The phrase “vegan food” typically conjures up thoughts of an ultra-healthy, impossible to maintain lifestyle due to dietary restrictions and the belief that there’s only so much you can do with beets and zucchinis before it becomes repetitive.
Crudessence, one of Montreal’s “100% organic, 100% vegan, 100% passionate” answers to this food trend, has decided to challenge these notions and has recently brought on chef Sarah Karook to help revamp and redefine its menu. This is a bold move on the franchise’s behalf, as it is not only risking the possible pitfalls of reinvention, but it is handing the reins over to a capable female chef in a male-dominated culinary world. This alone deserves recognition – both for Crudessence and Karook herself.
During the new menu launch at the Mackay location, Karook, who has 15 years’ experience with vegan cuisine, expressed that her goal was to highlight Montreal’s various neighborhoods and imported culinary culture while making vegan food accessible to all. So while the dishes look refined and are a treat for the eyes, they are nevertheless meant to appeal to families and picky kids.
The samples provided throughout the night did give guests a taste of the menu’s diversity with hits such as the chili as well as the Asian-inspired cold rolls, in addition to the delicious mini-cakes and pies that were passed around by the end of the evening. Some samples, however, would most likely require a taste of the whole dish in order to fully appreciate all the diverse flavours.
Nevertheless, Karook and Crudessence have created an extensive menu with interesting takes on foods that most vegans would have had to say goodbye to (such as lasagna and Caesar salads), which makes this restaurant a place that would be worthwhile to visit.
2157 Mackay St, Montreal, QC H3G 2J2
Photos by Crudessence, Karel Chladek, and Ania Szneps (@doughboy.89).