gracecheung604 | write on time: Vegan tasting at Be Love in Victoria

Sunday, March 09, 2014

Vegan tasting at Be Love in Victoria

For those of you who know me, I'm definitely a carnivore, with mad love for steaks, wings and BBQ duck. However, I'm always open to new ideas. I recently received an invitation to give Be Love in Victoria a try. It's the new restaurant opened by siblings, Joe and Heather Cunliffe of Cafe Bliss. 
However, living in Vancouver, it seemed unlikely that I would be able to take advantage of this offer. As fate would have it, I was able to visit Victoria last week and had a chance to give this place a try! I really loved the high ceilings in the space. It's spacious but not intimidating at all, it was really cozy and had a nice cafe-style feel.
Just because they are vegan, it doesn't mean that Be Love doesn't serve up a mean cocktail. On the right is the Red Cedar Swizzle. The gin is infused with red cedar, then mixed with lemon, honey, angostura bitters. The flavours were quite woodsy and the garnish really accentuated that.
On the left is their Black Star Liner. It's a warm cocktail with Kraken black spiced rum, quetzal cola syrup blended into steamed almond mylk (no real dairy here), then topped with nutmeg. IMG_5539 
Our first two courses are from the Soup and Salad section. Here is their Sesame Miso. It's a miso broth loaded up with seaweed, kale, sprouts, and various veggies. The nori in the chickpea miso sesame broth gave it a rich texture. The flavours are reminiscent of meaty Chinese sausage, as well as sesame oil. The miso and shitaake really stand out, and I loved the warmth of this dish.    
Our next item is the Warm Quinoa Salad. It's loaded with lots of roasted beets, more kale, crunchy toasted hazelnuts,and lots of shredded carrot (which I'm mildly allergic to). The sauce had a cumin base with a sweet and nutty balsamic vinegar, sweetened slightly by some fig juices. Although I'm normally allergic to raw carrots, I didn't have any reaction with this locally grown variety. It is definitely hearty and fills you up without being heavy. As you can see, there is an amazing cracker served with this, loaded with seeds and nuts, this is crunchy goodness at its best.  
We also tried their Masala Dosa. A fermented lentil crepe. The fermentation makes crepe a bit sour, which I wasn't a fan of. It's filled with a potato curry & served with tamarind-date chutney (more sour). The side is a cucumber-mint salad with a dairy-free cashew raita. The sourness of the crepe ruined this dish for me, but upon removing the cover, I really enjoyed the curry inside. 
Another main we tried was the Numi Noodle Bowl because it seems most "traditional" with a vegan twist. The buckwheat soba noodles & kelp noodles are tossed in a adzuki bean miso garlic sauce. There is also stir fried sesame baked tempeh, as well as some shitaake. There are random greens as well as marinated burdock root. The tempeh was weird to me, I didn't like the texture at all. However, I loved the taste of the broth, with hints of hoisin. I found the texture of the dish inconsistent, some were al dente, yet other bits of noodles were very clumpy. Overall, it was good, but it could have been a bit more uniform.  
For dessert, we got treated to their Karma Bar, a nanaimo bar like sweet with Salty caramel, pecans and chocolate! Oh my goodness, this was heavenly. Salty, sweet and just the right amount of gooeyness.

I can't say that I would convert to veganism because of Be Love, but I would join a vegan friend here. It's got what I like (bold flavours and textures) and it serves up food that vegans would love. 

Take Note:

  • Servers are great and very entrenched into the vegan lifestyle
  • Amazing desserts
  • Try their Cheezecake!
Looking for more Victoria ideas? Here you go!

Be Love on Urbanspoon

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