SET UP & SITE:
After a successful run as a food truck, Gorilla Kitchen has finally found a permanent home, giving plant-based foodies something to get excited about. Situated on the upper-end of Eden Terrace, the vegan eatery is a welcome addition among the kebab shops and fast-food joints. It sits on four bus routes and the small side streets parallel to Symonds St offer plenty of paid parking. As for aesthetics, Gorilla Kitchen ticks every wholefoods eatery box: wooden tables, potted succulents and shelves of mason jars begging to be filled with instagrammable smoothies. Pop into the bathroom and you’ll find organic toilet paper and notes reminding you to compost your hand towels. Despite being an all-vegan cafe I was surprised at the diverse mix of patrons. Construction workers grabbed nut-mylk coffees, families tucked into pancakes, couples shared newspapers and smoothies.
SUSTENANCE & SWILL:
Gorilla Kitchen takes healthy hipster to a whole new level, offering more than six different kinds of kombucha. Overwhelmed with choice (how many ways can black tea be fermented?), I ordered the first I saw. It came in a dinky glass bottle that resembled some sort of mysterious elixir, more than a probiotic drink. At first glance the menu appeared to be rife with spelling errors, offering meals such as a marinated “chikun” burgers, cheeze nachos and “mince” lasagnas. As a seasoned vegan I knew it was witty jargon indicating animal-free ingredients. My brunch partner was just confused. We ordered a cacao smoothie bowl ($16) and a plate of nachos with “cheeze” and sour “kream” ($18). The smoothie was a little underwhelming on the taste side, however the nachos were top-notch, with crunchy tortilla chips and spicy Mexican faux-mince topped with dairy-free cheese and sour cream. Our brains knew it was vegan, but our taste buds were convinced otherwise.
SERVICE & OTHER STUFF:
Although certain menu items had sold out and the smoothie bowl took a little longer than you might expect to arrive, the bubbly service more than made up for the hiccups that often accompany a new cafe. Upon clearing the table, the waiter paused to ask how we found the meal – a small touch often forgotten in cafes. In summary: a must-visit for vegans and curious meat-lovers alike who want classic comfort food they can feel good about eating.