What’s on the menu at Virtuous Pie, a B.C.-based vegan pizza joint

What’s on the menu at Virtuous Pie, a B.C.-based vegan pizza joint

Name: Virtuous Pie
Contact: 611 College St., 647-729-9943, virtuouspie.com, @virtuous_pie
Neighbourhood: Little Italy
Founders: Jim Vesal and Lia Loukas
Chefs: Executive chef Jim Vesal and local lead Aaron Okada (Lasa, Lamesa)

The food

If you ignore the sanctimonious name, there’s little here to indicate that Virtuous Pie is a plant-powered pizza joint—the word “vegan” isn’t mentioned on the signs or menus. And, according to the Toronto location’s top chef Aaron Okada, that’s the point. “Often, people don’t realize they’re eating vegan food, but that’s a good thing,” Okada says. “I don’t want people to say, ‘That was good for a vegan pizza,’ I just want to serve great food.”

The pies are built on hand-stretched, three-day fermented dough, and topped with a variety of nut- and tofu-based cheeses. The three Virtuous Pie locations (one in Portland, two in Vancouver) share a core menu, and pizzas range from classics (like a Margherita) to kookier creations (the Stranger Wings pie, for instance, is basically what happens when “chicken” wings and pizza make a blasphemous baby).

The menu has two Toronto-specific offerings, including this broccolini side dish. Okada wanted to reflect how this city is irreverent when it comes to culinary borders, so this plate marries Indonesian and Italian flavours. The greens are topped with a bagna càuda that swaps out anchovies for miso, kecap manis (sweet soy sauce) and bawang goreng (deep-fried shallots). $9.

 

These house-made seitan meatballs come drowned in a smoky, peppery tomato sauce, and topped with a dollop of lemon ricotta. $10. (Add sourdough from Blackbird for an extra $2.)

 

The Stranger Wings takes cauliflower croquettes, douses them in Buffalo sauce, then throws those them on a white pizza that’s finished with a lashing of blue cheese sauce (made from nutritional yeast and vinegar). $15.

 

The Calabrese is topped with an Arrabiata sauce, a tofu-derived goat cheese, charred fennel, two types of olives, Calabrian chilies, fried capers and a few fennel fronds for colour. $13.

 

The one is made with San Marzano tomato sauce, soy-rizo (made by La Tortilleria), artichoke hearts, cashew mozzarella, hot honey and lemon-almond ricotta. $15.

 

Cashew- and coconut-based ice creams can be purchased by the pint, by the scoop, or by the flight. There are also ice cream sundaes (made with Glory Hole Doughnuts), ice cream floats (made with pop or kombucha) and ice cream sandwiches. Flights like this one (Marionberry cheesecake, coffee and doughnuts, spirulina-matcha) are $8.

 

Ice cream sandwich with bourbon vanilla ice cream on a gluten-free chocolate chip cookie. $8.

 

The drinks

Virtuous Pie serves wine, beer, cider and kombucha on tap, and places on emphasis on carrying a rotating selection of local products. The wine served on this particular day was Creekside (Jordan) and the tall cans included suds from Black Oak (Etobicoke) and Cameron’s Brewing Company (Oakville). There’s also free filtered, still and sparkling water on tap.

A selection of some of the boozy and non-boozy drinks.

 

The space

Local design duo Mason Studio was hired to decorate the 29-seat quick-service space. It’s bright and airy—and will be doubly so in the summer when the garage window is rolled up. Customers order at the counter, get a number and grab a seat.