There is no denying that, as much as we love this city, all the running around and eating out most days (or maybe I’m just speaking for myself!) can start to take its toll on our bodies. I obviously love my food, but even my body gets tired of the amount of nasties I’m consuming every day. Thankfully Grassroots Pantry, a lovely new café serving wholesome organic food has just come to the rescue.
I am by no means a vegetarian, yet when I was recently asked what I do when I’m trying to be healthy, my answer was: eat less meat and more vegetables. Vegetarian food doesn’t have to be “boring” or “too healthy”; when it’s done right, it can be so wholesome and delicious, and I will often find myself craving vegetarian days just to feel good about myself.
Grassroots Pantry is a beautiful haven tucked away down a quiet little street in Sai Ying Pun, serving nutritious homemade plant-based dishes, inspired by cuisines from all over the world.
The space is gorgeous; every little detail has been clearly thought out by Peggy Chan, the chef behind the wonderful dishes. Outside, green bushy plants adorn the small patio, which seats up to eight diners at a time. Inside, vintage-looking furniture seats a further ten diners, with cute wallpaper, gorgeous homey rugs and sweet little knick-knacks completing the look. I described it as a happy-making place, as from the moment I entered, I simply could not stop smiling. It seems that the staff are similarly affected, as every one of them is super happy and friendly.
Most of the ingredients are locally sourced and brought in daily; if something isn’t in season or as fresh as it should be, recipes are altered so that customers get nothing but the best. The final menu is still being developed, but there is still a significant range of choices on the temporary menu, as well as a special dish on the set menu that changes daily.
We started with a Quinoa Salad made with dried fruits and hazelnuts. I loved the fresh flavours, enhanced by sprigs of parsley, and the nuts and sunflower seeds added to the interesting textures.
The sweet potato fries, which were baked rather than fried, were incredible, dipped in a vegan mayo made from tofu, chickpeas and lemon juice. Normally I find mayonnaise completely unnecessary as it adds little value other than fat to the meal; this one, however, was delicious and healthy – bonus!
The Thai veggie green curry served with brown rice was wholesome and comforting, with a subtle yet notable kick at the end. The main ingredient was the hedgehog mushroom (a.k.a. monkey head mushroom), which had a ‘meaty’ consistency that would almost make real meat redundant.
The Palak paneer served with homemade whole-wheat chapati was literally goodness in a bowl. Similar to saag but less creamy, this dish was incredibly warming and comforting.
For dessert, we tried the special of the day, vegan chocolate cake with cashew nut cream. Where some healthy desserts can have a dry and crumbly texture, this one was perfectly moist, so you’d barely even know it was healthy! We were told that the secret to getting the texture right lies in adding pulp from the juicer, which also gives it a natural sweetness, meaning no need for sugar.
The fresh juices are also a must. We tried the Digestion Booster (carrot, lemon and ginger) and the Mean Green (pear, green apple, leafy greens, parsley, celery, cucumber and ginger), both of which were scrumptious, whilst still clearly incredibly good for us.
Grassroots Pantry is not just a restaurant. It also offers culinary classes and workshops taught by specialists in the field. There is also a gorgeous space on the second floor that can be rented out for private parties.
As I have already mentioned, service at Grassroots Pantry comes with a genuine smile, showing that all the staff are passionate about what they do. Prices range from $98 to $168 for a main course, which is pretty spot on given you’re paying for deliciously fresh, organic produce. I’ve decided that Grassroots Pantry may well be my go-to place for when I need a food-hug.
Grassroots Pantry 12 Fuk Sau Lane, Sai Ying Pun, Western District
2873 3353 www.grassrootspantry.com/
Check out more from Ale on her fab blog, The Dim Sum Diaries!