There’s a new plant based kid in town! About two weeks ago, Gu-i opened its doors and has been booming ever since! I went to check it out today, and got to taste their simple, healthy and delicious food! Result: I’m in love with this new place.
Gu-i is a beautiful little business run by 26-year-old Svante. After quite a few years of studying and hesitating, she jumped right onto making her business plan once she graduated and started up her own little business. Yes, I keep on saying “little”, because Gu-i is a very tiny place, but that’s what makes me love it even more. The atmosphere inside is very cosy and warm. There’s room for just a couple people to sit by the window, but you can also easily take your order with you.
The first thing you notice when you enter Gu-i, are the multiple plants that decorate the place. The super nice thing about it is that you can buy (or order) every plant they own. Svante deliberately chose for this concept because plants give us all the good stuff and she wants to make this clear to people. She also chose to focus on “plant based” instead of “vegan” for a clear reason: she wants to lower the “burden” for people towards plant based / vegan food. She wanted to created a place where everyone can come enjoy healthy food, and where every single person will be appreciated for giving plant based food a chance.
“It’s the small things that count. I want to make people experience that eating food that doesn’t contain animal-derived products can be very delicious and healthy. I think it’s great when people who aren’t vegan or vegetarian want to make a step towards trying out plant based food, and that’s what I want to focus on. I think we can achieve most when we try to make everyone consume less animal-derived products and make people more conscious about what they put on their plate. I don’t want to force anyone to become vegan, all I want is to open the door to a more plant based way of living and encourage people to take a look inside.” – Svante
Svante tries to work with recipes that don’t necessarily scream “vegan”. In that way she hopes everyone will feel good and at home at her place. Simple things, like avocado toast, will show people that eating plant based is something you can easily do, and in that way she hopes to inspire people to try out same things in their own kitchens.
Gu-i will get a summer- and winter menu. Right now they serve fresh juices, smoothies, smoothie bowls, toasts and a couple sweet treats. Later this year they will replace the smoothie bowls by more hot meals and more winter-themed foods. Svante plans to also organise workshops in the future, to focus even more on how easily people can make plant based meals at home.
My friend and I tried out two things from the menu: I had the tropical El Dorado smoothie bowl, which contained pineapple, mango, banana, passion fruit, coconut yoghurt and turmeric, topped off with heavenly homemade granola, chia seeds, coconut shreds, banana and kiwi. My friend had the holy Guacamoly toast, which was served with cherry tomatoes, red onion, red bell pepper, sesame seeds and dried onions (the dried onions were left behind in this case, that’s why you don’t see them in the picture). We both enjoyed the food very much and were kind of sad we finished it so quickly 😉
The ecological aspect is also something they really want to focus on. Right now they use biodegradable packaging for the take-away meals, but when people bring their own container, they will get a discount. In that way they can make people more conscious about the use of plastic and waste.
I was curious about where the name “Gu-i” came from, and I was glad I asked because I absolutely love the definition behind it. “Gu-i” means “to enjoy” in the Esperanto language. Esperanto is a neutral and easy language that was developed to bring people together in a very low-level and easy way, and to make them bond with each other. “To enjoy” is what she chose for, because at Gu-i you can enjoy delicious food without feeling guilty, because everything is free from animal-derived products, refined sugars and other no-go’s.
Svante is also planning to expand her business in the future and establish a separate plant shop next to Gu-i, where you’ll be able to buy all their cute and beautiful plants. What sounds better than having a nice plant based meal and going home with a cute new plant to decorate your home with afterwards? I think her concept is a match made in heaven.
In my opinion, Ghent has gained a sweet new plant based hotspot in the middle of the city centre that you all should try out. It’s a great place for everyone, from die hard vegans to omni’s who want to start living more conscious, and your food gets served with a bright smile and lots of love. So if you’re in Ghent and looking for breakfast, lunch, a snack, or whatever you like, then certainly don’t hesitate to swing by Gu-i! You can find them at Sint-Pietersnieuwstraat 97, every weekday from 10am till 5.30pm (and on Fridays till 3pm). You can check out their website over here for more information and their menu.