Review: Jane Bond lives to dine another day

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Howdy food fans.

Spurred by your comments and my roommate’s vegetable-based catcalling, this week I journeyed to Jane Bond, a vegetarian eatery in Uptown Waterloo. 

While boasting a British-feminist war cry as its name, the restaurant was surprisingly modeled in a different vein. The walls, tables, and tiled floors were painted deep hues of orange and blue, proudly foreshadowing their Mexican cuisine. The walls adorned with unique zombie art, antique farming equipment, and a ceiling dotted with multicolored Christmas lights cultivated a ‘Stranger Things’ mood. A giant disco ball danced by itself in a corner of the room, which oddly reminded me of a wedding I recently attended.

The restaurant’s atmosphere was pleasantly raucous, with dim lighting, cozy seating, and just the right number of people to invite you in, much like a city bus. The menu was straightforward and continued the retro vibe in Bauhaus 93. Without disappointment, a plethora of vegetarian and vegan options were available. 

I ordered the Cajun Red Bean Burger with a side of Ginger Sesame Salad ($17), while my fellow foodie ordered the Quesadilla with a side of Nacho Chips ($18). The food arrived within a reasonable amount of time and at an adequate temperature.

The burger’s patty presented with all the confidence and poise of a wet sandcastle, lazily oozed from between the buns as I sought to gain sufficient grip. Despite the patty’s summer lovin’ attitude, the burger possessed a formidable flavor profile, championed by pickles tangy enough to wake Los Muertos. Unfortunately, the bold flavour was confined to two dimensions with the total absence of heat.

The Ginger Sesame Salad, however, stole the show. Its flavour profile was everything you would expect to find in the forgotten aisles of your local health food store. Wonderfully crisp and fresh romaine lettuce, along with shredded carrot, chickpeas, and mandarin orange slices, were the key players, giving the salad an agile variation of textures and flavors. Topping it all was possibly the best salad dressing my palate has ever encountered; an elusive ginger miso. Equal parts heat, sweet, and savory, this dressing propelled me through the wormhole where I vanquished my interdimensional demons and returned to enjoy my meal.

As for my dinner partner’s food, the quesadilla possessed a sultry mouthfeel owing to the politely generous amount of cheese provided. However, upon mingling with my palate, it promptly revealed itself to have never been an actual resident of flavor town. 

The nacho chips entered, large and round, with a uniform distribution my statistics professor would have been proud of. The companion salsa was keen to continue the retro trend, styling itself as onion in the front and tomato in the back. But unlike Patrick Swayze, it failed to bring the heat. The salsa and sour cream were intimately presented in a public display of affection that would have made a queso dip blush. Unfortunately, this publicity stunt had a muddling effect on their individual flavors.

All things considered, while being on the pricey side and lacking flavor in their entrees, the ambiance, service, and vegetarian solidarity of Jane Bond clearly establishes them as a mainstay in Uptown Waterloo’s diverse culinary scene.

Until next time, stay hungry food fans.

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