East is East – West Broadway – A Great Vancouver Vegan Eatery

by L Matthews on October 4, 2012

east is east vancouver vegan restaurant review

East is East is a great daytime and dinner option for Vancouver vegans and nonvegans.

I’ve been back in Vancouver for over a year now and yet still hadn’t ventured into East is East in Kits, between Blenheim and Trutch (3243 West Broadway). Despite having heard how they do the best vegan Chai in the city I just always seemed to be walking past on a mission so this week I convinced a weekly lunch buddy to switch from the increasingly lacklustre Naam to East is East instead.

It didn’t take much persuasion.

A Great Afghani, Middle-Eastern Restaurant Option in Vancouver

Greeted upon entering with free samples of tasty vegan Chai with a choice of soy or almond milk, it seemed the rumours about East is East being fabulous were all true. Things got even better upon looking at the menu which had so many vegan options it was a little overwhelming. Luckily, the plethora of lovely ladies kept checking in to see if we had any questions about the menu which is predominantly casual Middle-eastern, Afghani and Indian in nature. They were knowledgeable about veganism and the range of their menu, which is always a welcome relief to not have to explain things over and over again to unwilling listeners.

Eggplant Roti and Curried Tofu

Unfortunately, I forgot to bring my appetite as it was an early lunch and so I opted for a Roti with soup and salad rather than a main meal. I had the Gandhara Blues roti which included baked eggplant sauteed with herbs, tomato, onion, garlic and spices. I was torn between that and another vegan roti with whipped spinach and mushrooms known as Gandhi’s Breakfast but the opportunity to eat aubergine is one I rarely pass up as I rarely get to cook it in my house as I’m the only fan.

Free Vegan Chai – These Ladies Know How to Please!

As an additional bonus, we got our vegan chais for free as our meals took a little longer to come to the table than usual (they may have been changing kitchen staff as we went just before lunch hour). My friend had the Thai Tofu which included red peppers, lime leaves and ginger in a sweet and sour mango green curry. It looked delicious, was gluten-free (like many things on the menu) and disappeared pretty sharpish due to tastiness. Having devoured our food rather quickly I realised I’d failed to photograph it or offer any to my friend… oops! Next time.

A Nice Date Place?

East is East on West Broadway is a beautiful little place to hang out for a lazy lunch and, I imagine, a mid-morning or mid-afternoon Chai. I’ll have to go back in the evening at the weekend as I’m sure it would be a great little relaxed venue for hosting unusual musicians or acts on their little raised stage. Open from 10am to 11pm it’s looking set to become a good back-up for when I need to get out of the houes! I also imagine that East is East could be a wonderful romantic little place to snuggle with a date in the slightly more mood-lit part of the cafe, especially on a cold day when Chai is needed to warm the cockles.

My friend and I chose the lighter right-hand side of the place and it felt very airy and open but still managed to exude cosiness due to the lavish cushions, rugs, and general decor. Handcarved tables and benches give East is East a homely feel without being anything like a shady hippy joint. There is clear effort put into the furnishings and appearance of the place. It’s worth noting that East is East is not licenced to serve alcohol so Chai and iced teas and so forth will have to be your liquid refreshment. I don’t know if the new BYOB rules will affect this but I’ll ask next time I’m in!

East is East is Home, Perhaps?

Really, we could have just stayed all afternoon and I think I might start using it as a new place to work on occasion as I can get endless Chai and avoid the noise of the house demolition currently putting my nerves on edge at home. The staff managed to accomplish that difficult balancing act between ignoring you completely and being constantly annoying that so many restaurants and cafes fail at so we felt very comfortable and ensconced amongst the cushions, knowing refills and help were on hand should we need them. With delicious vegan chai, a range of rotis and curried tofu, chickpea-based dishes and other subtly spiced delights I fully intend on going back to eat a larger lunch at a later date; there’s also dessert to consider… including a vegan chocolate pudding with cherries. oh my.

east is east vancouver vegan restaurant fundraiser

I'm looking forward to visiting at dinner time when live music is often featured. c. East is East.

Silk Route Feast

East is East also has the option for a Silk Route Feast where you can choose two additional accompaniments to dhal soup, boulani, roti, salad, Afghan and coconut rice. This gives you free refills as well so is essentially an all-you-can-eat type affair. As many of the options are default vegan and the others can be veganised for the most part this is a great way to share and try lots of things, like the feasts at Nuba. Our server made sure to tell us to mention what needed to be vegan when ordering as some things have yoghurt or other dairy things added in but I had confidence that they’d not randomly throw cheese on a thing for the sake of it like in some establishments…

East is East is only a few blocks west (ironically) of my house so it might start feeling like home sometime very soon.

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