Location: 424 Queen Street West, Toronto
I don’t know what it is about “plant-based” restaurants serving sandwiches with overly dense buns, but I had that issue at Planta, I had it at Fresh, and now it’s happened again at Parka Food Co.
Is it the plant-based thing? The lack of dairy? Or is it a coincidence I’m reading too much into? I don’t know.
(Also, whichever marketer came up with the term “plant-based” to make veganism sound more hip and healthy: kudos to you. You have succeeded beyond your wildest dreams.)
I tried the broccoli sandwich at Parka Food Co., which comes with “lightly battered broccoli, cashew cheese sauce, dill pickles, sauteed onions, roasted garlic, lettuce, parka aioli,” and it was mostly decent enough — but then there was that bun.
It’s all about Newton’s third law of motion: for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. The bun is so firm and dense that the force of you holding it and biting into it has nowhere to go but down into the components of the sandwich. A normal bun would absorb some of that force, but not this one.
Instead, everything gets squished out within a couple of bites. I had to eat the sandwich with a fork and knife. It’s not a big deal, but I kinda wanted to eat my sandwich like a sandwich.
Aside from that, it wasn’t bad. The broccoli has a nice crispy, battered exterior, and the inside is perfectly cooked — it’s tender but not mushy, with a satisfying bite.
The cashew “cheese” sauce is basically just a thick, gooey paste, without a whole lot of cheese-like properties. But it’s fine on the sandwich.
And the sweet aioli and the pickles do a nice job of cutting through the richness of the fried broccoli and the “cheese.” It’s a pretty good sandwich… or at least it would be if you could eat it like a sandwich.