#FOOD: KUPFERT & KIM – QUEEN & SPADINA
Wheatless, meatless. This slogan only scrapes the surface for booming local vegan chain, Kupfert & Kim. As a meat eater myself, the words “vegan”and “gluten-free” conjur ungratifying images of blandness, but I mean it when I say that this is Toronto’s best of-its-kind offering. If my meals were all prepared like they are at the primarily fast food counter, there’s a good chance I wouldn’t miss meat for long. Now branching into a sit-down format at its new sixth location just south of prime locale Queen x Spadina, Kupfert & Kim grants us a wish we’ve been longing for since trying it first on the PATH at First Canadian Place earlier this year. The same expedient preparation and those exquisite flavours, all in a proper sit-down environment.
Known mostly for its scintillating Boxes, every bite – whether it be their Sweets, Curries or Soups – is a culmination of a sophisticated integration of flavours. We are in love with their Mexican-inspired Box, the OAXACA (pronounced ‘wa-ha-ka’) containing brown rice, black beans, organic kale, beets, non-GMO corn, daikon radish, hemp seeds, organic tortilla chips, lime wedge with pico de gallo, cashew cream and guacamole. It tastes familiar, but exotic at once.
We had the pleasure of trying a location exclusive, the MIYEOKGUK, a hearty and soupy bowl of Wakame-Shiitake broth with brown rice, daikon radish, carrots, organic bok choy, organic tofu, mushroom, scallions, sesame, dulse, optional Thai chili and pickled jalapenos. Despite not being a “soup type”, I must say I was delighted with the combination of that warming savoury with the freshness of the vegetables.
If you are wondering why a Korean-inspired offering is on the Menu, we have to thank Co-Creator Daniel Suss‘ wife Ji-Hae Kim, whom together with business partner Mark Kupfert gave a bold tribute here to her ethnic roots.
The CAULIFLOWER TAHINI understandably is a popular choice at the chain. Featuring organic quinoa, house-made hummus, roasted cauliflower, carrots, pickled onion, purple cabbage, beets, mint, pomegranate seeds, organic arugula, radish, black sesame seeds and za’atar salsa with spiced lemon tahini sauce, the Bowl once again is familiar, yet incredibly-inspired. One bite of that roasted cauliflower chunk and you will understand what we mean. As stunning visually as it is in flavour.
For the first time today also we tried an item off their Dessert Menu, the Waffle with Vanilla “Ice Cream“, which while firmer in texture, had plenty of flavour – made from a combination of multiple flours, topped with maple syrup, blueberries, hemp seeds and a vegan “ice cream” similar to Cashew Cream.
While all this sounds decadent and expensive, Kupfert & Kim offers their creations in clean, bright surroundings and exceptional value considering the size of their portions. Nobody leaves hungry. Most of their Menu is in the lower $10+ range, meaning you don’t have to pay “organic” prices for organic quality.
We hear alcoholic offerings are down the pipe and of course, their coffee is direct-trade, organic and a cut above coffee chains. Smoothies also are an option in addition to three varieties of Kombucha.
For more on Kupfert & Kim, visit here.
Dawn Lupul, Mark Kupfert and Mr. Will:
(Photo credit: Mr. Will Wong)