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V-Spot spot-on with flavour-packed vegan fare

Posted: March 24, 2016

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Walking into the V-Spot feels, in equal measure, like stepping into the woods, and stepping into a Pinterest board.

The floors are wide, blond pine plank. The walls are painted a soft yet vibrant green, with white bead board and chair rails. The table tops are decorated with a peel-and-stick surf ace that looks like weathered wood. Small vases of bright wildflowers are everywhere. Colourful paintings of trees hang throughout.

The ample natural lighting, should you want to take food photos, is perfect.

I did, partly for this story, and partly because the dishes at the VSpot (that’s V for vegan — keep it clean) were too vibrant to trust to memory. The colourful entrées are just one of the things that stand out about the Dundas eatery, located in the former Café Domestique.

When my companion and I visited for lunch (they are open until 5 p.m.), we were immediately brought water and a sample of their pineapple smoothie to enjoy as we looked over the menu.

The V-Spot has a small but diverse menu that includes a daily pizza, a few wraps, salads and some bowls. All of these are, delightfully, scalable — large or small salad, personal pizza or personal with a side, and full or half-sized bowls. Perfect if you want to try many (translation: every) things.

We started with the breaded chipotle lime chick’n fingers.

Now I know trickery is not the point of vegan and vegetarian items, but these were convincing. The texture was pretty much indistinguishable from actual chicken, and there was a similar moistness. They tasted less like schmicken fingers and more like chicken fingers that were baked instead of fried.

The breading was light but a bit crunchy, and the sweet chili sauce that accompanied the three tenders gave them a bit of extra spice. They also came with about a cup’s worth of crunchy Asian slaw, made with cabbage and kale.

From there we ordered half sizes of everything, in order to try as much as possible. When our salads and entrées arrived, we were certain we’d ended up with the full versions. That turned out not to be the case — the half sizes are simply generous.

Generous enough, in the case of the rainbow noodle salad, to be a meal. Served cold, it consists of flat fettuccine-style noodles with edamame, peanuts, green onions, sesame seeds and spiral-cut veggies on top. All of this is doused with a light, tangy peanut lime sauce.

The kale-slaw salad is similarly packed. Covered in a lemon tahini dressing, it contains kale, diced apples and pumpkin seeds. The blend of textures is great and the dressing, with its combination of citrus tang and toasted sesame flavour, adds to the diversity within the dish.

The pizza was about eight inches, cut into four slices. The sauce here was a bit thin (reminiscent of Roma pizza, for those of you who might be f ans) and while its flavours didn’t quite pop, there were plenty of mushrooms and onions on top.

The crust had a flavour and texture (almost crisp on the bottom, bready on the top, not quite chewy the way pizza crust usually is) that reminded me, nostalgically, of frozen pizzas purchased from my childhood figure skating club.

However, the Thai peanut lime bowl was almost too beautiful to eat. Cherry tomatoes tossed with cucumber, zucchini, cauliflower and rice. This also had a peanut-y sauce with a hint of citrus spark and a whole lot of creaminess.

As my cheese- and meat-loving companion put it: a place that has to work around meat and dairy has to work hard. Harder than most.

The V-Spot does that work. The place is pretty, the food is filling and nicely prepared. The servers work together to make sure you have everything you need.

You won’t know what you’re missing.