The Doug McNish Experience

Once in a while, Nick and I like to dine at a gourmet vegan restaurant. We realize the experience is not about foods that are healthily prepared, but it’s more about the innovative foods created by the chef. Making this exception, we ventured out to experience Doug McNish’s creation at his Public Kitchen.

What drew us to Public Kitchen was because of Doug McNish. Doug is a vegan chef that is known for his innovative dishes, both raw and cooked. He wrote three recipe books, and all three of them have won awards, with his most recent accolade in Paris, “Best Vegan Cookbook in the World, 2015” by the World Gourmand Cookbook Awards.

What we admire about Doug the most is his dedication to organic food. Unlike most restaurants, he makes pretty much everything on the menu himself, and everything is all organic. No exceptions. He does not skimp on organic ingredients, and we greatly appreciate this.

“Good food is not cheap. Cheap food is not good.” — Doug McNish

Our dining experience at Public Kitchen was for brunch. We’d like to eat there for dinner, but dinner is only offered on Thursday and Friday evenings, so we visited for brunch first. We hope to visit for dinner later before leaving Toronto.

For this lunch outing, Nick had the Pressed Reuben. What Nick loved about the sandwich were the house-made seitan, spicy pickle, cashew mozzarella, and the fresh side salad. What he didn’t enjoy about it was how greasy it was. I think anyone transitioning over to a vegan diet would have really appreciated this and wouldn’t have been bothered by the grease. We follow a no oil, whole food plant-based (raw and cooked) diet, so we’re really sensitive to grease, especially cooked oils. Nevertheless, Nick said the sandwich was tasty and thought the quality of the sandwich excellent.

Pressed Reuben: house-made, cured and shaved seitan corned beef piled high with sauerkraut, topped with russian dressing, melted cashew cheese on thick-cut, sourdough olive bread from Humblebread, griddled until golden and crisp, with house salad

A lot of Doug’s dishes for brunch revolve around his “egg” creation. I’ve never been a fan of Egg’s Benedict, so I didn’t go for that dish. However, I went for the Omelette of the Week. It was my first time trying a vegan omelette, and thanks to Doug, I enjoyed it. What I was impressed by was the cashew mozzarella, which tasted amazing, and the texture was really good as well. The omelette itself was soft and fluffy and held together real nice. The ingredients were sautéed in oil, which made the omelette greasy but I expected that, so I wasn’t too bothered by it. The fresh side salad was also very nice and tasty as well. And the tempeh bacon had a nice flavor to it. It does not taste like bacon, which is a good thing because I never liked bacon even before being plant-based and found it repulsive.

Omelette of the Week: fluffy tofu omelette with spinach, cashew mozzarella, sun-dried tomatoes, and onions, served with fresh house salad, tempeh bacon, and cashew butter and toast

Nick skipped out on dessert but sampled my Ice Cream Sundae. This sundae was amazing! The cacao nibs and marshmallow inside the sundae were yummy. The dehydrated slice of orange was interesting and tasty as well — a combination of crumbly zest and sweetness. My only complaint about the sundae was that it was such a small serving for the price.

Ice Cream Sundae of the Week

Our overall brunch experience at Public Kitchen was decent. The place got raving reviews, and I can see why, but for the health conscious plant-based folks, this may be hit or miss. We did enjoy it, but we suspect we’ll enjoy the dinner menu even more. If we head back, I’ll report back with our reviews later on.


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