Away Kitchen + Cafe
Away Kitchen + Cafe is the dressed-down little sibling of Awai and also 100% plant-based.
In a twist of fate, the cafe has taken up residence in the corner spot that was long home to a Starbucks, and a neighbourhood butcher before that for decades.
Roger Yang (who started Awai with Nathan Isberg, no longer affiliated) owns the space designed by Christina Vick-Kell, which is rich with creeping plant life and sustainably-sourced wooden tables.
A leek and garlic quiche ($6) imitates egg using a tofu base with turmeric and black salt for colour and a sulphuric flavour. The texture is nice and smooth with a crumbly crust, smoked paprika and dehydrated leeks on top.
A beet velvet cake ($3.75) is a play on a red velvet cake, beet puree in a cocoa cake with coconut vanilla cream cheeze icing. Made with whipped coconut cream and house cashew cream cheeze, it’s a rich and savoury imitation with the beet flavour coming through.
A parsnip tart ($6) is more its own unique creation — a small but heavy savoury pie filled with roasted local parsnip, chopped roasted hazelnuts, chopped local sage and garnished with roast hazelnut and fried sage.
Away is home to Steambox Dumplings, which started out as a pop-up operation. Three vegan flavours include a coconut red curry, miso mushroom and citrus squash. Soft umami fillings are encased in crispy, bubbly and intricately folded dough.
They’re also drizzled with a truly addictive “vegan crack sauce” with a silken tofu base, garlic, herbs and spices that adds moisture and a lip-smacking flavour.
Empanadas ($6) come in sweet potato chipotle or creamy vegetable, the sweet potato is smooth and fluffy with a healthy bright orange hue.
A thin parsley, cilantro, garlic, lemon and oil dipping sauce adds a pop of acidity.
The lemongrass seitan sammy ($11) comes on a soft and floury homemade potato bun. While syrups and kombucha are made on-site, many items, like this bun, are produced at Away’s commissary space. Perilla leaf, lime, carrot, cilantro, onion and cuke add a Vietnamese twist.
House strawberry basil Kombucha ($4.70) has a little ginger, the spice, light fruitiness and herbs balancing out the fermented drink’s natural funkiness.
A spritzer ($4.70), non-alcoholic, is probably the lightest option, made of verjus (the sour juice from pressed unripe grapes) with mint and makrut (or kaffir) lime.
Try your hand at a sharab ($4.70) if you’ve ever felt like such a vinegar-lover you could just drink the stuff. This potent Persian-inspired drinking vinegar beverage is cut with house spicy pear shrub and ginger syrup.