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Voyages: enVie – A Vegan Kitchen

Voyages: enVie – A Vegan Kitchen

This week’s voyage takes us to enVie, a vegan kitchen in the heart of Halifax’s North End where owner/proprietors Diandra Phipps and Cory Urquhart have set up a true clean-eating experience enhanced by local produce and a commitment to the freshest ingredients possible.

Found on the corner of Charles and Agricola Street, enVie’s exterior invites in all who walk on its sunlit sidewalk. There is a short wooden staircase that takes you into the café – a small and charming setting, but don’t mistake it for a hole in the wall. The wooden textures, huge windows, and trendy light ornaments create an experience that’s easy on the eyes to say the least.

For today’s feast, I am starting off brunch-style with a plate of golden brown waffles. Now I’ve had my fair share of waffle breakfasts, but let me tell you, the plate in front of me right now exudes an aroma unlike anything I have ever smelled before. It’s bright, it’s fruity, but it’s also crisp and airy. You can attribute its fresh taste to the local microgreens, fresh fruit salad topping, and coconut whip nestled atop. Interestingly, this is a waffle dish where the main flavor is derived from everything else.

envie2-4-min

Another smell, much different from before, invades the room as the buffalo wing appetizer hits the table. This is of course a vegan kitchen, but these bad boys could fool even the most discerning carnivore. The first bite is jaw dropping – these aren’t chicken wings at all; they’re thinly cut king oyster mushrooms. Thanks to the consistency of these fungi cutlets, the chef has managed to make something truly delectable here. The smooth sauce has a slight hint of heat with a little bit of a tangy punch that I guarantee you will mistake for a true buffalo taste. The bottom line is, I’ve got a meat-based diet and you could fool me with these any day. I could go on, but let’s just say I’m a believer now.

envie-8-min

Call it scavenged or call it handpicked, my final dish, aptly titled the foraged plate, is exactly how it sounds – fresher than fresh itself. Not only does the flavour combination resemble a savoury western hash, the smoked corn salsa paired with asparagus also blends together perfectly to offer an unusual amalgamation of colour and texture – the visuals of this dish are straight up breath taking.

envie-20-min

Earlier today, I was mentally preparing myself for this experience – I’m no stranger to veganism, but my diet is more reminiscent of a carnivore’s. Here’s the thing, I may have put in the effort to keep an open mind about this, but there was no need to. With the dishes being composed of local ingredients wherever possible and having an emphasis on freshness, and the atmosphere only accentuating that vibe, I am more than just a little impressed. For a place that I thought I’d never come back to (just because steak is life), I find myself considering another visit already and I haven’t even walked out the door.

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