By : MELISSA RICHTER
24 July 2019
“Hip-hip Hooray!”, there is finally a vegan restaurant in Bangkok worth shouting about. Centrally located on Sukhumvit 24 near the BTS, this is a bright and airy cafe that is oozing with charm. Newly opened in June 2019, it is the passion project of husband and wife team of Harsha and Navin Sethi who are responsible for the vegan pop up Mylk & Cheeze on Rama 3. Long-time vegetarians, this talented couple went vegan a year and a half ago and were inspired to create their own restaurant to enjoy more tasty vegan food in Bangkok. They then embarked on a global food tour visiting places such as Berlin, Bali, London, Amsterdam, and Paris to get inspiration which is reflected in their eclectic menu of Asian and European inspired dishes. “We wanted to make vegan food that isn’t boring. Food that looks good, tastes good and will appeal to non-vegans,” shared Harsha. Mission accomplished, because everything we tried on our visit was vibrant, flavor-forward, visually appealing and deliciously satisfying.
The venue is light and airy encompassing two levels with a “grab-n-go” juice and coffee cold case and a vegan ice cream counter on the first level offering delights such as the black sesame seed, peanut butter chocolate chip, mint chocolate chip, h?ji-cha, coconut and mango varieties to name just a few. They also have a small selection of frozen mini Mochi Ice Cream Sandwiches that are worth trying, especially the exceptional durian version.
Upstairs is an expansive, yet intimate main dining room with plenty of light, high ceilings, comfortable seating and a room-length bar with chairs that overlooks a glass wall to the street below. The color scheme is a relaxing white with painted concrete walls and ceramic tiles and as a plethora of potted plant life that hangs from the ceiling and is strategically placed throughout to evoke a causal indoor garden vibe.
On the beverage side, they differentiate themselves with house-made Kombucha, Wellness Shakes & Lattes, fresh-squeezed fruit, and vegetable Juices & Smoothies as well as specialty coffees such as that popular Keto staple, Bulletproof Coffee. We opted for the Peach & Passion Fruit Kombucha, which was not too sweet, and the smooth and creamy Peanut Butter Cacao Latte made with homemade peanut butter and almond milk. I also thoroughly enjoyed the bright and refreshing Garden Gangsta Smoothie made with kale, lemon, mango, pineapple, and mint.
The menu is focused and straightforward with a respectable selection of vegan food that will appeal to converts as well as carnivores. They offer starters, salads, sandwiches, “soul ” bowls, tacos and wraps as well as two limited kinds of pasta (which is a refreshing change) and their signature Ultimate Portobello Mushroom Burger or Steak. You can choose from playfully named dishes such as the “Space Balls” Mac & Cheese, the Lord of the Fries, Sushi-ritto.
We started out with a small mountain of Old Bay Calamari made from oyster mushrooms that are cut into perfect rings, covered in a well-spiced and super crunchy batter then served with a cool and refreshing homemade tartar sauce. Next up was the Ubud Gado Gado Salad which was Napa cabbage, grilled Cos lettuce, satay “tricken” (chicken substitute) with carrots, potatoes, rice crackers, and homemade peanut sauce. It was a textural delight, bursting with flavor that had me diving in for more with each tantalizing bite. My hands-down favorite dish of the day is their stunning Jackfruit Laarb Tacos which defied all expectations. The jackfruit is deep-fried so it stays super crunchy and works as the perfect vehicle for the salty, sweet, acidic laarb seasonings without being too spicy. Fresh greens round it out and soft tortillas make it easy to pick up and devour. Be sure to save room for dessert as they have an enviable selection including homemade donuts which are all naturally sweetened with coconut syrup or dates. You will want to check the dessert case as they change daily and on our visit, we settled for a scrumptious Passion Fruit Cheesecake. Vistro is undoubtedly a breath of fresh air. Unpretentious and laid back it's the perfect spot to wile away a few hours and fill up on guilt-free food and delectable vegan sweets.