Fresh from the second annual Invasion Day burger eating competition to raise money for AIME, Nagev owner Lucie Vano is preparing for another event. Showing no signs of slowing down (like, maybe ever), Lucie and her Payneham Road café are going through some changes that will be a literal treat for Adelaidians.
I sat down with her to celebrate and talk about what’s coming up.
This Friday, the 2nd of February, will mark the beginning of dessert nights at Nagev, opening the doors after their usual trading hours for plant-based deliciousness each Thursday and Friday evening. Talk about bringing in the weekend right.
Before beginning the dessert night process, timing – or fate, if you will – was on Lucie’s side.
Sharleen Salmon from Cherry Darlings Bakehouse joined the Nagev team. A match made in heaven. I can already hear the vegans of Adelaide (or anyone with a stomach) cheer.
“The timing worked perfectly… and Sharleen is the queen of vegan desserts.”
Drawing on her Filipino roots, Lucie is allowing all sorts of fresh and alternative flavours to take over for the first menu. Think matcha, lychees, mango, coconut and pandan. Oof.
“These are flavours I’m familiar with, especially when it comes to desserts. I don’t really like heavy, chocolate and salted caramel mixed together and coffee and all that. It’s not really my thing. But when it comes to coconut and pandan and taro… yeah. That is me. And I guess I just understand the flavours a lot more.”
“For Sharleen, it’s natural for her to come up with ideas, but it’s exciting for her to work with these flavours, too.”
One of the dishes will be a deep-fried vanilla slice with caramel, lemon curd and yuzu sorbet, topped with passionfruit and traditional Filipino-style toasted coconut.
Questions? Same. I’ve got the answers.
“The most common way to toast coconut is obviously to use shredded coconut and toast it in the oven. The Filipino way is boiling down coconut cream until you get to the very end, and there’s this manic moment where you have to scrape little crumbs of coconut. That’s the way that we do toasted coconut.”
And yuzu sorbet?
“Because the vanilla slice was deep fried so I needed something really fresh to go with it. I was sourcing, and I had the yuzu sorbet and was like… [gasp]. I knew the tanginess would go really well.”
In 2017, Nagev hosted their first dessert night, which customers had to book into. Not this time around, though. But rest assured that the theatrics of the night are sticking around.
There will be a Bombe Alaska. Yes. Meringue. Fire.
“For meringues to made purely of egg whites, and for us to do it… it’s a bit of a show off. There’s mango sorbet in the middle with raspberries through it, down the bottom is a pandan sponge cake, and that’s all wrapped up in a vegan meringue. Then we throw some alcohol on it and put it on fire and that’s how we serve it. Once it’s on fire the meringue toasts. The fire goes down and it’s toasted, you open it up and there are beautiful layers.”
I have something to admit here. I know Lucie, and have eaten many meals made by her. I’ve seen her cook those meals, and witnessed her make many cheesecakes, and even more pies. This conversation really hit me for six. She’s pretty bloody good at this food thing. Lucie and Sharleen have created one hell of a menu, and it’s going to be delicious and incredible and outrageous. In the best way.
Each Friday night there will also be live music, with local babe Mary Webb being the first musician to set the mood this week. And in case you need any more excuse to keep coming back, Nagev will be licensed in the future. Perfect for Fringe season, too.
Praise the food gods.
What: Nagev weekly dessert nights
When: Launch night is Friday the 2nd of February, and each Thursday and Friday following. From 5.30pm with the kitchen closing at 9.30pm, with coffee and cakes in the cabinets still available until late.
Where: 190 Payneham Road, Evandale
Tickets: Free entry, no booking required.
Images from Lucie Vano.