Saturday, September 8, 2018

A herbivore's dream come true at The Moth

The Moth bills itself as "a little bit of magic in the midst of a revitalizing urban core." I couldn't agree more. Housed in a dusty rose building on the southeast corner of Jasper Avenue and 95 Street, The Moth is hardly in a neighbourhood known to be sought out intentionally. Rather, this 'hood has a long rap sheet of dilapidated buildings and transient residents. Little more than a crossroads between worlds perpetually coming and going, but never stopping long enough to put down roots.

I can't recall when I noticed The Moth had popped up on this corner. It's as though it appeared overnight. Suddenly, the building was covered in vines. A lively crowd chatted on a patio. The parking lot was full. A vibrant
gathering place had burst from a withered husk of a building, much like a moth emerges from an unremarkable crysalis. Perhaps that is the origin of its name - I should have thought to ask when I was there.

Oh, how I feasted. My four stomachs were bursting. Better yet, The Moth is entirely vegetarian (and quite a few dishes were vegan. I started with a gin and tonic, made with Ungava gin. Next, I dove into crab cakes - toothsome and tender - with an especially voluptuous coconut dip. Instead of crab meat, shredded jackfruit was a handy substitute. Vibrant tomato-mushroom pizzette were sprinkled with walnut-cashew cheese. I dare say that any Italian nonna would be hard-pressed to criticize these tasty morsels.

Mains were hearty and flavourful. Moth spaghetti was topped with tofu-mushroom meatballs. One didn't miss the meat whatsoever. They were spicy and savoury, lolling in sundried tomato sauce, begging to be embraced by al dente whole wheat spaghetti. Lemongrass vermicelli presented a different flavour profile of citrusy lemograss, crisp mint, and tangy shallots, tossed with eggplant, cucumber, and rice noodles. I was stuffed (no pun intended).

The Moth is indeed a plant-based restaurant, but by no means should this dissuade omnivores from indulging. Too often plants are relegated to the role of side dish, but here, they take centre stage. The Moth's little bit of magic is memorable and powerful.

The Moth Cafe
9449 Jasper Ave
Edmonton, AB  T5H 3T8
Instagram: @themothcafe

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