raw vegan evening

amidst the packing frenzy here, i thought i'd quickly write about my experience at saf restaurant last night. it's a place i've wanted to try for quite a while now, having been reviewed by vegan and non-vegan food lovers alike. their reputation precedes them in this town as being a great restaurant first, and a raw vegan paradise second. phil and i joined our friends josh and tom for dinner and we quickly settled in with a bottle of organic, vegan syrah. this is certainly not an earthy-crunchy restaurant - this is high-class, finest-quality stuff (and the check at the end of the night reflected as much).

unfortunately, i was too enamored with my meal to stop and take photos - but luckily there are other people out there in the world who have sampled saf's cuisine and managed to photograph their dinner much better than i ever could!

my starter was a raw cannelloni - the "ricotta" filling was made out of cashews, the "pasta" was made out of courgette. see a photo here, courtesy of veganbackpacker on flickr. i can't stress enough how similar to ricotta cheese this cashew cheese tasted. it was brilliant, a wonderful anomaly, and i can't wait to try and create my own cashew cheese one day.

the main i chose was forced to order because all other mains contained soy was the risotto. my first choice was a "fettucine" made out of salsify, but the mushrooms in the dish were marinated in soy (as are all the mushrooms at saf, fyi), so it wasn't meant to be. the photo below displays a mushroom risotto, but mine was asparagus. despite my lack of options, this one turned out to be a winner.

photo by alexthepink on flickr

and finally for dessert (i was able to have a real dessert!!!), the raw cheesecake, again made out of cashews, coconut, and raspberry coulis. again, the photo below doesn't depict the exact same dish that i had, but it gives you an idea of the style of presentation at saf and the fact that it looks like a "normal" slice of cake...

i'm not sure i'd visit saf again, for a few reasons, one of which is its location (clear on the other side of town, taking over an hour to get from our door to theirs). they do have an outpost at the kensington whole foods now, so maybe that will change my mind. but it was a great experience overall, lots of fun flavors, and fabulous to dine out worry-free with our veggie friends. we've got a list going now of other vegan restaurants around town that we'd like to try, so this may become a regular thing - i just hope they all serve cashew-based creamy desserts like saf :)