Before I say anything else, I want to thank you all so much for your wonderful, wonderful comments on my blogiversary post. You made me feel even more bubbly and supported than ever, and I’m very grateful to you for that. Now, back to some adventuring…
Some of you might remember that, awhile ago, I mentioned I had booked a visit to my brother, E.TeacherLord, in Melbourne. Well, the time has come [the walrus said]. In actuality, the time came yesterday, as today is my second day in this city of the ever-changing weather*. And while I have a backlog of chocolate and recipe posts to write up, I can’t help jumping the queue to post about the place my brother and I went for dinner last night.
It’s a place that:
- I was so excited about that I could barely contain myself in the lead-up,
- serves food I’ve never tried,
- I had to appeal to my brother’s adventurous spirit in order to get him to go to.
Yong Green Food.
Raw. Vegan. Magnificence.
I first heard about this restaurant via blogs such as where’s the beef? and In The Mood For Noodles, but it was these two raw goddesses who really stoked the not-above-105°F-fire of my raw excitement.
My brother, however, was less convinced of the potential deliciousness of raw food:
I countered his squeamish face with a stern-yet-hopeful expression of my own:
Having read at least 15 reviews of Yong Green Food, I knew that the Rawsagna came highly recommended. Despite my brother initially thinking he’d order one of the non-raw options on the menu, we decided to go full-bore with novelty food after my parents generously offered to pay for our meal in absentia.
So, he ordered the Rawsagna ($14.95) which, according to the menu, is made of “layered zucchini with mushroom, onion, cashew cream, and raw tomato sauce”.
And you know what? It was delicious. There was far more involved than the simple menu description implied, and the mix of creamy, savoury, herby, rich-cashews-permeated-with-intense-tomato-y flavours were utterly satisfying. As E.TeacherLord said, it tasted nothing like a traditional beef lasagne, but if you took it as something entirely unique, it was great.
I thought it tasted a little bit like an amalgamation of super rich tasty dips.
I ordered what I’m going to call Raw Sushi, although the menu called it Mock Salmon Roe ($9.95). This was described as “carrots wrapped in nori with sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, capsicum, cucumber, avocado and cashew cream. Served with wasabi sauce”. I really enjoyed the freshness of this, and loved the textural contrast of the slightly-crunchy “rice” against the creamy avocado and fresh vegetables, shot through with nubbins of seeds. The sauce was fantastic, too, with a super-intense spicy punch.
We also ordered a Mango Lassi to share, which was made of mango, almond milk, banana, and agave. This led to a heated debate about how I’m not Australian enough because mangoes aren’t my favourite fruit. Ergo I refuse to talk any more about this aspect of the meal (although the drink itself was nice enough).
However, there was one reason, and one reason only, that had truly spurred my Yong Green Food raw excitement.
First off, it amused me that the table next to us, with three older-than-my-brother-and-I adults, shared one slice of cheesecake. My brother and I were never going to order less than one each. Just so you know.
We suffered a moment of sadness when we discovered that the (non-raw) pumpkin pie on the menu wasn’t available, but soon regrouped and made our orders. One Raw Blueberry Cheesecake ($8.80) made with “cashew, coconut oil, agave, almonds, sunflower seeds, sultana, dates, coconut” and one Raw Carrot Cake ($8.80) made with “hazelnuts, walnuts, cashew, carrot, agave, coconut butter, vanilla, lemon, spices”.
Both looked beautiful, but I have to say the winner for both my brother and me was the Raw Carrot Cake. And because my brother is not only funny, intelligent and the best teacher in the world, but also generous, he let me switch our plates and have more of “his” carrot cake than “my” cheesecake.
The cheesecake was still fantastic, though. Denser and smoother in texture than the other dessert, and very rich. The dominant flavour was coconut, though, which is perhaps why I was more interested in the Carrot Cake.
The Carrot Cake was divine. We actually both thought it tasted like the pumpkin pie we’d missed out on, with its plentiful spice notes and subtle sweetness. The icing, which I assume was predominately coconut butter, did have a slight cream cheese-ish tang when tasted on its own. Oh, and I absolutely nabbed the sole hazelnut for myself.
Overall, I loved this meal. For the food itself, for the novelty factor, for the fact that my brother was open and even enthusiastic about trying it, for the fact that he liked it, for the fact that our parents paid for it (thanks parents!) and because afterwards, I got to spend a few hours hanging out with my brother while he played guitar and I danced to this song, and because his housemates are all incredibly friendly and fun. Hurrah!
* I was on the phone to my mother ten minutes ago, and when she asked what the weather was like, I looked out the window and said “bright blue skies”. Now? It’s raining. I kid you not.