Attempting to juggle the blog (The Afterimage), sketchbook, camera and a small forest's worth of university readings around Sydney.
Published November 14th 2013
Delicious food welcoming vegans & vegetarians with open arms
My mother is a vegetarian and has been for almost ten year. I've witnessed, first hand, the difficulty of finding completely vegetarian dishes when dining out. This is why 100% vegan restaurants like Green Gourmet in Newtown are a welcome relief and an unreservedly welcome place for all vegetarians and vegans.
The interior is clean and simple, with Chinese calligraphy on the walls and specials written on the blackboard in the back of the restaurant. We chose to order dishes but the buffet line is a good alternative if you're more inclined to try a bit of everything.
Disclaimer: not all dishes translate well into vegan. You notice the importance of both textures and seasoning that used to be masked by the natural features of meat, especially if you order the 'fake' meat dishes.
But vegan dishes can also be innovative. They can draw your attention to the versatility of certain foods (usually soy) and the natural flavours of others. And, of course, there is the age-old novelty of expecting something to taste a certain way and getting something different.
The Soy Drumsticks appear to be crispy fried chicken drumsticks but reveal curled strips of fried bean curd when bitten into. Its delicate texture is lightly seasoned and definitely leaves you resisting the urge to dive for the whole plate. A must-try.
Better Than Salt & Pepper Calamari is similarly battered and lightly salted. The texture is less chewy than real calamari and reminds me of fishballs.
The Mock Duck with Green Gai Lan had that unique smoked flavour of vegetarian duck (if you've bought a pre-frozen variety, you'll know what I'm talking about). What Green Gourmet does extremely well is their fried dishes – the duck was crispy, hot and fresh but not dripping with oil.
The Taro Pillow with Pine Nut Plum Sauce was an interesting blend of textures, from the crispy soy batter of the outer layer to a smooth taro mash inside that was layered with more soy pieces and topped with pine nuts. The dish has a great sweet and sour flavour.
The blueberry and mocha cheesecake slices were admittedly rather overpriced – a very small slice for $8.80 and an extra $3 with soy ice-cream. What the cheesecake lacked in size, it made up in density though because the cake was rich and vividly flavoured. I'm still not sure if I would pay the amount again, but it definitely changed my perceptions about vegan desserts
I walked out of the restaurant feeling lighter – a meal of only soy products and vegetables tends to make for a very guilt-free meal, despite being fried.
Definitely check out Green Gourmet for a place to eat out without the usual difficulties that accompany dining out in meat-friendly restaurants.