Susur Lee has never been one to shy away from a carnivorous selection at his restaurants but his reverence for the humble veggie is not to be ignored. Of course, for a chef who made his mark serving a Singapore Slaw – a vegetarian staple dish – the veteran chef has a special appreciation for the diversity and distinctiveness that can be achieved without the use of meat. To that end, and to satisfy a growing number of veggiecurious eaters, he’ll be hosting Veggielicious by Bent from September 9th to 20th.
|Fish not included on the Veggielicious menu|
“I feel that vegetarianism is very important but not enough vegetarian food tastes very good,” Lee admitted to a group of fellow bloggers at a recent workshop (#veggielicious101) held at his Dundas West restaurant. “There are a lot of ways to make deep and interesting vegetarian dishes. Many veggie restaurants are afraid to put spices in their food.”
Lucky for those interested in the 5-course, $45 prix fixe tasting menu there will be no shortage of bold flavours. The menu is designed to play off of Toronto’s cultural diversity, while incorporating a few of Lee’s signature touches
|From Marrakesh to Montego Bay|
A trio of tantalizing dips will be first on the table. Velvety hummus of romano beans with salted chilies, a spicy mustard seed tomato stew with walnut and curry leaf as well as a Caribbean eggplant babaganoush are served with baked garlic lavash. Take your palate on a culinary world tour while cleansing each bite with warm roasted olives with sumach and lemon preserve. This will mix well with a twist on a Canadian bar classic – the Asian Caesar with sriracha, sesame chili oil and hoisin sauce.
|A mound of freshness and flavour|
Proving still that he’s able to assemble a wicked salad, the tingly chilled soba will truly tickle your taste buds. Taiwanese vinaigrette spiked with tongue numbing Szechuan peppercorns makes this noodle salad of local veggies, braised shitake mushrooms, shiso leaf and nori crisps really pop. Interestingly enough, Chef Lee actually grows many of his vegetables and herbs in a garden a couple doors down from Bent on Markham Street.
|I could eat this all day|
Mild shishito peppers are not understated alongside crispy bites of chickpea tempura tofu drizzled with a sweet Korean chili sauce. Like all of the dishes, including the main course finisher of creamy wild mushroom quinoa risotto, the execution is exceptional. Ask your server to hold the romano parmigiano emulsion for a vegan option.
|Pretty and perfect|
Guests will finish with a sweet a sweet plate of French meringue infused with golden licorice as you sip on a complimenting Karate Kid 2. The airy meringue is topped with a lemon curd, wild blueberries, peaches, passionfruit syrup and raspberry coulis pairs perfectly with this sour of negori sake, jasmine tea gin, yuzu juice and vanilla syrup. Yes, this is real life.
Reservations are now being accepted for Veggielicious, so if this meal sounds as good to you as it tasted to me, it’s worth booking soon.
|Garnishing the Karate Kid 2|
|Susur Lee's garden on Markham St.|
|Wild mushroom quinoa risotto with roasted cauliflower, romano parmigiano emulsion and tempeh crouton|
|The Asian Caesar|
|Susur's signature Singapore slaw|
|A beautiful afternoon at Bent|
|Side up to the bar if you'd like|