A note before I start: I’m back and feeling almost normal! Thanks so much for all the get well messages. Of course, I wasn’t on the computer to read them until today, but it was a lovely surprise to come back and see that someone had noticed I wasn’t here. 🙂 I was writing blog posts in my head while I was lying around last week, even though I couldn’t write them down. So here’s the first…
You know what (for me) is the hardest part of being a vegan blogger? It’s not thinking of topics for posts. It’s not even writing the posts (although that can sometimes be tricky). The hardest part for me is to remember to take pictures of a meal BEFORE I dig in and make a mess of the dish! Our visit to the new Northcote Loving Hut a couple of weeks ago was a prime example.
Loving Hut Northcote opened its doors very quietly, a few days before Christmas. Although I’d been impatiently waiting for them to open, the pre (and post)-Christmas madness kept me busy and I only made my first visit about two weeks ago.
The first thing that struck me when I walked in the door was that I had never seen a cleaner restaurant anywhere. I seriously think you could eat off the floor! It was also very quiet – Tuesday lunch time – so there were only 3 other diners in the fairly huge restaurant. I imagine it gets much busier later in the week and in the evenings. Anyway, this meant that we got attentive service by the friendly staff, and we were served very quickly.
We weren’t all that hungry, but I wanted to check the place out, so we shared a meal.
I prefer steamed dumplings, but B wanted fried, so I agreed because I wanted him to like the place enough to make a return visit.
They were tasty and crisp, and we’d barely started eating them when our main meal arrived. That was fine because we were just sampling and sharing bits and pieces anyway, so we had lots to choose from.
I usually dislike mock meats, but I couldn’t resist the fried ‘chicken’. We ordered a big Rainbow Salad to counteract the oil, and a serve of steamed rice was complimentary at lunchtime.
The mock chicken was a bit of a novelty for me. It was like chicken, but not so much that it made me think it really was chicken, i.e. there were no veins, bones, sinews, gristle or guilt.
What I really wanted from the fried ‘chicken’ was the oily, crunchy, salty coating – and it definitely had all that. It wasn’t the kind of thing I’d like to eat everyday – but it was good fun and obviously popular. Two of the other three diners had also ordered it. I also saw that Veganopoulous ordered it on her visit, and after seeing her post, I wondered if we actually got two serves!
The Rainbow Salad, on the other hand, is something I could certainly eat every day. Super crisp and fresh, with two dressings on the side. The green dressing was particularly delicious! It tasted of fennel or aniseed and I dipped everything into it.
Where to find Loving Hut
Loving Hut is on High Street, Northcote, just south of Separation Street (where the old NQR used to be). Catch the 86 tram from the city and get off at Chemist Warehouse, or catch a South Morang train and jump off at Northcote Station. Or, if you live near me, you can just walk!
Like all Loving Hut restaurants, the menu is totally vegan. It’s such a lovely treat to be able to choose ANYTHING from the menu without having to read the fine print or beg or negotiate. I had photographed a menu when they’d just opened, but it has expanded considerably since then.
Actually, looking on the bright side, my bad (and missing) photos are a good excuse to make a second visit soon – and next time I’ll arrive hungry so we can include dessert and photograph each dish BEFORE I start eating it – and also get a picture of the full menu, then I can call myself a proper blogger!