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The Sprout Restaurant

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Name: The Sprout Restaurant
Where: (364 Duckworth St.)
Style: Vegetarian and Vegan Cuisine
Price: $10 – $30
Rating: 4 out of 5
Phone: 579-5485

 

The Sprout Restaurant is a fixture in downtown St. John’s food scene, whether you’re a vegetarian, a vegan, or not. Since opening its doors in the mid-2000’s, the popularity of The Sprout has positively exploded and the space is regularly at capacity. Eclectically decorated in works by local artists, The Sprout is as warm and inviting as a friend’s kitchen. It’s lighting is low and it has colourful cozy booths as well as homey wooden tables in their big bay picture windows. The Sprout conveys a comforting atmosphere that makes patrons want to linger over their food and drinks. The vibe is very casual and laid back, as are the waitstaff.

The menu at The Sprout is diverse, creative, and downright delectable. Serving everything from breakfast (on the weekends) to supper, The Sprout offers something for everyone. Their weekend breakfast/brunch is wildly popular and the restaurant is often packed as a result. Their scrambles, either tofu or egg, are well portioned and come with their signature roasted potato home fries, fresh fruit, and their excellent spelt bread toast, plus a bottomless mug of coffee, tea, or juice. If you eat meat, this is one time you won’t miss the bacon, trust me.

Lunch and supper at The Sprout is essentially the same menu with specials and soups of the day in addition to the salads, sandwiches, veggie burgers, noodle and rice dishes and soups already on the menu.

Their salads are truly inspired and far from boring. Every single one is delicious and can be meal sized or a side to another main dish. Their Sunshine Sprout salad is simple and satisfying with its mixed greens, fresh grown sprouts, sunflower seeds and fresh made house dressing. Also popluar are their Beet Generation and Spicy Samarai salads. Beet Generation is full of sweet and colourful local beets and greens, a feast for the eyes and the palate, while the Samarai is an intriguing mix of greens with a spicy tasty tangle of rice noodles perched on top.

The Sprout does great things with rice noodles, as they are an integral part of their Thai One On Pad Thai and Miso Abundant Noodle Bowl. The Pad Thai in particular is one of The Sprouts star dishes, a favorite of many a regular and a recommendation to first time visitors. A mix of rice noodles, sliced sauteed vegetables, and tofu, all tossed together in a tangy peanut sauce with a sprinkling of pine nuts, it’s piled high enough to share. Miso Abundant is more broth based, with plenty of tofu and vegetables nestled amoung all those rice noodles.

Another star attraction at The Sprout is their soups, with their Blissful Bean Chili being a hot seller. It has a nice kick to it without being too spicy, and the black beans are a hearty and healthy substitute for meat. This would be the dish to try for those of you in the carnivore population going to The Sprout for the first time. Or be more adventurous and go for a Tamari Tickle Sandwich, with its tamari marinated tofu strips on their delicious Sprout bread.

All in all, The Sprout is a fantastic place to go for simple, healthy, made-from-scratch fare that is worlds away from the St. John’s standard of fish and chips. It is very fairly priced with a meal running between $10 -$30 depending on what you order.

There are only a few minor things that can take away from the experience. Some cosmetic upkeep could be done, the booths are a bit shaky for example, and could be better secured. It’s a small place and gets very full, very fast, which is great business wise, but it can hinder the service at times. The waitstaff are very sweet but sometimes not the most attentive. There are inconsistancies with menu items that some people may not appreciate, but the staff are creative, use what they have on hand and do a great job.

The Sprout is also a very community minded place. On late nights during weekends The Sprout has offered their kitchen to the staff of Mohamed Ali Chip Truck, who had been denied a permit by City Council, so that they can serve up their middle eastern foods to downtown revellers. They also use locally grown produce as much as possible. They have also just announced that they will be hosting a childrens playgroup called Sprouties every Wednesday from 2:30-4:30pm.

The Sprout Restaurant is open 6 days a week from Tuesday to Friday from 11:30am – 9pm, Saturdays from 9am – 10pm, and Sundays from 9 – 3pm.

By: Vanessa Wade
Photo courtesy The Sprout’s facebook page
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