Virtuous Pie

Vegan pizza with nut-based cheese in Vancouver's Chinatown.

So you thought vegans couldn't eat pizza with cheese, you thought wrong. Situated in Vancouver's historic Chinatown, Virtuous Pie is pumping out a variety of plant-based pizzas all with cheese on top. Whether it's the line out of the door, the bright neon light or the window where you can see the chefs putting the finishing toppings on, you will be enticed in.

The interior is minimalist and simple with exposed bricks, wooden tables, marble counters and hanging light fixtures. Dotted around the space is an array of green plants, on shelves and in picture frames. Virtuous Pie claims to be fast-casual and that's exactly what it is. From when you order at the counter, take a seat, have a sip of your beer (33 Acres and Four Winds bottles are available), and have a deep and meaningful about cheese, you'll hear your name being called for you to collect your pizza. 

Virtuous Pie uses a number of nut-based cheeses; think cashew mozzarella and almond ricotta, which are delicious and lighter than your regular mozzarella, making the pizza at Virtuous Pie possibly the healthiest pizza ever. The classic Margherita hits the spot but it is the Ultraviolet with its walnut pesto, oven dried tomatoes, caramelised onion, kale and pine nuts that steals the show. 

The guys at Virtuous Pie also have a creamery where they make their own 100% plant-based ice cream. Try some of their unique flavours, some of which include Coffee and Donuts, Basil and Peach Jam, and Hawaiian Vanilla.

Embrace that plant life.

www.virtuouspie.com

583 Main Street, Vancouver, British Columbia, V6A 2V1

 

Honeycomb Hideout

Pizza and tinnies on pallets and milk crates.

Tucked away in a back alley in the western suburb Footscray is Honeycomb Hideout. As its name suggests, the space is intimate and cosy with a menu to match. Serving six pizzas and nine craft beers, Honeycomb keeps it simple – and really, what more do you need?!

The courtyard bar came about due to a vacant parking space behind the owners other venture, Fox in the Corn (which has a strong focus on pasta and boutique beer). Before long, corrugated walls went up and the empty lot was filled with wooden pallet seating, milk crate tables, lanterns and graffiti. The hideout was complete.

Pizzas have that smoky wood-fired taste with an array of toppings (salumi, braised beef, salmon, pumpkin), and can be made to eat in or takeaway. Make sure you try the pumpkin one as homemade garlic oil is brushed on the crust and hits your senses before a slice even goes into your mouth. For those who like to end on a sweet note, grab a Gundowring dixie ice cream cup. 

The craft beers have been selected from Fox in the Corn’s extensive 13-page beer menu; some of which include Brewdog Punk IPA, Mornington Peninsula Pale Ale and Lager, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, Panhead American Pale Ale, Napolene Cloudy Cider and Rodenbach Original.

Call it cliché, but this truly is a hidden gem.

Honeycomb Hideout is open Friday (5pm-11pm), Saturday and Sunday (12pm-11pm).

www.facebook.com/honeycombhideoutbar

4 Droop Street, Footscray, Victoria, 3011

 

 

 

 

Crate Brewery & Pizzeria

Along the canals of East London, amongst the industrial warehouses and creative studios, and beyond the abundance of artistic graffiti, you'll find a hip and happening venue in Hackney Wick: Crate. Crate Brewery and Pizzeria makes up the bottom floor of a former print building, the White Building Unit, just a few minutes walk from Hackney Wick tube station. We visited Crate on a Tuesday lunchtime so the atmosphere was very relaxed with local creative types popping in to do some work or for lunch. From friends we've heard that this place is heaving on the weekend, so we'd suggest getting there a bit earlier on a Saturday if you want a seat on the canalside.

Inside Crate there is a real industrial feel - high ceilings, white walls and a lot of space with the bar centred in the middle and the pizza kitchen behind it. Crafted by local designers, Crate's interior fittings have been built with reclaimed materials from around the area - the bar is built with old railway sleepers, the exposed lighting is made from bed springs, and the eating-and-seating furniture is made from wooden pallets. The tie-dyed cushions are a great touch! There is also seating on the waterfront, which would be great for a sunny day.

With eyes bigger than our bellies and too many tempting pizzas to choose from, we decided to have a pizza each and go half-half. After reminiscing of recent Moroccan escapades, we opted for the courgette, feta, red onion and gremolata pizza and the Middle Eastern lamb pizza with spinach and pine nuts. Delivered on a wooden chopping board, these stone-baked oven pizzas were enormous. The quantity matched the quality - as the pizzas were perfectly thin, and each unleashed a taste of Morocco and a volcano of molten cheese, with a rich nutty flavour to the lamb one and lashings of intense zestiness from the veggie one. And of course, crispy crusts - a must-have for any self-respecting pizzeria! Crate is also a microbrewery serving its own IPA, lager, pale ale, stout and cider. We each had a pint of cider and were left feeling deliciously refreshed and slightly wavy for our bike ride home.

www.cratebrewery.com

7, The White Building, Queen's Yard, London E9 5EN