concept watch

Concept Watch: Padmanadi, Rosso Coffee Roasters and Babylon Cafe

By Sophie Mir

In this edition of Concept Watch, we highlight three restaurant concepts that are making an impact on Canadian diners. Here’s a look at the characteristics and menu offerings that make these restaurants unique:


Locations: 2 (Edmonton, Alberta)
Facebook: 5,144 likes | Instagram: 3,233 followers

Concept characteristics:

  • A family-run, Asian vegan restaurant.
  • One full-service (downtown) unit and one fast-casual (south side) unit.
  • Environmentally minded practices include offering stainless steel or plant-based straws as well as plant-based and compostable drinking cups.
  • Delivery offered through third-party apps, SkipTheDishes and Uber Eats.

Menu snapshot:

  • Appetizers: Includes gado gado (traditional Indonesian salad), breaded cauliflower bites and roti canai (grilled Indonesian flatbread).
  • Vegetable dishes: Spotlight on Spicy Coconut Eggplant, Shanghai Baby Bok Choy, and Oyster Mushroom Gaylan.
  • Vegan “meat” selections: Features soy-based beef strip, fish, and chicken substitutes.
  • Noodle dishes: Highlights include Indonesian-style vermicelli rice and flat rice noodles.

Rosso Coffee Roasters

Locations: 7 (Calgary, Alberta)
Facebook: 4,010 likes | Instagram: 27,023 followers | Twitter: 4,136 followers

Concept characteristics:

  • Relationship-driven cafe offering premium coffee.
  • Sources coffee directly from coffee producers around the world with Rosso Coffee Roasters team members meeting with coffee producers globally to form personal relationships.
  • Compassionate buying efforts include paying 3.5 times more than the commodity market, on average, to ensure that coffee producers are paid fairly.
  • Leaf icon on select coffees acknowledge producers who focus on preservation of the earth and practice organic or biodynamic agricultural techniques.

Menu snapshot:

  • Coffee: Beans are sourced from farms around the world, including Costa Rica, Brazil, and Rwanda.
  • Non-coffee beverages: Spotlight on hot chocolate, loose-leaf teas, soda, and orange juice.
  • Sandwiches: Varieties include Vegan Chickpea, featuring vegan mayonnaise; Classic Cubano, made with pork loin, havarti cheese, and dill pickle; and Roasted Turkey, featuring sriracha mayonnaise
  • Salads: Highlights trendy, health-forward ingredients, such as kale, quinoa, zucchini, and cauliflower.

Babylon Cafe

Locations: 3 (Vancouver, British Columbia)
Facebook: 1,013 likes | Instagram: 193 followers

Concept characteristics:

  • Fast and fresh Mediterranean fare.
  • Restaurants are relatively small with limited or no seating and decor; the first store launched was known as a “hole in the wall.”
  • Operate from lunchtime to late-night hours.
  • Emphasis on housemade preparations: sauces and falafel are housemade, marinades for chicken and other meats are prepared daily, and all dishes are made to order.

Menu snapshot:

  • Appetizers: Highlights include hummus and pita, dolmathes (grape leaves stuffed with rice and vegetables), tzatziki with pita, and falafel.
  • Combination plates: A protein (chicken shawerma, lamb shawerma, beef or falafel), served with rice, roasted potatoes, Greek salad, tzatziki, and pita bread.
  • Wraps: Varieties feature chicken shawerma, grilled veggie, falafel, lamb shawerma, and beef kebab.
  • Salads: Tabbouleh, chicken, and Greek salads available.

About the Author

Sophie Mir is an Associate Editor for Technomic Inc., a Chicago-based foodservice research and consulting firm. Technomic provides clients with the facts, insights and consulting support they need to enhance their business strategies, decisions and results. The company’s services include publications and digital products as well as proprietary studies and ongoing research on all aspects of the food industry.

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