Café My House is a bright, home-made little place, with green-hued walls, white tables set with fresh flowers, and black boards announcing things like “raw vegan shakes and juices” in neon pink chalk.
I came here the day after my carnivorous bender at Ekko de Brasil in Aylmer, mostly for curative reasons – to consider the benefits of downing their daily detox, and wolfing their vegan green rolls – but I left impressed with the quality of the food.
Anyone who seems baffled that someone can actually take pleasure in a diet of vegetables alone should try eating at My House. And anyone who thinks vegetarian food is a muddle of murky brown and squidgy green on a weighty plate, the lush presentations here will quash that notion. And furthermore, anyone who suspects she’ll leave a vegan restaurant starving, veering through the burger shack drive through on the way home, needn’t fret: you won’t go hungry here. You might even ask for a doggie bag. (Are they called doggie bags in vegan eateries?)
Located on Bank Street south, this Korean-run restaurant’s goal, according to its menu, is “to make vegan food appealing, approachable and available to both vegans and non-vegans alike.”
Well, they succeeded with this non-vegan.
They aren’t puritan chemists at My House – not pushing colonic evacuation medicine, just trying to push balance. Bacon and eggs on the brunch menu, along with vegan tempeh Benedict with a side of kale. Both are available, though you will find more of the later and its ilk.
There’s an Asian take (vegetarian sushi, Korean bibimbap without the grilled beef) on this mostly vegetarian and vegan menu. I’ve only grazed the surface of it, but I’ve been impressed, starting with a great soup. Tomato and lentil, with chunky goodness and cumin warmth. Edamame arrive salted and tossed in lime juice and, though a bit overcooked, keep us entertained while we wait for the rest.
On the meaty side, what came next was the super hero omelette – with ham, onion, mushroom, herbs, and cheese, served with home fries (delicious), toast and fresh fruit. Then a smoked salmon sandwich with kale, curls of lemon zest, fresh dill, capers, onion, cucumber and cream cheese tucked in dark, seedy gluten-free bread and sided with a bouncy salad.
The Korean classic bibimbap tends to need the sweetly grilled meat for textural interest, but this vegan version uses bundles of deep-fried nori sheets that crackle in the mouth, and nutty brown rice for contrast. It is a pretty dish, a pile of neatly sectioned colours, anchored with the black-green of nori and the stark white of daikon, along with julienned carrot and zucchini, scallions and bean sprouts, mushrooms, eggplant and greens. You look at it for a little bit, as a sibling might admire a Lego creation of his sister’s, then you smash it to bits, muddling it all together and enjoying the sesame flavour that permeates the bowl. Good too, the “spaghetti,” where long ringlets of herbed zucchini stand in for pasta, and the house crushed walnut balls studded with vegan cheese replace the traditional meatballs. A tasty and spicy vodka cream sauce unites it all.
On the drinks side, My House offers French press organic coffee, well-chosen teas that promise everything but eternal life, and a full menu of freshly pressed juices and raw vegan shakes that are – despite my trepidation – shockingly delicious.
Two words of caution: this is labour-intensive food, and the shakes and juices require a full-time commitment to the (loud) blender, so when the room is busy, as it often is, and the staff is stretched (as staff sometimes can be), so be ready for a wait. Reservations are recommended, though there seems to be no voice mail, so be patient with this too.