Upscale vegan restaurant Avelo recently opened in a two-story Victorian heritage building in Toronto. Avelo is the new iteration of vegan favorite Awai, which closed earlier this year. The new boutique restaurant specializes in a five- and eight-course tasting concept, with menus that change frequently. The space seats only 20 people, which allows the Avelo team to deliver a more focused and personalized service than in their previous 80-seat space. The opening menu includes dishes such as truffle ravioli in a aïgo boulido veloute with chanterelle mushrooms and fresh truffle shavings; mole made with more than 30 ingredients and served with tempeh made from lentils and split peas; lobster mushrooms in a wheat berry risotto with a carrot-lemon foam; and black garlic ice cream drizzled with a rich chocolate-tamari ganache. “Avelo is focused on fine dining because that’s the market segment that has traditionally defined animal products as luxury goods, which sets the tone for our society’s food culture overall,” Avelo founder Roger Yang told VegNews. “If we can shift this to include plant-based dishes as equivalent, we can make a big impact on the desirability of plant-based food overall.” Upstairs from the main dining room is Bar Avelo, which will open next month and feature a more casual service with a focus on drinks and a tapas-style menu. “While Avelo is focused on creativity, often with rare ingredients and designed for more adventurous diners, Bar Avelo’s menu will have a broader appeal and won’t change as frequently,” Yang said. “We will definitely be including some of the most popular items that we’ve served at Awai.” In the coming months, Yang, who also owns Toronto vegan restaurant Away Kitchen, plans to transform its Queen Street West location into Italian restaurant Vitalia, using Away’s popular pizzas as the foundation of the menu.

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