Published Oct 4th, 2012

By Caroline Barlott

Clever Rabbit's Clever Comfort

Enjoy vegan and vegetarian options without the philosophy

The Clever Rabbit's donair reflects the restaurant's desire to showcase vegetarian food without an agenda.
The Clever Rabbit's donair reflects the restaurant's desire to showcase vegetarian food without an agenda.

I bite into the Clever Rabbit’s donair and the sweet sauce, as it should, covers the spiced meat with a complementing tanginess. Except, it’s not meat; it’s “seitan,” or wheat gluten, a vegan alternative. And while it has the same texture and tastes almost the same as beef, it’s way less greasy.

As you’ve probably guessed, Clever Rabbit is a vegetarian restaurant. But don’t let its quirky name, and the fact that the restaurateurs also own the gourmet pet bakery next door, fool you into thinking it serves rabbit food. It’s more like a neighbourhood diner, where meat just isn’t technically part of the equation — not even in the tacos.

There’s no health or social agenda, just plenty of comfort foods in a trendy setting, with whimsical rabbit salt and pepper shakers and so much orange decor it might radiate carotene.

The walnut chickpea burger gets my Omnivore’s Seal of Approval. It’s just as filling as any beef patty, but the difference lies in a taste that’s more nutty than meaty. One bite in, the patty reveals vegetables you can actually recognize — celery, onion and carrot. And, like any good diner, there are all-day breakfast options.

Tofu scramble tastes like dry scrambled eggs, but the texture is more crumbly and goes well with the mixture of avocado, mushroom and other vegetables.

Though its meals are hefty, I had to try the baked goods that beckoned me from the glass case when I arrived. The carrot cake, chocolate doughnut and chocolate cookie are all delicious, but if forced to only pick one, go for the cookie. It’s huge, it’s moist and, oh, it’s vegan-friendly.  (10722 124 St., 780-455-4550) 

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