous booth, at our bequest, even though we were a party of two. The simple, white aesthetic was instantly attractive to me. It definitely appeals to chicks who do yoga. There are air-plants stuffed into the exposed brick and the menu items have names such as “Divine Dumplings”, “Elevated Burger” and “Mystical Bowl”.
Yet, the food itself is built for a wide variety of preferences. I could easily bring my plant-based pals or my practically carnivorous French-Canadian father to this trendy, yet relaxed space. Nothing on the menu is too intimidating. It’s basically pub-food― burgers, fries, soup and salad― with a healthy twist. The exception being the demigods of the Instagram world, bowls. That part of the menu caters a bit more to those health conscious patrons who are coming in for a balanced, post-Ashtanga-meal.
The most popular menu item has to be the cauliflower wings, which are delicious. It looked like every table, including mine, ordered them. Afterwards, I got the special which was tofu banh-mi served with kale Cesar and fries. My friend had the “Awesome Burger” with garden salad. I sampled a bit of her paddy, which was kind of crumbly but had subtle smokey flavour as if it was fresh off the barbecue. My salad was perfect and the cinnamon in the house-made ketchup was a nice touch. The tofu banh mi needed more kick but I never asked for any hot sauce. I am positive they would have obliged. All the staff were very accommodating. Overall, the meal was tasty, satisfying and reasonably priced.
The following week I went back again and introduced a new friend to the Pure Kitchen contingent. We got the cauliflower wings, chips and dip as well as the loaded avocado, which was beautifully plated. My friend, who hoped my so-called healthy lifestyle would rub off on her, was clearly impressed with the food. She thought she might try to re-create the cauliflower wings at home. Whether you want to take your friends to lunch or impress that cute vegan guy from the community garden I recommend Pure Kitchen. It’s a crowd pleaser.