Go­rilla Kitchen

Weekend Herald - Canvas - - CONTENTS - Sarah Pol­lok


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.


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.


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.

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