Portland: Vegan at Departure Restaurant & Lounge

16th August 2012

It was my second time to dine at Portland’s Departure Restaurant & Lounge, as I’d mentioned, I barely had the time to return to Portland due to crazy travels and work. I would like to consider Departure as a special restaurant to return to, knowing that it is somewhere I would like to keep myself waiting to eat there. Departure Restaurant is known for its exciting vegan menu! And of course, my dearest friend Gregory who wears stylish shoes and a bleached hair streak, I love seeing him as always. He surprised me with three fabulous vegan dishes, and that made my day!

Feel free to view my first photographic review on Departure. I went there last year.

Departure Portland

Departure Portland

Departure Portland

Departure Restaurant

Happy Hour Cocktail

Departure Restaurant

Spicy Avocado & Carrot Salad with Pickled Cucumber, Sourdough Crouton
Chef Gregory surprised me with his spicy avocado & carrot salad! What a beautiful freshly made salad with spicy cucumbers and crunchy croutons!

Departure Restaurant

Chef Gregory’s Signature Dish
I was literally in tears. My first impression was a veganized salmon chunk dish (yes, that was my first assumption). Chef Gregory created a beautiful, artistic vegan dish for me, me, me! It may look simple, but the ingredients are complex to detail out. It was off the “vegan menu”: Compressed watermelon, radish, coconut-miso, grilled citrus, jalapeno and garnished dill. It tasted both sweet, savoury and a bit picklish. It’s a pretty wicked dish.

Departure Restaurant

Departure Restaurant

Steamed Onion-Ginger Buns
This was a new item on the menu compared to last year. I was happy to see some vegan Chinese-style buns. The filling was quite small: onion and ginger blend. I understand it is challenging to create vegan buns (my mother made them with milk and fat), unfortunately the exterior was a wee soggy. I would love to see more filling in the bun because that’s what hearty Chinese buns are for, plus I totally loved the idea of having that on the vegan menu!

Departure Restaurant

Vegan Bibimbap: Koshihikari rice, kimchee, vegetables, kochujiang and nori
This was a new item on the menu this year. This was my first time to try a vegan bibimbap at a restaurant! It was a massive dish compared to other dishes I’d tried, so save your tummy for that! The staff brought the dish to the table and poured the “kochujiang” sauce over the dish and mixed it before serving. I’m not sure why it was called, “kochujiang” according to the online vegan menu, wasn’t that supposed to be called, “gochujang?” There wasn’t much Koshihikari rice in the dish despite the savoury vegetables and kimchi on the top. It was tasty, filling, savoury with a bit of heat. My partner liked it, but couldn’t finish the rest 🙁 while we have so many small plates to finish off, too!

Departure Restaurant

Departure Restaurant

Departure Restaurant

Departure Restaurant

Chef Gregory’s Signature Sushi: Greens & Seeds Roll
Chef Gregory surprised me again with his signature sushi dishes. Crunchy, sweet, salty, and healthy looking sushi: Avocado, cucumber, herbs, pumpkin seed and sesame! That was definitely a yummy sushi for sure!

Departure Restaurant

Departure Restaurant

Sweet Potato Tempura Roll

Departure Restaurant

Vegan BBQ Tempeh Buns
This is an ultimate excitement to see these vegan Taiwanese-style buns on the menu! Before I was a vegan, I ate so much of these buns with egg, pork belly, and so much more, it was a popular dish in Taiwan for sure! I’ve tried a vegan “sandwich” bun with tofu before, but this one is different here at Departure: BBQ tempeh! Love the sweet and versatile barbecue sauce that glazed the massive tempeh slabs. They are quite massive fillings for sure, with mellow, sesame-flavoured citrus slaw. The buns are WOW, I can’t believe they pulled a vegan bun off nicely! Usually buns are made with milk powder, but this vegan buns are perfect!

Departure Restaurant

 

To view other vegan eats in Portland & Oregon, go here.

 

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