Portland: Vegan Birthday at Departure Restaurant + Lounge

19th June 2013

It had been a year since the last time I dined at Departure Restaurant + Lounge and, as the saying goes, absence makes the heart grow fonder. On June 13th, 2013, I had a vegan birthday dinner at Departure Restaurant + Lounge. I would like to extend my gratitude to my lovely partner Doni for making arrangements and Chef Gregory Gourdet for his mouthwatering vegan meals. Doni and I stayed at the Nines Hotel and absolutely loved the sneaky birthday surprises, i.e., two massive vegan cakes. I have also photographed other meals at Departure Restaurant + Lounge in the past few years, please feel free to read further.

Merci beaucoup, Chef Gregory Gourdet and Departure Restaurant + Lounge! Vous êtes fabuleux!


Departure Restaurant + Lounge

address: 525 SW Morrison Street, Portland, Oregon 97204 • 15th floor of The Nines Hotel
contact: info(at)departureportland.com • Tele: 503-802-5370
connect: WebsiteTwitterFacebook
hours: Sun – Thurs: 4:00 pm – 12:00 am, Fri – Sat: 4:00 pm – 1:00 am, Happy Hour Daily: 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm

Vegan Menu is available online. Please note dishes may change over time.


Signature Cocktails: Siamese Royalty & Crazy 88 (martini glass) My Siamese Royalty contains Skyy vodka, chai tea, canton ginger liquor, fresh lime and kaffir lime leaf. My cocktail has more ginger flavor and very mild vodka. Doni’s cocktail Crazy 88 (martini glass) contains thai chili vodka, mango, orange juice, and citrus. His cocktail is mildly sweet with a bit of heat. Next time I would love to try the CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER, if it can be made vegan.


Chef Gregory’s Amuse Bouche: Cracker with Avocado Thank you Chef Gregory for this beautiful masterpiece. It was our favorite! The dish consists of chia, pumpkin and seaweed cracker with avocado, a slice of red onion, chopped scallions and spicy miso sauce. It’s a lovely dish to begin with. The combination works well together with 1-2 bites.



Vegan Sushi Selections On the left, it was the Vegetarian Maki Roll of the Day for their Happy Hour (4-6pm): Sweet Corn, then the Greens & Seeds Roll, Sweet Potato Tempura Roll, and lastly the Grilled Shiitake Roll. The Sweet Potato Tempura Roll was our favorite with the crunchy sweet potato in the centre. I absolutely love the nutritional yeast flakes presented gracefully on the Greens & Seeds Roll. Their vegan sushi selections are undeniably tasty and gorgeous!




Chef Gregory’s Dish It was another surprise dish. I was perplexed with the black and transparent golden bubbles underneath the asparagus, apparently they are black garlic puree and the grilled citrus gel. The asparagus had a miso-sesame dressing on it. Wow and miam!


Vegetable Udon Noodles It was our first time to try their Vegetable Udon Noodles with roasted peppers, spinach and ginger. I was expecting thicker noodles, but the flavor was well balanced, not too salty or spicy. The portion may look small, but great for one individual or to share with a group of 2-3.




Salt & Pepper Tempeh We were very excited to try one of their wok-fried dishes and also after seeing a few photos from another vegan blog. I never had a “vegan” salt & pepper Asian dish. Apparently the dish is great for anyone who loves the extra heat, like my partner, who can withstand any levels of heat. It’s a pretty spicy dish for me, but I couldn’t taste the salt & pepper overall due to the heat. The nutritional yeast flakes on the top are pretty nice.



Chef Gregory’s Signature Dish: Curried Watermelon with Onion Tempura When I received this dish, I was in double awe. His new dishes are always inspirational and creative, with a modern twist. I never had a curried watermelon in my life and that was the best highlight of my dining experience. So tasty and I learned to love my fruits savory and even curried.


Sencha Shinrikyu and Genmaicha Teas I love their tea selections. Sencha Shinrikyu is my favorite brewed green tea, it has a lovely umami character. My partner Doni had a Genmaicha, which is a brown rice tea.


My Birthday Dish: Strawberry & Asian Pear Crisp Ain’t that sweet?! Chef Gregory came all the way from the kitchen with a birthday candle. It was adorable and amazing. The dessert is a Strawberry & Asian Pear Crisp with almond milk ice cream, Thai basil and candied lime. The almond ice cream reminds me of an icy sweet amaretto, which I love.



ARE YOU JOKIN ME?! ANOTHER BIRTHDAY DESSERT?! Sweet Gregory, my stomach didn’t have any room and I was also in gleeful spirits after eating my dessert. So we tried the Departure Banana Split: banana tempura, cherry compote and peanut brittle ice crema. Oh man, we were already in heavens. I love anything with peanut butter.



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