If you’re living the plant-based life here in Sydney—chances are life is pretty sweet. From fine dining to tacos, pasta, pizza, American-style burgers, and breweries too, you’ve got options when it comes to dining out. But what about grocery shopping? Expensive, hard to find, and spread across various shops all over town, packing your cart with vegan goodies isn’t as easy as we'd all like.
Well, good news. Greens Super Market—a massive new vegan complex opening in Sydney soon—is here to fill this vegan void in Sydney. Dreamt up by the team behind So-Cal-inspired plant-based eatery Vandal Taqueria, Greens is slated to open before the end of the year. It'll be located in Newtown, not far from the Inner West's now-famous "Vegan Mile", and the new hot-spot will feature a few vegan firsts for Australia.
Inside will be Australia's first fully-fledged plant-based supermarket, Australia's first plant-based sushi train, and Australia's first plant-based speakeasy teppanyaki bar. Rounding it all out will be a New York-style plant-based pasta bar. Yep, that's four vegan venues in one.
"We saw there was a gap in the market because, as a plant-based family, we have to shop at multiple different places to do our weekly grocery shop," explains co-owner Sophia Stewart-Kasimba. "While my partner, Pedro (Martinez), was doing the buying and menu development for Vandal Taqueria, we saw first-hand how many exciting products were out there that weren't represented in existing supermarkets. We also realised how excessive the markups were by current retailers in the plant-based space."
"Already having Vandal Taqueria on King Street, our conversations with customers and other plant-based business owners cemented how big the need is for a one-stop-shop for plant-based products."
And so, Greens was born. A far cry from your standard trip to Woolies, at the supermarket, you'll find hit picks from local Sydney producers, like plant-based butter and cheeses from La Petit Fauxmagerie. "We are really excited to be able to draw on these relationships to showcase these local plant-based businesses," Stewart-Kasimba adds.
Kimusabi is the dine-in sushi train, and it will follow the same whimsical, creative, and fun vibe as Vandal Taqueria. Martinez has created the menu with the idea of making plant-based eating a little more friendly and accessible, experimenting with flavours that are quite "novel for a Japanese setting," Stewart-Kasimba says. "Think sushi rolls filled with tempura cauliflower, smoked chilli tahini, pomegranate, pickled currants, and coriander, served with a toasted almond crust."
Meanwhile, Cousin Sal's will bring NYC vibes to Enmore Road. Inspired by Martinez's regular trips to The Big Apple and his love of red sauce pasta, expect to see a range of plant-based ragus that are as good—even better—than the real meaty deal. The signature dish will be an eight-hour braised "lamb" ragu with artichokes, green olives, mint, and "feta".
Hidden within the venue, Outlaw will be a secret theatre-style teppanyaki bar. You'll be able to pull up a stool "around the robata and teppanyaki grills and watch the chefs create seasonal set menus based on local produce right in front of your eyes," Stewart-Kasimba tells us. "We are very excited for how Outlaw will showcase how delicious it is to eat seasonally by using the simple elements of heat, fire, and smoke."
Being green for the Greens team will also translate into environmentally friendly initiatives like solar panels on the roof to power the refrigerators and coolrooms, and a target of zero food waste by 2024. "Any produce from the Green's Super Market fruit and vegetable department that is no longer 'retail perfect', we can repurpose it in any of the restaurants through sushi rolls in Kimusabi, pasta sauces at Cousin Sal's, grilled over the open fire at Outlaw."
As well as offering an epic new level of convenience not currently afforded to Sydney-based vegans, Greens is also a venue born out of COVID-19 times.
"Lockdowns mean that restaurants effectively need to turn into retail operations overnight," Stewart-Kasimba explains. "We have designed all three eateries within the Greens from the ground up to be able to make this potential transition seamlessly. This includes the point-of-sale systems, the design, and layout of the physical space, as well as our online and social media presence. We have even sourced take-away packaging before crockery!"
Greens Super Market, Kimusabi, Cousin Sal's, and Outlaw are slated to open towards the end of 202.
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Image credit: Greens Super Market