Hometown Sports Grill on Bank Street just recently introduced an entire vegan menu and my friends and I are too hyped about it. Chickpea tacos, pizza, spaghettini bolognese and cauliflower wings are just some of the options. Not to mention that they have a vegan DESSERT. Yes, you read that right… and it’s a decadent chocolate cake too. Why am I crying in the club right now?
First things first, if there are cauliflower wings on the menu then you already know I’m ordering them. These golden nuggets are covered in a Thai style sauce and are comparable in price to famous Pure Kitchen cauli-wings. If you’ve had the PK wings and love them as much as I do, then just know that you’ll fall in love with these as well. One noticeable difference between the two is that Hometown uses a Thai-style sauce, while Pure Kitchen uses a Korean BBQ (you can also order them Buffalo-style). I personally enjoyed both sauces, but my heart still belongs to that Korean BBQ. Also, the Hometown wings are cut into more manageable pieces, slightly less crispy then their competitor and not served with chopsticks. Everyone knows if there are chopsticks set on the table then you have to use them, leaving some us feeling like uncultured failures (and quite frankly, swine). Overall, I really loved Hometown’s cauliflower wings and would definitely bring my meat-eating family and friends here to try them.
Digging deeper into their menu reveals a huge vegan lasagna, complete with garden salad and garlic bread. Now, I really appreciate the effort that Hometown has put into their new menu. I mean they even have vegan garlic bread; that’s pretty unheard of in Ottawa. The dish was beautifully presented and was served in a large portion (probably enough for two people), but in all honesty, I wasn’t a huge fan of it. The pepperoni was dry and crunchy and the spices were off in the “meat” sauce. That being said, the texture of the sauce, noodles, and cheese were all good. It’s possible that I caught them on an off-day. When I spoke to the waitress about it she said she would pass along my concerns with the chef and that they are still working out the kinks as the menu is brand new. She also mentioned that they are currently working out a deal with a local cashew cheese company which they are going to use in the lasagna instead of the Daiya which they are currently using. Seems like they are very open to criticism and are doing their best to include local ingredients as well.
My personal favourite on the menu (that I’ve tried so far) is the veggie burger. Okay, I’ve been vegan for almost two years now so I don’t really remember what a beef patty tastes like but this has to be the closest thing I’ve had. It’s not dry at all, super crispy, flavoured perfectly, and dressed up nicely with vegan chipotle sauce and tons of veggies. Even better, the bun is local, vegan, and so fluffy. Hands down this is the best veggie burger I’ve ever had – and it’s only $15! Oh yeah, and the fries are perfectly crispy and amazing as well.
The fact that they even have a vegan dessert option will have me going back for years to come. Coming from someone who has tried and experimented with lots of vegan cakes, pies and cookies over the years, they tend to be very dry and overly sugary due to attempting to make up for the dairy and eggs that can normally be found in these desserts. However, the chocolate mousse cake is To. Die. For. When the piece of cake first comes to your table, you might think it’s pretty small for $4.50. But that little piece is so chocolatey and decadent that it’s honestly the perfect size. Paired with fresh berries and dusted with icing sugar, this has to be the best vegan dessert in the city! Even better, it’s the cheapest item on the dessert menu by far. So you can pretty much have your cake, and eat it too.
The other items I haven’t tried yet but am so looking forward to trying next time include the tacos, a burrito bowl, and pizza! After trying the options that Hometown Sports Grill has put on their menu for vegans, vegetarians, or anyone looking to explore a meat-less world, I can confidently and completely recommend this place. It’s unique in Ottawa since there’s finally a place you can have a beer, watch a Sens game and eat some good plant-based food with your friends.