To our delight we learned that a raw restaurant, Cafe Bliss, opened its doors two years ago right in downtown Victoria. Yay! The cafe is small and charming and was totally packed; I could not believe how many people kept buzzing in and out of the place! So nice to see in these times when so many little niche businesses are struggling. The server could hardly catch his breath but seemed otherwise to be having a good time, literally hopping from one end of the counter to the other.
They had a specials board which I thought was a smart move, as we find that fixed menus can quickly get boring, especially when it features a small amount of items. At Cafe Bliss they keep changing their soups, pizzas and what they call the 'Hearty Bliss' entree in order to feature seasonal ingredients. In fact, I was told that starting the following week their entire menu would be seasonal. Sounds promising!
We started off with a daily special drink: a Lucuma Creamcicle. It was made with orange, lucuma, banana, vanilla and almond milk. I thought it sounded like an interesting mix but found it a little bland and under-sweetened to my taste.
Next came a Cream of Cauliflower with Mango, Cashews and Curry served with Bliss Crackers and 'Butter'. The soup was warm which was a pleasant surprise, the consistency was nice and creamy and the cauliflower flavor not overwhelming. We were particularly impressed with the butter which was super tasty. We were told is made with olive oil, garlic and sundried tomatoes. Hum, sounds simple enough; I should try recreating it at home sometime!
We then went with the Hearty Bliss Burrito: Pumpkin Seed Refried Beans, Fresh Salsa, Avocado, Sprouts and Cashew Sour Cream served in a cabbage leaf with a Yam Cracker.
The Burrito was to live for! It was super flavorful and the spicing was just right. Yum! Too bad it was so small, I would have gladly devoured two of those babies! The Yam Cracker was slightly sweet and very crunchy. Double yum!
We would have liked to try their Burger but sadly they were out, so we opted for the daily pizza made with Fresh Herb Pesto, Spinach, Green Olives, Red Pear and Red Onion topped with Smoked Black Pepper Sauce.
The pizza however was a disappointment. The buckwheat crust, contrary to what the menu said, was not thin at all but nearly 1/2" thick and hard to the point of being difficult to eat. It was actually so thick that, as can easily happen with buckwheat, it tasted slightly fermented. As a result it was challenging to appreciate the toppings' flavors which were already quite subtle. I must admit that it was a bit of a strange combo, though.
By that point we were quite full but they had such a beautiful and appealing sweet display that we just HAD to somehow make space in our tummies. We took one glance at that Chocolate Cake with Cashew Vanilla Cream and simply couldn't resist a piece!
It was everything a raw cake should be; light, not too sweet and the almond pulp gave the cake layer a perfect texture. It was decorated with cacao nibs which not only made it pleasing to the eye but also gave the dessert a nice crunch.
We found the food at Cafe Bliss rather pricey considering the size of the servings, but all and all it was a very positive experience. We would gladly eat here again!