SimplyRaw Express opening + ZenKitchen pub night delights!

After years of anticipation and hard work on the part of its proprietors, Natasha Kyssa and Mark Faul, SimplyRaw Express opened its doors today (Saturday, May 12), becoming the latest addition to Ottawa’s thriving vegan restaurant scene.

SimplyRaw Express is a fresh juice bar and takeaway, located at 989 Wellington St. West in Hintonburg. It offers organic juices and smoothies, raw vegan dishes, quinoa bowls, delicious desserts as well as culinary workshops, detoxification and nutritional programs. Its food is completely vegan, as well as soy and gluten-free. The best part? NCVA members get a 10 per cent discount off of all food and drink purchases at SimplyRaw Express.

The NCVA got a sneak peek at the new café on Friday evening, along with other local notables and media personalities, and it is fabulous.  Word on the street is that there was a steady line up all day today, its first official opening day. Natasha and Mark sure know how to generate buzz!

“Our association could not be more pleased that longtime supporters Natasha and Mark have finally made SimplyRaw Express a reality,” says NCVA president Josh Flower.  “I know I’m looking forward  to enjoying the healthy variety of fast food that SimplyRaw Express offers, and I am excited to see how the Ottawa community will embrace the concept. This is a great day for vegans and non-vegans alike.”


A few weeks ago we posted about the ZenKitchen pub night that the NCVA was coordinating. Well that happened on Thursday evening, and it was a huge success.  Twenty-one people attended the event, and it was a great mix of old and new.  But what was really phenomenal was the food.

Chef Caroline surprised us with a three-course pub-style plated dinner.  The first course was apple slaw with a breaded butternut squash risotto ball, followed by the entrée, which was a platter of goodies including panko-crusted onion rings, BBQ seitan fingers, salad rolls, kale chips, tofu dengaku with miso apple butter glaze, and a box of french fries for each participant!  As if that wasn’t enough, dessert came in the form of a decadent brownie topped with ice cream, coconut whipped cream, and chocolate sauce.

All of that for $25.  We kid you not.  $25.

“I have to say, Chef Ishii and the ZenKitchen team really outdid themselves,” says President Flower.  “The ZenKitchen pub night was beyond our expectations. It was also a real pleasure to meet and chat with some of the unfamiliar people who came out. Overall, the evening was a tremendous experience!”

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