FOOD FIGHT: Indigo Age’s mixed greens are a mixed bag

While the sauce on the zucchini pasta was disappointing the cabbage rolls were exceptional.

A colourful new sign on Richards Street beside MacLeod’s Books entices passersby down steep steps to an adorable vegan, gluten-free cavern: Indigo Age. My friend and I were not immune to this sign’s alluring appeal.

The interior reminded me distinctly of a cozy storybook cottage with its stone, brick, and wood elements. The authentic and warm atmosphere is mirrored by the surprisingly lovely plating of the unique Ukrainian-fusion vegan food, and the friendly service.

Indigo Age has kombucha on tap, so of course that was what we tried first. Though, admittedly, I am not a fan of kombucha thanks to one morning of stupidity, having drunk an entire bottle on an empty stomach. If you love yourself, I don’t recommend it. Thankfully, the rose kombucha was wonderful, tasting like a light and floral cider. The chai kombucha on the other hand made me wince at the overwhelming, pungent taste and smell of condensed chai spices. If the rose kombucha was a gentle prance in my mouth, the chai kombucha was an angry elephant stomp.

The cabbage rolls were phenomenal; I couldn’t believe the Ukrainian meat-filled favourite could be replicated so well in vegan form. The inside mix had strong flavours of dill, and nailed the signature taste of cabbage rolls — the comfort food nostalgia was intense.

The zucchini pasta with marinated portobello mushroom steak was nothing extraordinary. Though eating a “pasta” that is incredibly high in nutrients always feels good, I can’t help but look at it and think it’s a glorified salad. The pesto and cashew cheese sauce was unique, but the mild flavour and the repetitive taste notes got intensely boring before I got halfway through the dish. The marinated portobello steak was tender and salty, which helped cut through the dull flavour of the pasta, but there wasn’t enough to do it justice.

I had the green monster smoothie and was intensely disappointed, as it tasted more like a watered down juice. The overpowering mint flavour completely muffled the zing of pineapple I was expecting. The avocado mayhem ‘mylk-shake’ that my friend ordered was exponentially better — creamy and just the right amount of sweet — but was missing the pow of the matcha listed in the ingredients.

For dessert, we went all out and ordered three: key lime pie, berry ‘cheesecake,’ and tiramisu. The key lime pie was sweet rather than zesty, and the coconut topping was a decadent delight. The berry ‘cheesecake’ had a strange tofu-like texture, leaving a film on the tongue that I couldn’t get over — even with the rich flavour of the cake. The tiramisu had an intense coffee flavour and a dense texture, and although I could do without the graininess of the coconut topping, I enjoyed this cake the most.

Indigo Age is a proud supporter of local BC farms, specifically Roots Organic, G J Farm, and Two EE’s Farm. The service was friendly and the place bubbled with local chatter. This vegan café’s ethics and health-focus make a difference in the dishes they serve — even if those dishes are hit and miss.