Today’s post pays homage to my favorite Chinese restaurant. Lotus is unusual in that everything is veggie and can be veganised (tofu fried rice anyone?) I have been 4 times, each time in groups so I have now sampled nearly every dish on the menu. (Excluding the rice and noodle dishes). I have decided to compose a list of my favorite dishes, firstly my top choices for starters.
Prawn Toast- Unusual yet delicious, as a veggie I always envied prawn toast, I felt I was missing out, now I no longer need to feel jealous if prawn toast is on the table! Lovely crispy fried bread with sesame seeds, encasing a sweet soft filling.
Grilled Veggie Dumplings- Basically Gyoza which I love.
Caramel Spicy Tofu- This stuff, I initially tried when it was ordered by my friend Amy. It may sound disgusting to you, but once again the sweet and salty flavor triumphs. Mum loves this sticky tofu too- and she is not a huge fan of beancurd. Beware though if you can’t handle the heat as these do have a kick to them.
Mixed Beancurd and Gluten- A similar tofu and two gluten based mock meats in different marinades, I like this dish and its different textures.
Chicken Satay Skewers- The favorite of my mother, the peanut satay sauce is drizzled over chicken, peppers and vegetables. Nicer than similar veggie dishes I have had in other Chinese restaurants.
Now, its time for my favorite main courses to be in the spotlight.
Chilli Tomato Fish- I am a lover of all things ‘fish’, I love the Vbites ‘Making Waves’ products and I like ‘Tofush’ and chips too, so I am glad to say this is the menu star for me; and the best mock fish around. Incredible, the textures alone are worth raving about, soft flaky inner and a chewier outer then a crispy seaweed skin. The tomato sauce is nice too and contains juicy green peas within. The dish is very spicy but you can order it mild or medium and they can tailor it for your pallet.
Sweet and Sour Ribs also deserve a mention, the Lotus sweet and sour sauce is not too sickly sweet or too tangy. Its one of the best sweet and sour sauces I have had. Ribs make a change from chicken but you can also have this dish with chicken or prawns.
Kung Po Chicken- This is quite a mild dish, it comes with lots of cashew nuts and the sauce is slightly sweet and allows the taste of the vegetables and nuts to shine through.
The Sizzling dishes are loved by many, If you don’t like attention then don’t order!- the dishes come to the table while sizzling. I like the black bean sauce offered on the sizzling chicken or beef as I think it is not too salty like some black bean sauces.
I should also mention my least favorite dishes- The chilli potatoes just as I thought the dish was quite boring and the eel which did not taste ‘fishy’ and only came in orange sauce with nothing else.
Finally; I will insure you there is no need to stay away if you don’t like mock meat dishes.. there are a plethora of vegetable and tofu dishes which you can order if you prefer, The include the pineapple rice! served in a pineapple!, the creamy vegetables and sooo many different beancurd options!. My auntie ordered the salt and pepper aubergine and they reminded me of courgette fritti from an Italian joint but with much more seasoning of course.
Remember, at Lotus there is no worry about things containing fish sauce; a dilemma for veggies at most Chinese and Thai places. You can order prawn crackers without checking the ingredients! Freedom at last. No shared chip fryer, no cross contamination, its all ‘safe!’ No MSG either so no belly ache.
One down point is the hefty corkage fee at this unlicensed venue. I recommend going T-total or going to the Friendly Red Lion pub next door for a drink afterwards. Stick to tea as at Lotus they have a great specialty tea menu. The flowering lotus tea features a glass teapot to watch your flowers open! A spectacle at your table.
Don’t forget dessert! (get your leftovers boxed up!) Egg free banana and pineapple fritters are an offering, however I prefer to order the vegan ice cream (I think it is Swedish glace) as it goes nicely with the complementary fruit platter and fortune cookies tremendously well.
I hope I have encouraged you to give it a try whether you are a veggie, vegan or an omnivore.