Remember those old salad and sandwich bars that had glass counters filled with fresh ingredients? Imagine that, but instead of white bread, chicken, lettuce and cheap mayo, you can choose from activated almonds, seitan, kimchi and other premium produce.

That’s the idea at VERD, a plant-based, fast-food brand from Joe Pagliaro and Grace Watson who are behind now-closed Zeitgeist. Pagliaro says the idea at VERD is the same; just the delivery has changed. “The mission has always been and will always be give people access to better quality plant-based food. You shouldn't have to compromise on taste if you move away from eating dairy and animals.”

All salads can be assembled quickly and customisation is easy. Start with a Not-Caesar with lettuce, cherry tomatoes, vegan parmesan and tempeh bacon; or a Spiced Dahl with brown rice, lentils, coconut yoghurt, coriander and marinated kale. On top of those you can add avocado, tofu, plant-based chicken strips, Iggy’s croutons or kimchi.

Salads are the main game but there’s also an interesting take on breakfast with a tempeh B.L.A.T; a quinoa, teff and Inca berry porridge; and a Brekky Bowl with macadamia and Inca berry granola topped with coconut yoghurt and mixed-berry puree. Then there’s coffee with house-made nut milks (a rarity in Sydney), smoothies thick enough to constitute a meal, and raw cakes made by Watson.

As a takeaway-orientated salad bar, there’s not much atmosphere for the dine-ins, just a few recycled wooden blocks and a pair of tables made from strawboard (a cardboard material made from recycled materials). If it wasn’t for the glowing VERD sign and the glass counter with its colourful produce, people may confuse the site for a construction station. The pair is planning on opening more stores, starting with an online-only shop in Surry Hills. “The palette for [future shops] will remain the same. Recycled wood of some description, the greens on display, the menu on the wall and a light feature.”

Shop 5, Scotch Row, Barangaroo South

Mon to Fri 7am–3pm