Good vegan food that tripped on the final hurdle…badly
Pabu Grill and Sake is a new Japanese restaurant on Smith street that we stumbled upon the other night.
The first page of the menu was the 'Chef's Banquet', with one option labelled in bold 'Vegetarian' and directly below labelled again 'Vegan Dishes - $50'. There wasn't another price listed for Vegetarian, so this banquet appeared to be all vegan by default! Great news, however I did find the vegan labelling pretty confusing throughout the menu. Everything vegetarian was clearly identified, but only some vegan dishes were labelled as vegan - or they were labelled as vegan in the banquet, but then not in the rest of the menu. Confused? We were!
This is what we settled on:
Agedashi Tofu served with a sweet miso and rocket salad ($7.50) - 'melt in your mouth' tofu in a delicious sauce, yum - what more can I say.
Nasu Dengaku - grilled eggplant with sweet & spicy miso ($9) - topped with shredded nori and sesame seeds, the miso was so sweet and rich, making this one of the best versions of this dish I've had.
Mushroom Salad - variety of mushrooms in salad mix with cherry tomatoes ($13) - it would have been better to have more mushrooms and less salad mix, but it was still great. Renkon (sliced lotus root) chips added a delicious crunch and thin hairs of dried bell pepper added a subtle kick to the dish.
The dinner was ticking all my boxes, until we reached the final hurdle - dessert! None of the desserts were labelled as vegan, but I was told by a staff member that there were two vegan options: Yuzu Sorbet (Hand made lemon & Japanese citrus sorbet with mixed fruit - $8) and Daifuku (Cherry blossom & kuromame (black soybeans) rice cake - $6.50). Let me shout if from the mountain that
the Yuzu sorbet isn't vegan and I found out the hard way
- by tucking into a significant portion of it before realising to my horror that the taste of yoghurt in my mouth wasn't in my imagination - it was indeed a 'yoghurt sorbet'.
So a lovely dinner ended on a really sour note for me and if the vegan dishes had been labelled consistently it could have been avoided. I'm off to brush my teeth again.
Price: Reasonable prices, but dishes are small.