Calling all vegans, plant-based munchers and the vego curious, ICYMI (and we’re not sure how you would), Evandale’s Nagev is Adelaide’s go-to for cruelty free eats and treats. Following a mammoth year in 2017, the vegan hub continues to revolutionise the city’s café and bakery scene. Offering a drool-worthy brekky menu, lip smacking range of pastries and extensive range of other plant-based goodies, cruelty free has never looked this delicious.
Ahead a busy week for the café, thanks to its debut vegan dessert night and annual Change the Date burger challenge, we sat down with Nagev’s owner, Lucie Vano, to talk all things deliciously plant-based.
Adelaide has been experiencing a boom in the vegan community over the past few years, with Vegan Festival and other plant-based events sprouting up across the city and sparking some serious vego curiosity. Since opening in 2016, how has Nagev fit into Adelaide’s expanding vegan landscape?
There has definitely been a boom in Veganism, or people’s curiosity in the plant-based diet. I think [that] Nagev has a reputation for being Adelaide’s go-to plant-based brunch place! Just like how you’d walk into any café and get a ‘big brekky’ with the eggs, sausages, mushrooms and so on, I wanted Nagev to have the same options except of course all plant-based! We play close attention to making those breakfasts delicious.
Similarly, with our baked goods, I never wanted to go over the top with our flavours and [so] we stick to your more ‘traditional’ sweets. Just like how you’d walk into a café [or] bakery, say, you’d get a takeaway pie, vanilla slice and coffee. Again, I wanted to have the same options here at Nagev but obviously just cruelty free!
In saying this, we do offer dairy milk just for coffee. Due to this we have had some very negative feedback from the vegan community. However, over time and in building rapport with regular ‘dairy milk’ customers, we like to educate and offer for them to try a milk alternative. We can say that there have been plenty of customers surprised as to how well plant-based milks go with their usual coffees.
Nagev fits into the Adelaide vegan landscape as somewhere you can go for brunch, or takeaway pies and sweets, just like any other café – but plant-based!
With the recent rise in plant-based eating there seems to be a lot of misconceptions surrounding the vegan diet. How has the overall response been to Nagev’s eclectic and non-tradition range of burgers, pastries, cakes and all-day brunch offerings?
Positive! In 2016 when we opened, obviously just like any other business, there were concerns in the back of our minds about whether this would all work. Since then, we’ve had plenty of very positive feedback from customers vegan and non-vegan.
When we first started there were definitely a handful of potential customers walk out and kind of say “oh sorry, this is not for me”. However, over the year and a half that we’ve been open, a lot more customers walk in with “I heard you can get DAIRY FREE cheesecakes here! I’m intrigued to try it!” So definitely a lot of positive feedback.
Nagev is an ethically minded eatery, as evidenced by the entirely plant-based menu, and you’ve also used the cafes social media platforms to speak out on a range of social issues including marriage equality and the Change the Date campaign. How would you describe the overall ethos of Nagev?
Ah, what a compliment! It’s nice to hear that people perceive Nagev as an ethically minded eatery. I always wanted Nagev to be an open and welcoming space. Yes, a place for Vegans to eat where they can get all sorts of baked goodies, but more so a place where non-vegans, vegetarians, people on the fence, curious people and everyone else in between can come in and feel welcome! A café where everyone feels like they are our friends, always open to conversation!
Social issues like marriage equality and the Change the Date campaign are issues I hold very close to me. So, I guess I have a tiny platform where a handful of people pay attention to what we do, so it only seems natural and very important to speak about these things. Also, I have the space to celebrate and educate, again very important to me!
You’ve dropped some hints that live tunes may be coming to the café later this year and the kitchen has recently seen a bit of a reno. What’s in store for Nagev in 2018?
Ah! The kitchen has definitely seen a bit of a reno. We’re always trying to better the standards here at Nagev. Whether that’s in food, service or simply just our equipment!
I’m SO excited to announce that from the February 2, we will be opening as a plant-based dessert bar every Thursday and Friday night. Every Friday night will also see Acoustic Fridays at Nagev, which means [that] while you enjoy some unique, decadent, delicious plant-based desserts you will also be serenaded by a line-up of amazing acoustic musicians.
I’m also super excited to say that Sharleen from the famous vegan bakery Cherry Darlings will be the mastermind behind these delicious creations! We will be working closely to create unique and mind-blowing desserts.
Finally, next time we pop in, which eats and treats should we be chowing down on?
Tough question! But will have to say our Traditional Breakfast, Nagev Burger and [dairy free] cheesecakes are a MUST. Definitely some crowd favourites there.
WHERE? 190 Payneham Road, Evandale
WHEN? Tuesday – Friday: 08.30 – 15.30 / Thursday & Friday Nights: 17.30 – late / Saturday & Sunday: 09.00 – 15.30