It’s good to get out of your comfort zone right? I’ve inadvertently eaten vegan dishes a few times, what with the whole not getting on so well with dairy, but raw food is a new experience. So when an evening of vegan raw food in conjunction with Jay Halford of J’s Organic was listed on Warehouse Cafe’s facebook, I thought it was worth a try. And somehow I convinced a group of friends decided to accompany me.
In one of those ways Alanis Morrisette would sing about, I’d managed to eat a full English breakfast and some pork scratchings earlier in the day (which isn’t exactly the norm for me) – something was telling me my stomach was not as curious about this vegan raw food thing as my brain! But after a cocktail for courage at Le Truc, we moseyed on to the Warehouse Cafe to try something new.
On arrival it was nice to see a sort of group dynamic with the tables being in a giant horseshoe formation and a good mix of people. There’s always that stereotype of vegan raw foodists being a bit “right on”, so it was nice to see this wasn’t the case.
Once everyone was seated we were presented with a drink – a raspberry lemonade, of sorts, the lemon giving a natural fizz and some sort of superfood that I didn’t quite catch the name of (and probably best, I’m deeply suspicious of things called ‘superfoods’). Tart but tasty, this was an excellent aperitif.
The first course was a beetroot gazpacho with a sort of hazelnut cracker– a lovely summery soup with a cracker that had a nice zing to it. The sort of thing you’d eat somewhere and not really think about it being vegan.
Main course was the pun-entitled chia non carne, a chia seed mixture, with parsnip rice. I’ve heard a lot about chia seeds, but mainly adding them into smoothies rather than the star of a dish, and I found the texture of the chilli to jelly-like, which was a bit off-putting. The parsnip rice however was delicious – somehow buttery and something that I’d happily eat again, ditto the parsnip crisps as garnish. But this was the course which divided opinion the most – there were meals barely touched and others mopping up seconds.
The final course, the dessert, was a show stopper. A sort of millionaire shortbread/cheesecake with a chocolate mousse this was the kind of thing that could convince any carnivore of the merits of raw-food veganism. I wasn’t a massive fan of the banana chocolate mousse, which was a little too bitter for my liking and felt like it could’t done with some sugar, but the cheesecake was delightful.
This was certainly a more unusual food experience than in usually found in Birmingham. It opened up the possibilities of what vegan raw food can be; a familiar dish you wouldn’t know was such, a no nonsense vegan raw food main and a dessert that showed that the movement can mimic well-loved food surprisingly well. I’m not sure I’d be in a rush to indulge in vegan raw food all the time, but the night certainly opened my eyes to the possibility of some tasty food minus the meat and heat.