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Veganism For Everyone At The Plant Gallery, Bondi

By Madeleine Gray on March 11, 2016 in Food

Photo: Grant Brooks

Photo: Grant Brooks

Type ‘plant gallery’ into Google and you’ll likely end up looking at photo reels of Californian nurseries. Type ‘Plant Gallery Bondi’, and it’s a whole other story. While this all-vegan, all-raw restaurant has only been open since mid-January, it has already made a massive (presumably fossil-free, gluten-free) impact on the culinary and social scene in Bondi, and in the Eastern Suburbs more generally. The idea is simple: choose fresh, organic ingredients, and let them speak for themselves – nothing is prepared at over 48 degrees. This is the central tenet for co-owners David Ortega and Peruvian chef Juan Carlos Miranda.

The decision to name the restaurant ‘Plant Gallery’ is a telling move. It sounds hip, for starters, and this place is nothing but hip – David himself looks like a yoga-muscled Adonis, local art hangs from the ceiling, and beautiful people line the minimalist communal table. But the term ‘gallery’ also alludes to curation – to picking visually interesting things and arranging them ever so carefully. And that is where the restaurant’s name really speaks to its owners’ intentions.

Every dish prepared at the Plant Gallery is like a little work of (edible) art. The obvious care that has gone into each dish’s presentation encourages the patron to eat with mindfulness. You don’t just wolf down the Caesar salad with smoked eggplant ‘bacon’, or the Mediterranean roll, for example. The menu says that the roll is made with a tomato, basil and papaya wrap. “How are they going to bend the tomato to make a wrap?” my dining companion and I wonder, flummoxed. Clearly we are new to raw veganism. David tells us that to make the wrap, all the ingredients are dehydrated. Unlike a normal bread wrap, which basically serves the purely pragmatic function of keeping the stuff together, this wrap is a chewy, tomato-y taste sensation.

The rest of the menu is similarly innovative, and equally exciting. Despite my misgivings, the deconstructed cheesecake with cashew cheese and orange nut crumble is actually delectable – maybe even better than real cheesecake. Just as a friendly reminder, though, if you want to drink anything stronger than Chacha Kombucha, the restaurant is BYO and Kemenys is only two blocks down the street – run!

David says that the restaurant encourages “veganism for everyone”, and while this sounds quite ambitious, the Plant Gallery might actually achieve it. As they say: if you make yummy food, the people will come. Maybe even non-vegan people.

Address: 95 Bondi Rd, Bondi NSW 2026
Phone: (02) 8971 3674
Web: www.theplantgallery.com.au
Instagram: @the_plant_gallery
Opening Hours: Tues 6–10pm; Weds, Thurs 11am–10pm; Fri 11am-11pm; Sat 9am–11pm; Sun 9am-10pm
Prices: $20 – $50
Card Accepted: All major cards
Licensed/BYO: BYO

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