My first blog post of 2017! If only you could see how long my list has grown. I’ve had the chance to cross a few off so clearly I’m just behind in telling you about my experiences. I’m going to start out with the most recent adventure which took me and two of my long-time besties to Planta in Yorkville. Part of the Chase Hospitality Group, Planta aims to create delicious food while promoting environmental sustainability through the food stylings of Chef David Lee. Their entire menu is free of any animal products and provides an upscale dining option centred around plant based cuisine.
As a girl who has many vegetarian friends I can honestly say that we need more variety in our city. I know that we are evolving and making strides forward but it’s upsetting to find only 1 or 2 vegetarian options on a menu that don’t feel like you’re settling (I’m looking at you Margherita Pizza).
Planta is a BEAUTIFUL restaurant. High ceilings, black and white tiled floors, modern luxe fixtures, exposed white brick and décor hints that cue to their philosophy. Think, jungle plant print wallpaper, a giant leaf mural and a gallery wall of sorts with built in shelves holding different potted plants that takes up one complete side of the restaurant. I’m curious how they water them. Also I apologize in advance as I didn’t take ANY photos on my phone, the lighting was not working in my favour and I refuse to be one of those people putting food on the floor for a good shot.
On the menu for the evening was:
Coconut Ceviche – avocado, corn nuts, lime, tortilla chips
Cauliflower Tots – truffle parmesan
The Frenchie Pizza – mushrooms, squash, eggplant, olives, mozzarella, basil, olive oil
Habibi Salad – cauliflower cous-cous, split pea fritters, lentils, parsley, mint, coriander, currants, sumac, za’atar, tahini dressing
Crab Cakes – hearts of palm, spinach, coconut milk, warm spices
Cheesecake & Sorbet
Right off the bat I will say my faves were the Tots, Salad and Crab Cakes. Least favourite was the pizza. So starting with my faves.
The tots were just a good ol’ classic comfort food. Mashed cauliflower and potato topped with truffle soy milk and vegetable oil mayo and truffled nut “parmesan”. Super delicious and I could have easily had the whole plate to myself.
The crab cakes were really well done. They nailed the flakiness of real crab with the hearts of palm and it had a really nice crispy exterior sitting on a bed of spinach, corn and coconut milk.
And finally from my list of favourites, the Habibi Salad. I love salads especially when they are layered with interesting ingredients and textures which this one did not disappoint on. I could eat this every day. Hearty lentils and cous cous, a zesty tangy dressing, slight blend of herbs and spices and then zucchini fritters to add some more bulk to the dish.
And now on to my least faves. The Ceviche and the Pizza. Although I did enjoy the combo of the thinly sliced coconut and avocado in the ceviche, I was expecting more of a traditional flavour profile. I was missing some of that citrus punch and fresh clean palette that I often gravitate to ceviche for.
And lastly the pizza. The only word that came to mind was mushy. The ingredients itself all sounded like they would make a really interesting combo (mushroom, squash, eggplant) but they all ended up getting mushed together to where I couldn’t distinguish what I was eating. Their dough is made from organic K2 milling flour but I didn’t get that crispy/doughy base which I love from most traditional wood fire ovens. The picture below is a much better representation of the dish. You couldn’t tell the vegetables apart on ours.
We did have dessert which was their cheesecake accompanied with a side of raspberry sorbet. Couldn’t find a picture and I liked the sorbet better than the cheesecake. I also had a cocktail with my dinner which I really enjoyed called the Beauty and the Beet made with their special beet-based Planta Punch designed by the Village Juicery, dark rum, coconut, lemon, and agave nectar.
So the verdict. As a meat eater, I enjoy vegetarian dishes a lot…when they are done well. What I now understand is, that I don’t like when a dish is trying to imitate meat. Revel in the veggies, layer on the veggies, marinate and be as creative with them as possible but don’t turn them into something they are not. That’s why the pizza and ceviche may have fallen flat to me. Would I come back again? Sure. Definitely with friends or family who this cuisine would cater to.
Until next time!
Address: 1221 Bay Street (Bay and Bloor)
$$ – 50/person with a drink