The newest installment in the Planta franchise (see my reviews for the original location dinner and brunch and Planta Burger), Planta Queen brings a fresh vegan take on Asian-inspired dishes. With Chef David Lee again at the helm of this new location, there was bound to be a lot of creativity on the menu!
The large and beautiful space on Queen Street West features a huge dining area with a lot of tables. The seating varies from normal dining tables to booths to a really cool large table with a rotating centre – perfect if you’re in a large group that’s sharing a lot of dishes! There’s a bar towards the front of the restaurant as well as a semi-open kitchen at the back!
Since it was our first time visiting Planta Queen, we decided to share a whole bunch of dishes to attempt to try as many things as possible. First up was the Nori Crackling, which was essentially tempura nori – a delicious crunchy treat! Next came the smashed cucumbers with kimchi. As someone who’s not normally a fan of cucumbers, I didn’t expect to enjoy this dish very much, but I was pleasantly surprised at how the normal texture of cucumbers was softened and the spicy kimchi marinade and ingredients was EXCEPTIONAL! We hung on to the dish for a little extra time in order to mop up the dressing! Refreshing and spicy, sometimes something so simple can be exceptional.
Also on the docket for our evening was three kinds of maki sushi. Those included the spicy “tuna” roll, made with ahi watermelon (does not taste like watermelon as it is compressed – I loved it!) on top of the roll, tempura, spicy aioli, and pickled watermelon. As someone who has never really eaten tuna, I’m not 100% sure if it replicates the taste, but I do know that it was delicious! We also enjoyed the rainbow roll (ahi watermelon, avocado, crispy mushrooms, and gochujang sauce), which was more of a classic delicious sushi roll taste, and the dragon roll (tempura broccoli, spinach, and spicy unagi sauce) finished our trio of maki on a very high note!
A quick little bite-sized treat came next in the form of the crispy rice with a bit of ahi watermelon (used a LOT on the menu VERY effectively!) and shiso. We also enjoyed the potato dumplings, which were very small but packed a lot of flavour!
Next up came the sashimi pizza! Made with thin and large slices of ahi watermelon and mushroom on a delicious, flaky, and crunchy flatbread crust, this added a really interesting blend of textures to our amazing meal! One small bit of constructive feedback I can give about the pizza is that the large pieces of mushroom and watermelon are not easy to break into pieces, so you might get a little more than intended in each mouthful!
We also decided to try the Uncle Bam’s Spring Rolls, which were pretty standard delicious spring rolls but had the interesting addition of coriander, which added a unique flavour that really complimented the chow mein noodles inside.
Also enjoyed was the General Lee’s Cauliflower, a dish that I have enjoyed many ways but this ranks up there with the best! Its crispy texture and delicious sauce really hit the spot! Finally was the udon dish with truffle scented mushrooms, miso coconut milk, and chives. The mushrooms were perfectly seasoned and cooked and acted as an amazing capstone to our meal!
For dessert, we shared the small chocolate cake with caramel, coconut gelato, and seabuckthorn, which added quite the sharp and crazy twist!
Planta Queen has an amazing menu with a wide range of diverse flavours and textures, though does have a similar pitfall to the first location in that the menu is severely lacking in protein and some of the dishes are on the smaller size, value wise. I would love them to have more of a commitment to their supply chain so we know that we are eating well. Otherwise, it is a beautiful space with outstanding service and a fun place to enjoy plant-based Asian-inspired cuisine!