November 15th, 2011

Location: 207-B West Hastings Street, Vancouver, BC  View Google Map
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I imagine being vegetarian can be a pretty dull affair when dining out because many restaurants seem to offer one vegetarian option, often involving pasta, mostly as an afterthought. I’m not vegetarian but when I go to Nuba, I’m happy to eat an entirely vegetarian meal and in particular La Feast, which is a sampling of several menu items, feeding two people well for $30. Nuba now has 4 locations offering Lebanese food and the largest, at Hastings and Cambie, is a slightly exotic space inspired by Beiruit in the 1940s when the city was considered a cultural capital and dubbed the Paris of the Middle East. It is decorated with potted plants, cut out copper lanterns, mirrored walls and has a simultaneously nostalgic and foreign in feel. Nuba’s cocktails are made with fresh juices and are so refreshing I manage to delude myself into thinking they are almost healthy; regardless, they are a great way to start a meal. La Feast is a sampler of several menu items – so many in fact, I never tire of it. The house-made hummus and baba ghanooj are both creamy and decadent and the taboulleh with parsley and mint is a bright contrast and the perfect foil. I had never had deep fried cauliflower until I tried Najib’s special as part of this meal – it transforms this sometimes bland vegetable as only deep frying can. The cauliflower emerges crispy and tender and when it’s sprinkled with sea salt and lemon juice, it’s by far the best version of this vegetable I’ve ever had. Several other items are part of the selection including mjadra, a lentil stew served with sweet and crispy onion bits on top, falafels made in house with chickpeas, fava beans and veggies, briny black olives, and chunks of creamy macedonian feta. The sheer variety is decadent and I have never once walked away wishing I had been carnivorous. (EL)

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