How A Vegan Hotspot Has Redefined Healthy Dining

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Zend is redefining health through it’s immaculately presented and equally delicious, 100 percent plant-based dishes. This vegan hotspot is the perfect place to gather with friends for a unique, mouth watering dining experience.

Owner; Steven Curtis, rid himself of cancer through a non-medicated path and wants to share the wisdom he has gathered from ancient healers, botanists, shamans, immunologists, naturopaths, doctors, and researchers. He is able to do this through his carefully thought out health-focused, plant-based menu, and perfectly concocted botanical drinks. Not only does the menu scream health, but every Tuesday Zend puts on interactive dinners where guest speakers come to inform the diners on a range of topics all surrounding well-being. Plus, all profits made are donated to different charities chosen and voted on by Zend’s members. Curtis’ wish to start a movement of natural healing, giving back to the people, and creating a community is well on its way.

Zend projects a relaxed, and calming vibe from the second you walk through their doors. They have created a nature meets industrial setting filled with a wood panelled wall and open circular booths. They have painted a tree branch that runs the length of a full wall complete with words to live by: belief, compassion, clarity, community are among those etched onto the leaves. Not only does the décor make you feel welcomed but so does the staff. Our waitress was incredible; she was friendly, upbeat, and extremely knowledgeable.

Zend’s creative menu puts your mind at ease, knowing that you are putting all-natural, nutrient-rich foods into your body. My guest and I had a chance to taste a few of their dishes and let me tell you, they were phenomenal.

We started our tasting experience with two of their healing botanical drinks. The Einstein was an uplifting and revitalizing drink made up of zend (kava), carrots, oranges, ginger, and lion’s mane. Lion’s mane is a medicinal mushroom known for stimulating nerve growth as well as improving cognitive function. The Amour was a soothing drink composed of zend, vanilla almond milk, orange zest, cinnamon, and ginseng. Zend is the establishment’s signature elixir and is mixed in to many of their drinks or can be taken alone. Zend is known to have a relaxing effect and help people who suffer from stress, anxiety, and depression.

After having enjoyed our drinks we dug into sunchoke and onion tart. The crust was made of buckwheat flour, arrowroot, flax, and coconut oil giving it a nice earthy taste. The filling, comprised of sunchokes, garlic, and mushrooms, complimented the sweet caramelized onion perfectly.

Sunchoke Onion Tart
Sunchoke Onion Tart

Next was a raw dish: the carrot and ginger dumplings. These non-traditional dumplings were filled with cumin, avocado, sunflower seeds, chickpea miso, and mushroom powder. Each bite burst with flavour and were served on top of finely chopped pumpkin, walnut “rice” and generously drizzled with a (coconut) creamy carrot and sage sauce. The balance of sweet and savoury with underlying citrus flavour was to die for.

Carrot and Ginger Dumplings
Carrot and Ginger Dumplings

Next we tried the in-house dehydrated zucchini and red pepper tacos. These tacos were filled with ground sunflower seeds, chickpea miso, coconut nectar, onion, and were topped with dollop of pico de gallo and guacamole. The cumin and chilli spices gave these tacos a nice kick. The dehydrated shell was a mix between the traditional hard and soft shells making it a lot less messy to eat.

In-house Dehydrated Tacos
In-house Dehydrated Tacos

To finish off we opted for the triple chocolate torte. This rich torte was a nice change from overly sweet desserts; it offered a nice dark, bitter taste. The cocoa and walnut crust was a great compliment to the smooth avocado, cacao butter, and date filling. Needless to say by the end of the night we were content and feeling rejuvenated.

Triple Chocolate Torte
Triple Chocolate Torte

Zend has done a great job of emphasizing health through their meticulous menu choices, ensuring that each ingredient is beneficial to your body. For vegans and non vegans on the search for full-flavoured, healthy dishes, I highly recommend taking a stroll down Mainland Street to try this exquisite lounge; your body and taste buds will thank you.