My love for Zest Kitchen & Bar is well known. Chef and owner Casey Staker makes some of my favorite food in Salt Lake City. One of my first reviews for SLUG Magazine was a love letter to the plant-based restaurant with killer cocktails and exquisite food. When my friend Chelsea from Heartbeat Nosh invited me to Sunday brunch at Zest along with other foodie-minded ladies, I was in. When she reminded me that we could order cocktails at 10:00 am since Zest was technically a bar, I was definitely in.
Our Sunday brunch started with cocktails and small plates. The Brussels Sprouts ($7) have a fantastic crunch combined with a creamy sweet and spicy masala almond sauce. Hot Stuffed Mushrooms ($8) stuffed with a decadent cashew cheese are scrumptious, and perfect to nibble on while you peruse the brunch and cocktail menu. Be sure to ask about the specials, Casey always has something interesting going on, like this cocktail.
When there’s a special, I can’t resist. My first brunch cocktail was a combination of matcha tea and bourbon topped with a dusting of cinnamon. The sweetness of the matcha was subtle and the bourbon was warming, a nice touch in the morning! Another drink not on the menu is the Spring Fling.
The Spring Fling is a refreshing combination of Beehive Gin, green chartreuse and house-made green juice. Perfect for day-drinking.
There was one item on the brunch menu I knew I had to try. The Savory Chickpea Pancake ($10) was delectable topped with avocado slices, fresh pico de gallo and house-made cashew sour cream. The southwestern flavors made me crave a margarita.
The Jalapeno Margarita is spicy and tart – ideal to pair with food. I opted for the Jalapeno Margarita with Berries, a sweeter (and pink!) version, which I adored. I’ve been craving it ever since.
Another brunch option we enjoyed was the Southwest Skilled ($10). The base is fluffy quinoa and black beans topped with tortilla chips, cheddar cheese (or Daiya for a vegan option), avocado slices, pico de gallo and cashew sour cream. It was extremely satisfying to dig into the layer of crispy tortilla chips. The combination of texture was appealing, and the amount of food for only $10 was impressive. For a dollar more, you can add an egg – I think that would be divine. Paired with a Jalapeno Margarita, this is brunch elevated!
The brunch menu is filled with both sweet/savory and vegan/vegetarian offerings. Not to mention $5 mimosas made with fresh juice in intriguing flavors like orange-basil. (I can’t wait to try these!) There’s something for everyone. And now with the addition of offering brunch on Sunday mornings, AND the fact that you can imbibe at 10:00 am, Zest Kitchen & Bar is a brunch-must in Salt Lake City.