Generally when I go out for dinner I know exactly what I am going to order. Why? Because it is the only thing I can eat. Life as a vegetarian does not afford you many options when dining out (not that I am complaining, my diet is a personal choice and something I feel quite strongly about, plus it always ensures extra room for dessert), so it is nice to experience some more diversity. Usually there is one vegetarian entree, if that, and after awhile you really want to see something more creative than a veggie pasta or Mediterranean grilled vegetable flatbread. Thankfully that isn’t the case at The Coup, Calgary’s go-to exclusively vegetarian restaurant. This time it’s the meat-eaters that are left out of the party, unless they want to come over to the dark side and taste the wonderful world of vegetables. I was really excited to check out The Coup again, as they recently reopened following a renovation that meant a complete overhaul of the old space. It is much more open and airy, with plenty of seating, both inside and on the patio. They also have a living plant wall, filled with herbs from mint, to chives, all of which are watered daily and used in a number of their dishes. It’s aesthetically pleasing and practical too!
We started off the evening with a pitcher of sangria. It should be mandated that white wine, citrus, fruit juices, apricot brandy and gingerale be together at all times (and a glass of the aforementioned mixture also be in my hand at all times). Needless to say that was guzzled down fairly quickly.
Falafel quesadillas have always been a staple at The Coup so I wanted to step outside of my box and try the little nuggets of chickpea goodness in a different application; their club med salad. At first glance, it seems like the salad contains so many random ingredients but they all serve a purpose. Sundried tomatoes and banana peppers, with chopped pickles? And then tahini dressing? Stop analyzing it, just shut up and eat it. That’s all I have to say about that. Other than the fact that I will be adding chopped pickles to every salad I make from now until the end of time. I’m not pregnant, I swear. My friend had been experiencing tempeh shwarma withdrawal throughout the duration of The Coup’s closure so it was an obvious choice for her. She likened the feature black bean and fennel soup it was paired with to “a blended vegetarian chili of sorts”. It sure looked pretty darn hearty and satisfying to me.
Dessert was the one part of the meal that left me, well, confused, shall we say. I am still trying to wrap my head around it days later. Maybe creme brûlée is something that simply is not meant to be veganized but I give them props for trying. According to our server, they whip coconut cream and then add in flax eggs and agar agar to help set it. The texture ended up just a tad more gelatinous than I would have liked but it’s the flavour that had us both stumped. The flax left a very savoury aftertaste – not unpleasant per se, but not what you would associate with dessert. Then the brûléed cane sugar on top, well it just didn’t taste the same as regular burnt sugar. I don’t know what to say, I am just kind of baffled by it all. Yet I would probably order it again, so what does that mean? I guess it sums up The Coup quite eloquently, they leave you guessing but you always end up coming back for more.