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Food & Drink

What’s on the menu at Away Kitchen and Cafe, Awai Restaurant’s (also) vegan sibling in Little Italy

By Caroline Aksich| Photography by Caroline Aksich
What's on the menu at Away Kitchen and Cafe, Awai Restaurant's (also) vegan sibling in Little Italy

Name: Away Contact: 680 College St., 416-536-0195, @awaykitchencafe
Neighbourhood: Little Italy Previously: Starbucks Owner: Roger Yang (Awai)

The food

At Little Italy’s new vegan cafe, the concise menu includes breakfast (bagels, granola), salads and sandwiches, and snacks (seed crackers, cookies, mini empanadas). The dishes don’t stay true to any cuisine, and the only common denominator is that everything is vegan and made from scratch, right down to the bagels and seitan. Away’s atypical kitchen hierarchy drives the peripatetic menu. “We’re a peer-managed team,” says pastry chef Megan Walsh. “The food really is a collaborative effort,” adds baker Eli Erickson.

What's on the menu at Away Kitchen and Cafe, Awai Restaurant's (also) vegan sibling in Little Italy
There are two types of empanadas on offer: sweet potato and creamy vegetable. All orders come with a chimichurri-style dip. $6.

 

What's on the menu at Away Kitchen and Cafe, Awai Restaurant's (also) vegan sibling in Little Italy
Baker Eli Erickson is using locally grown and milled flours to make his long-fermented breads. This bagel sits for a 36-hour ferment before being boiled in barley malt syrup then tossed in the oven. The cream cheese is made in-house from cultured cashews. $5.

 

What's on the menu at Away Kitchen and Cafe, Awai Restaurant's (also) vegan sibling in Little Italy
Earlier in the spring, the soup was porcini and truffle. It’s been replaced with this almond-grape-cucumber gazpacho. $6.

 

What's on the menu at Away Kitchen and Cafe, Awai Restaurant's (also) vegan sibling in Little Italy
The seitan in this sandwich was adapted from a Thai sausage recipe. Galangal, lime leaf, cilantro, chilies and lemongrass are integrated into the protein. The sandwich, served on a house-made potato roll, is finished with cilantro, perilla leaf, carrot, daikon and kohlrabi. $11.

 

What's on the menu at Away Kitchen and Cafe, Awai Restaurant's (also) vegan sibling in Little Italy
This red velvet cake gets its hue from beets. It’s frosted with a mix of coconut cream and cashew cheese. $3.75.

 

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What's on the menu at Away Kitchen and Cafe, Awai Restaurant's (also) vegan sibling in Little Italy
Here’s the whole team.

 

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The drinks

Away is currently applying for a liquor license. Until that goes through, they’re serving refreshing spritzers, kombuchas and sparkling water–diluted shrubs. There are also espresso-based drinks (including cold brew) made from De Mello Palheta. Coming soon: house-made nut milks.

What's on the menu at Away Kitchen and Cafe, Awai Restaurant's (also) vegan sibling in Little Italy
The flavours of house-made kombucha rotate regularly. At time of this shoot, it was mixed berry. $4.70.

 

What's on the menu at Away Kitchen and Cafe, Awai Restaurant's (also) vegan sibling in Little Italy
A verjus-lime leaf spritzer rimmed with lime leaf and salt. $5.
The space

Lush plant- and ivy-covered walls animate the narrow 30-seat space, previously a Starbucks. They’re hoping to open the patio soon, which will wrap around the front and up Beatrice Street.

What's on the menu at Away Kitchen and Cafe, Awai Restaurant's (also) vegan sibling in Little Italy
What's on the menu at Away Kitchen and Cafe, Awai Restaurant's (also) vegan sibling in Little Italy
What's on the menu at Away Kitchen and Cafe, Awai Restaurant's (also) vegan sibling in Little Italy
There are 30 seats inside, including a long high-top perfect for laptop-toting freelancers.

 

What's on the menu at Away Kitchen and Cafe, Awai Restaurant's (also) vegan sibling in Little Italy
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