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Food & Drink

What’s on the menu at Away Kitchen and Café, a new plant-based pizza parlour on Queen West

By Caroline Aksich| Photography by Caroline Aksich
What's on the menu at Away Kitchen and Café, a new plant-based pizza parlour on Queen West

Name: Away Kitchen and Café Contact: 536 Queen St. W., 416-519-3451, awaykitchen.com, @awaykitchen
Neighbourhood: Queen West Previously: Death In Venice Gelato Owner: Roger Yang (Awai)

The food

Where Awai (Yang’s upscale Bloor West Village concept) is about fine-dining, Away is a more casual affair. During the day, the space functions as a low-key café serving coffee alongside sandwiches, cheese boards and pizzas. In the evening, the lights dim and Away transforms into a more traditional dinner destination. Regardless of the time of day, everything at this plant-based eatery (bread, pickles, pizza dough, nut-based cheeses, pastries) is made in-house, including the pizza dough that chef Dualco De Labio spent two years perfecting.

What's on the menu at Away Kitchen and Café, a new plant-based pizza parlour on Queen West
The plant-based cheese board changes regularly, reflecting what’s in season. Here we have a smoked gouda, some almond pâté, and a goat cheese made from macadamia nuts. The pickles and veggie accompaniments rotate, but every board always comes with beets three-ways (fresh, smoked, pickled). $19.

 

What's on the menu at Away Kitchen and Café, a new plant-based pizza parlour on Queen West
The Waldorf sandwich is a play on the classic salad. Chicken is swapped out for chickpeas, and the mayo is an emulsion of almond milk, vinegar, lemon juice and oil. It comes with a sherry vinaigrette-dressed side salad. $12.

 

What's on the menu at Away Kitchen and Café, a new plant-based pizza parlour on Queen West
The Quatro Formaggi pizza comes in two permutations: red and white. This white version is made with a cauliflower sauce, and the four cheeses are hemp cheddar, a macadamia nut-based goat, almond-cultured ricotta and cashew mozzarella. A few microgreens add a splash of colour. $17.

 

What's on the menu at Away Kitchen and Café, a new plant-based pizza parlour on Queen West
Here’s the red version of that same pie. $17.

 

What's on the menu at Away Kitchen and Café, a new plant-based pizza parlour on Queen West
The baked jackfruit on this pie has a pulled pork-like texture and taste because it’s spiced with cumin and Mexican chili powder. A tahini-derived ranch dressing replica, hemp cheddar, pineapple bits and some San Marzano-cut barbecue sauce and green onions complete it. $17.

 

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What's on the menu at Away Kitchen and Café, a new plant-based pizza parlour on Queen West
The Mediterranean pizza tops a San Marzano base with toasted artichoke hearts, lemon pepper-roasted garlic and cashew mozzarella. It’s finished with a maple-balsamic reduction, shaved walnuts and few basil sprouts. $17.

 

What's on the menu at Away Kitchen and Café, a new plant-based pizza parlour on Queen West
The Florence is the only green pizza on offer. For it, a pesto base is topped with white wine-simmered cremini mushrooms, red wine-stewed cherry tomatoes (which are then sundried), cultured almond ricotta cheese and pickled shallots. $17.

 

What's on the menu at Away Kitchen and Café, a new plant-based pizza parlour on Queen West
This mushroom pot pie (filled with a creamy blend of king and standard oyster mushrooms, peas and carrots) has a super-flaky crust. The secret, apparently, is ice water and apple cider vinegar. It’s served with mushroom gravy. $14.

 

What's on the menu at Away Kitchen and Café, a new plant-based pizza parlour on Queen West
The fondue recipe is top-secret-the only thing the chefs would tell us is that there’s white wine involved, and that the Italian bread bowl is baked in-house. $15.

 

What's on the menu at Away Kitchen and Café, a new plant-based pizza parlour on Queen West
The aji panca-marinated maitake is seared before going in the oven. The resulting steak-like texture is complimented by a dollop of chimichurri. It comes with two king oyster mushrooms, a miso caesar salad and roasted potatoes. $19.

 

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What's on the menu at Away Kitchen and Café, a new plant-based pizza parlour on Queen West
Salted caramel apple tart. $8.

 

What's on the menu at Away Kitchen and Café, a new plant-based pizza parlour on Queen West
Strawberry-basil Death in Venice sorbet with mango and a sesame biscuit. $10.

 

What's on the menu at Away Kitchen and Café, a new plant-based pizza parlour on Queen West
Yang ditched the standard top-down kitchen structure in favour of a collaborative culinary approach. Here, employees work together to create the menu, and participate in profit-sharing.

 

The drinks

During the day, you can grab all of the espresso-based cafe standards, along with cold brew, kombucha and tea lattes. In the evening (along with everything already mentioned) there are cocktails made with fresh juice and house-made kombucha. Most of them are available in non-alcoholic permutations, too.

What's on the menu at Away Kitchen and Café, a new plant-based pizza parlour on Queen West
The Melon Smash is made with mint, lime, cantaloupe juice, honey dew nectar, cucumber and gin. $14. (Available as a mocktail for $7.)

 

The space

The 50-seat space, previously a dark and broody room, has been given (literal) life with living walls, live-edge tables and sweeping pastoral murals by artist Vizsla Bacon.

What's on the menu at Away Kitchen and Café, a new plant-based pizza parlour on Queen West
What's on the menu at Away Kitchen and Café, a new plant-based pizza parlour on Queen West
What's on the menu at Away Kitchen and Café, a new plant-based pizza parlour on Queen West

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