Mellos Restaurant is for Vegans
Finding a local treasure the old-fashioned way (i.e., not through the Internets, but by just walking in your neighbourhood and discovering new things) is akin to no other. And what would be a better way to stumble upon Mellos, an old-school diner in Byward Market that–from my subsequent fury of research online–was the “pop-up restaurant” of Chef Matthew Carmichael (but no longer).
But all that aside, what is more is that this place caters to vegans. No word of a lie. A vintage diner with the most original diner menu in Ottawa (which apparently changes monthly or so) has a chef who cares about vegans, insofar as he will endeavour to make your meal and your diner experience for vegans as fulfilling and delicious as any other customer. This fusion of typical diner fare and vegan cuisine is exceptional and delightful.
–How is it that you’ve never heard of this place?!?–
We’re talking delicious fries with (vegan) gravy, jerk pork (read: seitan) and steamed bun with cilantro, the best (vegan) pad thai you will ever treat your tastebuds to, and whatever else they can cook up. The head chef appears to be no stranger to vegan grub, as he works skillfully with tofu, seitan, tempeh and other vegan protein favourites.
He tells me that the soup is always vegan no matter what. He also tells me, to my horror, that not many people have been ordering off the vegan menu and so it is sometimes hard to defend to the other restaurant stakeholders. I told him it was because vegans are not aware of his resto and wouldn’t expect what looks like a greasy spoon from the outside to cater to vegans, and what’s more, that the vegan food would be AWESOME. He agreed to let me “rally the troups” electronically-speaking, and get vegans aware of this rare gem in the heart of the Market. I told him that vegans are generally all foodies and will flock–literally flock–to Mellos doorstep to try his morsels of deliciousness.
Words of advice and caution to all y’all who are already putting on your runners to make a dash to Mellos:
- The seating is limited, so it is recommended that you make a reservation;
- The chef suggests letting him know in advance that you’re coming, especially if it’s going to be a large group of vegans, because lately, given the lack of popularity–which by the way the vegan army plans on doing something about–he wouldn’t be able guarantee that he’ll be able to make *everything* vegan on the fly. It would be in your best interest to call in advance anyway, because both himself and the staff are extremely friendly and it’s almost heartwarming to talk to them and hear how they will cater to your dietary requirements;
- I can only speak for the dinner menu regarding veganization since that’s the only one I’ve tried.
Now spread the word and try it out for yourselves. This place could be the next vegan hotspot in Ottawa!
290 Dalhousie St., Ottawa ON