Animal Liberation Kitchen
Animal Liberation Kitchen has been selling their vegan comfort eats in one form or another for years, and now have this brick and mortar space.
The Spasic family that runs Animal Liberation Kitchen started out at Toronto Underground Market, continuing on to be a favoured option free of animal products at many mainstream festivals and events.
Formerly home to Pulp Kitchen, the small space with just three seats was completely renovated by the father of the family. Logos outside and in depict family cats.
A BBQ pulled jackfruit bun ($8) stars, on a St. John's white sourdough bun with chipotle mayo and microgreens. Naturally gluten-free, the jackfruit has been marinated with pineapple, dry spices, adobo sauce and chipotle, then baked in the oven and slathered in BBQ sauce.
The jackfruit has a fibrous quality that allows it to soak up all that saucy flavour similar to the way meat would. The house chipotle mayo is made using adobo sauce, lime, vegan mayo, and a little ajvar.
Smoky mac n' cheese ($8) is topped with spicy, sour kimchi and incorporates tempeh that's been caramelized with maple syrup, liquid smoke and smoked paprika. Made with cashew butter, cashew milk and liquid smoke, the mac isn't exactly cheesy per se but pasta and kimchi are always comforting.
I'd only want to add maybe a drizzle of something to replace the creamy moisture of a good cheese sauce, maybe some of the sriracha that's on hand or a little of that chipotle mayo. I’d also love to try some of this mac topped with the jackfruit. You can also add or subtract the kimchi or maple tempeh if you wish.
A quinoa bowl ($10) is something of an homage to the bowls Pulp used to serve, and ALK is known for different kinds of bowl specials. A bed of quinoa supports kale massaged with black salt and olive oil and dressed with lemon, plus peppers, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, oregano, fermented red cabbage, and ajvar.
Everything could maybe use a bit more of a chop, but this is great if you want those raw veggies like cherry tomatoes left whole.
They also make raw vegan energy balls ($7 a box) with almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, dates, figs and coconut.
A mango lassi is $6 or you can get a humongous large size for $9, made with coconut kefir, mango, and lemon juice. Served with a compostable straw in a corn cup, you can never really go wrong with mango, but this does have a nice thickness and tanginess you wouldn't get with just juice alone.
The Spasics also run a Burrito Project, and sell burritos periodically out of Animal Liberation Kitchen to raise profits for it.