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Restaurants

Kupfert & Kim

Posted by Alexandra Grigorescu / Reviewed on January 18, 2013 / review policy

kupfert and kimKupfert and Kim opened up recently in the winding maze that is the PATH (making it an automatic take-out only space, although I did spy a nearby recessed wooden cubby on which you could probably perch and chow down). There are the expected long line-ups around lunchtime, filled with curious Bay St. types.

kupfert and kim torontoThe concept, on the surface, isn't exactly new. Vegan and wheat-free dishes, a few nutrient-dense ball snacks, a smoothie ($4.87), and Te Aro coffee. I opt for a small cappuccino ($3.54) made with rice milk and find that the espresso is expertly made.

kupfert and kim torontoWhen I receive my three take-out containers (all chosen from the lunch menu, which is available from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.), I'm somewhat skeptical. They look very similar--which is to say, like rabbit food. Beautifully coloured, to be sure, but still. Willing to give them all a try, I take a forkful of each, then experience a fairly significant foot-in-mouth moment--each dish is incredibly flavourful, and light enough as to actually give credence to their purported healthiness (read: not slathered in heavy sauces).

kupfert and kimWe start with the First Canadian ($9.29), which I'm told is one of their more popular items. It's surprisingly filling--quinoa and tempeh, with lush, dark kale, rainbow radish, and yams, tossed in a hint-of-sweet chia tamari maple sauce. The whole thing is speckled in a generous helping of pomegranate seeds, which offer a bit of crunch and tartness, although I would've preferred the option of more beets in favour of the purple cabbage.

kupfert and kim torontoThe Kim ($9.29) is a rich (yet not overpoweringly so) blend of brown rice, tofu, steamed bok choy, edamame, pickled carrots, daikon, cucumber braised cabbage and chia (basically the whole garden), and it's paired with almond chili lime sauce. It picks up on its obvious Asian cuisine influences, while remaining (dare I say) dietetic.

kupfert and kim torontoAny place that touts its vegan status should boast a stand-out salad, and yet the simply named Dan's Salad ($8.41) doesn't immediately win me over. I blame the dressing--dubbed basil vinaigrette (simple enough, no?), it tastes neither of basil, nor particularly of vinaigrette. Rather, it lays the oil on a bit too heavy and takes a few brisk shakes to properly coat the salad, which is delicious--arugula and micro-greens, carrots, cabbage, chickpeas, goji berries, rainbow radish and apple slices. Some welcome texture comes through with hemp and pumpkin seeds, chia, and raisins.

Kupfert and Kim also offers a breakfast menu (available from 8 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.), with all menu items ringing in at $5.75. It includes house granola (with gluten-free oats), sweet quinoa, and steel-cut oats, with almond, rice, coconut or soy milk on offer to top it up. Yes, Kupfert and Kim is good--and more notably, good enough to appeal even to a long-time carnivore.

Kupfert and Kim

Discussion

32 Comments

em / January 4, 2013 at 02:26 pm
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I just finished eating my “Oaxaca” bowl. A couple of cons: they were out of brown rice (substituted with quinoa instead) and there were quite a few people waiting for food (though this might be because it has just opened and they’re not as organized). Also, a little attention to detail, like a chopping up the cilantro instead of leaving it in whole strands as a garnish, would be appreciated. While the food was pretty flavourful, the almost-$11 price point stings a little. I get it. It's fcp. And perhaps it's just opening week hiccups. As a vegetarian/almost-vegan I appreciate the lunch option but am not sold on returning. For a couple dollars less I can go to Sweet Lulu one block away and get a piping hot vegan/gf bowl of yummy goodness.
Sam / January 4, 2013 at 04:39 pm
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I at there today, had the KIM bowl and the green smoothie.
they were both great!
The Almond-chili-lime sauce on the bowl was really interesting. I asked about the unique flavour and an employee told me its the kefir lime!
The line is long, but I assume its because they just opened.
the price is not cheap, but around same price as IQ and cheaper than Fresh.
the bowls also seem to have expensive components (menu listed goji berries, hemp seeds, chia, pomegranate seeds, guacamole, microgreens etc....)

all in all, great to have another healthy place near the office!

Gunda Chapman / January 7, 2013 at 02:39 pm
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The food is delicious, tastes fresh and flavourful! Will be returning regularly. Yummy
Nu / January 7, 2013 at 03:14 pm
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I don't think its pricy given the quality of healthy, fresh, and yes, expensive ingredients actually.

I had the First Canadian bowl today. They ran out of microgreens so I had pea shoots instead. I was super impressed -- it was filling, and very tasty, and I really appreciated that dressing comes standard on the side.

They've got some kinks to work out (like where to wait while your order is prepared), and it would be nice to have nutritional information, but I'm definitely going back.
Chris / January 8, 2013 at 01:31 pm
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Went for the first time today. Had the green smoothie -- a lovely blend of kale, lime, mint, pear, etc. -- and the BCE bowl. I found it a well-prepared bowl of very healthy ingredients, brought together with a somewhat thick/salty but flavourful miso/mustard (I think) dressing.

For the price (and comparing to freshii, IQ, Fast Fresh, etc.) it's very good. If you think $9.29 for lunch is expensive you're not looking at the PATH competition. Staff were very friendly; a bit of a wait but no surprise right at lunch hour.

I'm not vegan but I do meatless Monday and honestly the option of a carefully-prepared vegan lunch is compelling.

They also have coffee -- I will report back and compare to Sam James. (not that I'm looking for an alternative.)
Sophia / January 15, 2013 at 03:52 pm
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I went for a cappuccino and was more than pleasantly surprised by the non-dairy alternatives! Coconut milk on their menu makes this my new favourite place! Also the 'Bunner' cookies are simply awesome!!
Parker / January 18, 2013 at 11:12 am
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You describe the "First Canadian" salad as "surprisingly filling". Obviously you know nothing about tempeh, or you wouldn't call it "surprisingly". Tempeh is one of the densest, most substantial vegan foods there is.
GGAllin replying to a comment from Parker / January 18, 2013 at 12:08 pm
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Great story bro.
Gabe replying to a comment from GGAllin / January 18, 2013 at 10:01 pm
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Cool Story Bro.
Alex replying to a comment from em / January 19, 2013 at 07:55 am
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You don't chop herbs, you cut them in with kitchen sheers. No wonder you can't be bothered to make this kind of food at home yourself. Apparently, you know not where to begin.
Joey replying to a comment from Alex / January 19, 2013 at 01:52 pm
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Really. Must we all use shears to chop herbs? Get over yourself escoffier (oh wait he used a knife).
KoriG / January 19, 2013 at 02:43 pm
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The food isn't bad -- it's even better when you bring your own meat with you. Try the Oxaca bowl with some bacon and chicken. So good!
veganfussypants replying to a comment from KoriG / January 19, 2013 at 05:06 pm
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Agreed, I actually went this Wednesday and got the BCE and then lined up at BK for Whopper Wednesdays. I threw out the bun but shredded the meat (by hand! no sheers for this guy!) into the salad. Delish!
Lisa / January 20, 2013 at 09:06 pm
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The macaroons pictured are from Earth & City. :)
Wade / January 20, 2013 at 10:16 pm
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Earth & City makes mad macaroons. Quite good.
Danielle / January 22, 2013 at 12:35 pm
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Earth & City macaroons are incredible!
Sam / January 23, 2013 at 02:55 pm
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It was good until they raised their prices. The green smoothie last week was $5.50 today it was $6.50 - I was shocked when he rang it up in the cash register. They just lost a few customers. I didn't compare other prices - not going back.
strak / January 23, 2013 at 11:17 pm
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Ya I noticed the price increase and inquired to the cashier. I wasn't thrilled as Ive been getting a green smoothie everyday.
Cashier said they only use organic kale and apparently there is a green kale shortage in toronto? He said the only organic green kale currently available are super expensive bags of baby green kale.
He also said their original smoothie price was too cheap, and they had to correct it as they weren't making enough money to cover expensive rent and food costs.
I dont how to feel. On one hand, they are business and need to make money, on other hand they should have properly priced their items from the start and maybe suck it up??
thoughts?
their smoothie is still delicious, so ill prob keep going back...but ya, a dollar more is a lot.
(even though at $5.75 their smoothie is still cheaper than equivalent at jugo juice next door :)
ACK / January 24, 2013 at 01:50 pm
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Why can't these people get organized? Can the dressing not be squeezed into little cups before the lunch rush?? The line up today at 1245pm was all the way to the liquor store :( disappointing. Never mind the 10-15 people still waiting for their food. I couldn't risk waiting in that huge line for fear that they might run out of something...or everything. Running out of brown rice seems to be a daily occurrence. I had the Kim last time I went and loved it! but I may never have it again if I have to spend my entire lunch hour waiting for it. Really hoping these guys make things work.
Sam / January 24, 2013 at 03:09 pm
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The lines are very long during the rush, but their food is soo much better than anything else in the neighborhood that I'm still going back everyday.
I think the issue stems from the space. From the looks of it, it seems they only have about 200-300 sq ft. Thats good if ur serving 100 ppl a day not 400!
When i go before 11:30 or after 2:00, lines are fine!
AJ / January 31, 2013 at 11:58 am
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K&K is excellent as it provides me with the ONLY gluten free and vegetarian place around (before January when I didn't pack a lunch I was forced to rely on greek yogurt and fruit or overpriced salad options). So far I have ordered the First Canadian place about 6x or so. I've also tried their cocoa, mocha, macaroons, power balls and Bunner's cookie.

Pros:
The food is wholesome and a great balance of flavours and textures. The cocoa is certainly a healthier option than my fave from Aroma - not too sweet, not too heavy. Like the Bunner's cookie a lot. Power balls come with a warning - great for an energy snack, but a shocker if you are expecting a desert....

Cons:
long line-up (and inefficient but they are still starting), consistency (sometimes i get 3 pieces of tempeh, sometimes 1 and once they forgot, in this line: check if they have packed your sauce before leaving), only serves food until 3pm (if they stretched this till 4pm i would be able to use this as a dinner option when working late - not sure why they don't as they are still open serving drinks and snacks)

I wish there was nutritional info... particularly for the snacks, as I dont believe the food itens would run you more than 400-500 calories (which is great for a non-salad food court option).....
arya replying to a comment from AJ / February 4, 2013 at 12:39 pm
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k & k is quite good. but just to let you know, there is a place called sweet lulu (a few mins. walk from there) that can be vegan GF as well. a little while ago, i asked about a GF option (on top of my regular vegan order). on a return visit, i found that someone who worked there had actually gone out and bought GF tamari so i could have that instead of regular soy sauce. so nice!
AJ / February 6, 2013 at 03:00 pm
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Thanks Arya - I will check it out! I'm always afraid of eating at Asian places because of the sauces (even when I ask and they say its GF I get a reaction a lot of the time - possibly because they don't actually know what is in the sauce), but if they actually bought GF tamari it sounds like they care more:)
Ben / February 7, 2013 at 10:31 am
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I have been a vegan for six years and it was very nice to have this option open at the FCP. But as more time passes I am beginning to be concerned and have decided to drastically cut down on my visits to K&K (and possibly eliminate them altogether). First the soups, when they fill the large bowl, they fill it 70% and claim that is the standard serving. Excuse me, but to me that looks like skimping. Either fill it more, or use smaller containers. Utterly unprofessional to present it this way. Second, staff can be rude and condescending. Just this morning I had a "sweet quinoa" breakfast, where I said to the guy to shake the rice milk container before pouring. He said he did it already "earlier" and continued pouring what looked like basically water with some shades of white ( been using the same rice milk at home for many years). Finally, sweet quinoa comes with Maple Syrup, and they offered Agave,....because we "ran out of Maple Syrup". Strange to run out of something at 9am. I have seen food preparation, and saw a very large container of a plain "vegetable oil", as well as white sugar.....However, I am picky about stuff like that as a health-freak but yes, it was a disappointment. For a 20-30% mark up, they should try harder either on kindness or ingredients.
David / February 8, 2013 at 02:21 pm
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Might have just had the BEST lunch EVER from this place. The line ups seem to have been non-existant due to the snow so I decided to give it a go. The FIRST CANADIAN is option number one on the menu and it was AMAZING! Definately recommended! Service with a smile too!

Way to go!
Andrea / February 11, 2013 at 10:04 am
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Finally tried out this new place in my building for breakfast.
I chose the sweet quinoa and it was actually awesome. Ive never had quinoa in a porridge situation , but it really worked. They cook quinoa with cashew cream, bananas and almond milk.
I chose cranberries, hemp seeds, sunflowers seeds, blueberries and maple syrup as toppings.
While i liked l the toppings, I found the sunflower seeds unnecessary and bit 'bird-foodish' --if this makes sense. I like sunflower seeds in cold salads, but Im not sure if it worked in warm porridge.
Still the overall quality of the ingredients and flavour were A1. Highly recommended!
I wil definitely give the granola and steel cuts oatmeal options.a try,
I still want to try lunch, but every time I go lines are too long. My lunch break is not long enough to wait that long :(

Kim / February 11, 2013 at 01:26 pm
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Thank god this place opened in the path. I eat here almost every day, have tried everything on the menu. I most often take the First Canadian but I switch sauce for the Almond Lime Chili - I'm addicted. PLEASE bottle this sauce so I can buy it for home. I've actually requested this to a couple of the guys there who I believe were the owners and they said they will try. I usually bring in a salad that I make at home once a week but now I pass by here to buy this dressing for my own salad - $2.

I wish they had a location in other malls or near my home so I could swing by on weekends or with my kids. There aren't any fast food places like this anywhere.

BOTTLE MY SAUCE :)
Leah / April 1, 2013 at 10:06 pm
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These guys pay attention to detail! Incorporating all those high end ingredients, ensuring tasty AND healthy options... providing options for people who have severe dietary restrictions. AND paying attention to the needs of individual customers! I've never seen a company that cared more about their customers and about creating a good product. Every business makes (small or big) mistakes. But finding a business that is willing to adapt? You've found a jackpot in Kupfert and Kim's willingness to attend to every need, and respond to every customer wish! I will be supporting these guys for years to come!
Princess Zeltron / April 17, 2013 at 09:03 am
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I visited the FCP location of K&K this morning. I was starving and decided upon steel cut oats with organic apples and almond butter. Included the daily toppings of sunflower seeds, walnuts, fresh blueberries, dried cranberries, a hint of maple syrup and a splash of unsweetened almond milk.

I've heard such good things and was so looking forward to my first meal there. The whole thing was so salty I could barely eat it. Being too expensive to throw away I forced myself to eat it before my meeting.

It felt like a sentence instead of sensational.
Very disappointed K&K!
Leah / April 24, 2013 at 02:57 am
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Went to K & K for first time today after several recommendation.
Had the Oaxaca and it was delicious!
I really enjoyed the guacamole, pico de gallo with the fresh kale and beets!
It was extremely tasty and filling without bloating me!
Only downside was line. I had to wait 12 minutes to get my meal! Cant do this everyday :)
still the staff was polite and understanding!

great addition to the PATH!
emi / July 2, 2013 at 01:46 pm
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Love K&K! the price is a bit high which is why i don't go there for lunch daily. But love the concept of veg, organic and gf
From what I know there is no other organic food place in the area...I'm pretty much stuck on season1 & berry smoothie :)
Krista / February 20, 2014 at 01:14 pm
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Had the First Canadian today.

Pros: yummy.
Cons: half an hour wait. Portion seemed small. Two pieces of tempeh is not enough.

I'd like to come back but with the walk to and from, the wait is a little too long...

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