Ah, moving house. Or maybe I mean: Bah, moving house. I absolutely love making a house a home. If only it weren’t preceded by the agony of packing, lifting and organising. The whole experience takes its toll mentally as well as physically.
So last Friday, after full days at work and an evening of heaving boxes in and out of the car, my fellow and I were weak with hunger and in no state for cooking. How fortunate then that a meat-free Chinese takeaway is not far from our new place! (Apologies for the picture quality – my phone was on its last legs and the charger was buried in a box somewhere.)
The Lotus Vegetarian Kitchen in Withington has an extensive meat-free menu, with all the vegan items clearly marked. As is traditional in China, it’s heavy on the mock meat but also offers some vegetable and tofu dishes as well. We’ve been numerous times, though I don’t think we ever needed it more than that Friday.
Our starters are usually the same: Vietnamese spring rolls, dumplings that are absolutely sublime, and one other deep-fried treat – in this case, crispy wonton. If you like crispy fried goods, you really can’t go wrong. We’re always given three dips (which quite often leak out of their plastic containers – be warned!) of varying degrees of spiciness, which make a very nice accompaniment.
We’re trying to hit all of the main courses on the menu, because there are just so many tempting options. This time I had Szechuan Crispy Veggie Beef, which was nice but a wee bit chewy and a touch too spicy for me. It was the first time I’ve had the imitation beef, and I didn’t enjoy it as much as the duck or, my personal favourite, the Chicken Steak in Black Pepper Sauce.
My fellow had Veggie Sliced Fish with XO Sauce, pictured at the top of the page – he’s had the fish a few times and it has a really nice texture (I know a lot of people aren’t keen on mock meat, but I love how the Chinese pay so much attention to getting the right taste, look and texture). Sticking with the seafood theme, we split a portion of the Salt & Pepper Crispy Veggie King Prawns, which are always delicious.
In case the Chinese doesn’t fill you, there’s also a chippy almost directly opposite (Mike’s Fish and Chips) which fries the chips in vegetable oil and ensures no cross contamination with the meaty and fishy goods. What a winner!
Lotus Vegetarian Kitchen is also an eat-in restaurant with extremely attentive staff, and we always say we should scrub up and go and eat there again…but in the end, the temptation to eat on the sofa in our pyjamas is always too great!