Slow Bean – Cheap Vegan Eats in the DTES

The Nines Slow Bean & Culture Club

As of May 24, 2013, The Slow Bean is closed.

I noticed this new vegan restaurant on Pender a month ago, but I’ve been afraid to go in. Maybe it’s the setting (a former car rental shop in the downtown eastside) or the signage (what’s with the giant cat?), but something made me hesitate. I’m pleased to say my fears were unwarranted.

The Slow Bean Menu
I finally ventured in last week. The inside of the restaurant isn’t nearly as sketchy as the outside. It’s actually relaxing and comfortable, which is good because you’ll need a minute to read the super confusing menu chalked on the wall. I couldn’t figure it out, so I let someone else order first and then said “I’ll have what he’s having.”

Sammie and Soup
What I got was a vegan sammie (a.k.a. grilled vegetable sandwich), a side salad, tortilla soup, and a muffin. All of which were excellent. The food is healthy, filling, and most of all flavourful. My order took a long time to prepare (20 minutes), and apparently the nachos take a lot longer. I think the two young women who run the restaurant have some process kinks to work out, but they do know how to make good vegan food.

A few notes on the menu:
– It says “soy cheese”, but they actually use Daiya Cheese (at least on my sandwich), which doesn’t contain soy.
– Contrary to the giant “Vegan” sign on the outside, not everything on the menu is. The quiche contains eggs (but it is vegetarian), which confused the lady who ordered after me.

I liked the Slow Bean, and I’ll be back. I’m sure the menu and ordering process will improve as the owners gain more experience.
The Slow Bean on Urbanspoon Meow?


  1. Is it called Slow Bean or The 9’s? Your experience has been similar to mine — it is quirky and confusing. However, I’ve been about six times and people from our office go frequently. The first question is “How was the experience?” and then “What did you order?” I can say the ordering process has improved significantly and the menu has become less confusing although as they’ve started to add more items the confusion has set in.

    Initially they were not a tax inclusive pricing scheme and we mused as we’d be charged a different price for the same thing. Everything about this place leads me to believe the idea of starting a restaurant started on the steps of the Vancouver Art Gallery shortly after 4pm one sunny Vancouver day.

    You missed out on the best part — the Vegan Beer Bread (not what that sandwich is on)! It is fantastic. My staple order is now a bowl of one of the soups which comes with a half slice of beer bread and an extra order (which is sometimes a slice and sometimes a half slice). It isn’t generally quite filling enough for lunch for me so I find myself needing a mid-afternoon snack.

    Last week when I ordered the gal taking my order was wearing heather gray t-shirt with a guy sitting under a tree wearing camo and blaze oranage holding a shotgun while lots of animals peered from the foliage at him with silly grins. The caption was “Work is for people who don’t know how to hunt.”

    The soup and beer bread rock and are why I continue to go back.


    • I think it’s called Slow Bean, and The Nines is the cultural club it is part of. But who knows.

      I’ll have to try this beer bread. Sounds awesome.

      Next time I’ll convince Pulse folk to join. We were headed to New Town Bakery when I decided to break away from the pack to try this place out. I survived and you seem to like it, so I think they’ll be willing to give it a go.

      One of the women working there described it as part vegan food and part cannabis activism. It does explain a lot.

      It was interesting surveying the crowd of people eating there. There did seem to be a lot of hipster/designer/techies in the room. I sometimes forget how many startups are in the neighbourhood.


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