Aiyaohno Cafe - Vegan Options

Thanks, Vanfoodster, for making us aware of Aiyaohno Café. Of course, it was almost a year ago that this young but food business experienced couple set up on Carrall Street between Hastings and Pender but we finally made it. Taking a chance by locating up in a somewhat iffy location, AC is not open late which is probably just as well.  You can enter a parking lot at 23 West Pender by using code 8888 (at least that is the code currently and it is posted on their website) and enter the back of their building avoiding much of the street drama that this area affords. The gate is directly kitty-corner to the International Village Mall and admittedly, I missed it. You can also enter off Carrall (or order a coffee at their service window) and it is not as complicated as I make it seem. I should have led with the fact that this is not a dangerous area during the day and it is definitely worth it to find your way here.
Once inside, we encountered some of the friendliest people we have met in the restaurant business. Eager to tell their story and enthusiastic about what they are doing, I barely had to prompt with questions. And what they are doing is making and serving some great food!
We started with some vegan Dumplings. These were wonderfully garlicky and garnished with a caramelized something that I failed to ask about! Amazing! And before you ask, yes they are made in-house as is almost everything here.
The Hamburg Steak was the next thing we tried. I am trying not to compare vegan dishes with the meat dishes that they are based on because when something is delicious and vegan, it needs no defence. This though, was delicious and, to be honest, could have fooled an avowed omnivore. Rich and savoury and served over rice and with some roasted veggies, for sure it is a meal unto itself!
Part of the reason for coming is because my wife was craving ramen. AC had 3 vegan ramen on their menu today (the menu apparently changes fairly often) and we chose the Sesame Chille Tan Tan Ramen. This soup could be divided into the upper refreshing and light layer of greens and vegetables and the lower rich and fulfilling layer of noodles and coconut-based broth. It was very good!
Finally, we thought we'd test their range by trying the Vegan Chicken Ranch Sandwich. If you're dropping by for a weekend lunch, this is a good vegan option. We found the "chicken" to be tasty and had a nice texture while the rest of the veggies and condiments made it a pretty decent sandwich.
AC is not a vegan restaurant as they also have fish on the menu. The vegan options are numerous however and we were more than a little impressed with what we tried. They also have a pretty good choice of coffees, baked goods and smoothies. Their nice airy dining room is actually, the lobby of this mixed-use building. It's not as complicated as I made it out to be at the beginning of this post. Just walk into Aiyaohno Cafe for breakfast, coffee or lunch (any day but Sunday or Monday)  and be impressed like we were.

Food                             4 1/2 out of 5
Vegan Options              4 1/2 out of 5
Comfort                         4 out of 5
Service                          5 out of 5
Value                             4 1/2 out of 5

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Are you guys eating again? At some point Marie and I became the kind of people who take pictures of everything we eat, whether in a restaura...