Photos by Ian of firstcomesrock.com
The Vegetarian Kitchen has been around since 1990 and is considered one of the pioneering vegetarian restaurants in the country. It had closed a few years later, only to reopen in April of 2012. A family of vegetarians, the Soliongcos, run it and are entirely hands-on with everything from the menu planning to the cooking and the restaurant service–a true testament to their passion for food and cooking.
It all started when the family matriarch, Tita Soliongco, was forced to change the way the family ate. After being bored with “conventional” boiled or steamed vegetarian fare, Tita challenged herself and reinvented traditional family recipes to suit the vegetarian palate. It resulted in a repertoire of exciting dishes that were thoughtfully developed for both vegetarians and meat eaters alike.
Reading through the chalkboard menu is such a pleasant surprise. Spareribs, lengua, fish sticks, prawns, caldereta, meatloaf–these dishes are not exactly vegetarian, but vegetable meat alternatives made it possible to recreate home-cooked family favorites with a healthier twist.
If you are craving something with a little spice, order the Vegetarian Shrimp Curry with Yellow Brown Rice & Fresh Mango Slices. It is a recently developed dish and it is still not on the menu, but you might want to try and ask if the kitchen has it available. Each component of the dish makes up a perfect spoonful with the sweetness of the mango balancing the heat of the curry. This will, for sure, be a new bestseller.
The Crispy Sesame Fish Sticks (P190) are served in a bowl and rest on a bed of kimchi fried rice with steamed bok choy. The kimchi rice is mildly spiced hence not overpowering, and the bok choy is sprinkled with flavorful nori flakes, which add an interesting crunch.
If you are in the mood for breakfast food at any time of the day, try the Crispy Vege Danggit with Tofu Tomato Scramble, Camote Tops Salad, & Fried Rice (P220). The vege danggit is light and non-greasy, while the tofu tomato scramble is flavored with turmeric and salt and intends to simulate eggs; it is a vegan meal after all.
The camote tops salad that came with the vege danggit makes for a tasty side dish.
If you are not in the mood for rice meals, we recommend the Couscous Paella with Curried Shrimp Tempura & Eggless Wasabi Mayo (P220). Olives, carrots, beans, and juicy cherry tomatoes are spooned over the couscous, lending a Mediterranean flavor. The curried “shrimp” and all of the vegetable meat alternatives surprisingly taste similar to real animal proteins, and they intend to mimic the texture of real meat.
The Orange Cheesecake (P140) is a perfect end to a good meal. Creamy and moist with the right amount of citrus flavor, it is not airy as most cheesecakes go.
All of the restaurant’s main dishes are well under P300, and the portions are generous. The Soliongcos continually develop new dishes, and cook through the seasons based on what is affordable and locally available. The menu is also constantly evolving based on customer requests and suggestions. Most of the dishes, in fact, have now been tweaked to suit vegan diets, meaning nothing contains dairy and other animal byproducts.
The Vegetarian Kitchen is a great place not only for those who follow vegetarian diets, but also for people who want to eat better. It definitely opens up a new world of possibilities to healthier eating.
Vibrant vegetarian plates
The restaurant space is painted in cheery orange-yellow tones, seats about 20 people and can accommodate 8 more in the space outside. TVK can accommodate small private parties as well
Also published on http://kristn.com
The Vegetarian Kitchen
62B Mother Ignacia Avenue, Quezon City
Open Tuesdays to Saturdays: 11:00 am – 9:00 pm