If you’re anything like me, you have a mealtime internal monologue that goes something like this: ‘I know I should eat something green and leafy for a change but you know what? It’s cold/Friday/Monday/insert excuse here, and that triple-bacon, extra-cheese ciabatta seems like a far preferable option. I’ll start being healthy when it’s warmer/Monday/insert random deadline here.’
If you also need to trick yourself into eating real, healthy food for a change, might I suggest Plant?
Here are the facts, straight up: everything on Plant’s menu is 100% plant-based and preservative free. It’s suitable for vegans, vegetarians and sufferers of various dietary allergies (so you can have your gluten-free cake and eat it too).
But you know what else? It’s delicious. For years I’ve rolled my eyes at health nuts happily tucking into spiralised veggies and garden burgers as if someone had hidden some pork belly under all that vegetation. What were the chances of being truly satisfied unless a meal had the full complement of carbs and cholesterol to go with its health component, right?
Yes, I was wrong. Rolling out of Plant happily full is totally a thing. The fact that it feels like you’ve done your body a favour is just a bonus.
Cold-pressed juice and smoothies made from real ingredients (more spinach less peanut butter) are just the thing beverage-wise, or choose from the selection of Lady Bonin tea. If green is your thing, try a cup of matcha – something like green tea on steroids but with none of the rank taste of the store-bought stuff.
Plant is a popular lunch spot, so wraps, sandwiches, salads and burgers are the order of the day. The spicy mushroom rice paper rolls are definitely my ‘jam’, which probably has a lot to do with the home-made sweet chilli they’re served with. Whether you’re going sarmie or salad, you’ll be pleased to know that the Plant team makes their own dairy-free ‘cheese’ and eggless mayo, and they even smoke their own tempeh ‘bacon’.
You’re wondering how I said ‘burgers’ when we’re talking vegan? Think outside the take away box with options like the Beet Burger or Bunless Mexican Tower (fried black bean patties with all salsa, sour cream and avo).
The Vish also does vegan dining proud: nori-wrapped potato steak on a bed of rocket with tomato, onion and tartare. Unfortunately, the rocket seemed to have absconded from the establishment on the afternoon I ordered this (and with no notice from the kitchen, tsk tsk). I’d also recommend you go bunless with a side salad, as the ciabatta it’s served with can be overpowering.
Of course, you can’t be sensible all the time, and Plant knows that – you can pair your meal with craft beer, a cocktail or something from the hefty organic or BWI wine list. Then prepare to get a little giddy with the selection of baked treats, with raw chocolate featuring heavily. Because hey, it’s Monday/Friday/summer.
Where 8 Buiten Street, CBD
Opening times Mondays 8:30 am – 5 pm, Tuesday to Friday 8:30 am – 10 pm, Saturdays 8:30 am – 3 pm
Cost Average main R65
Need to know The Woodstock branch will be re-opening in November
Contact +27 21 422 2737, www.plantcafe.co.za
Photography Jade Taylor Cooke