It finally happened. I got to go to Loving Hut Archway, on Holloway Road, London and devour some absolutely drool-worthy vegan Chinese food. For so long I had desired the day where the opportunity would arise for me to get stuck into some good, tasty and animal-free grub, and at last yesterday my vegan night out came true.
I didn’t have so much high expectations, more rather high hopes. For so long I have wanted to take the plunge into being vegan, but due to a soya allergy that means tofu and beans are apparently off-limits, I’ve been terrified of doing so without being able to indulge in many of the vegan staples.
My hopes weren’t disappointed. I had a mixed selection of starters and I have to tell you that the ‘prawn’ crackers, sesame toast, samosas and vegetable spring rolls were literally the best ones I have ever tasted. They were everything they are supposed to be, the crackers weren’t dripping in oil, had that perfect little snap and crunch, the sesame toast not only tasted heavenly but it almost melted away in pure perfection in the mouth. The samosas were lightly spiced, full of filling and just ‘mmmm’. The spring rolls were crammed to the brim with vegetables, they also weren’t oily and the pastry was thin with a delightful flaky crunch of its own. I didn’t love the little bit of fake meat on a fake bone, but the sauce that was encased around it was full of body and flavour. And of course the seaweed, who doesn’t love some lightly salted, well crisped up seaweed!
For main I opted for the Pad Thai, which consisted of replacement meat and prawns that was full of flavour, well constructed in shape in presented beautifully, with the peanuts and noodles surrounding them. My partner opted for the vegan fish and chips, against all our usual rules of only ordering Chinese food in a Chinese restaurant, purely on the basis we were both intrigued at how it was possible. On its arrival it certain looked like a piece of fish, and it tasted pretty fishy too, but the texture looked a lot more like that of chicken, but we agreed it was good and that to replicate fish and further than had been done would practically be a scientific miracle! I was certainly impressed by our mains and the dishes that people had selected on tables close-by, they sizzled around the room in much the same way as the happy, friendly and laid back atmosphere did.
We decided to have dessert too, because after looking at their Facebook page and seeing some of the pictures of them, I just didn’t want to pass on the chance to try a vegan lemon cheesecake with vegan ice cream. And damn, the slice that arrived was large and the texture and the tangy lemon mixed with blueberry on top and the vanilla in the ice cream was exhilarating. I love cheesecake, but that was extraordinary and has upped the standard for cheesecakes – if all vegan cheesecake tastes that brilliant, if nothing else, that’s the only dessert I’m making from now on. My partner opted for the vegan chocolate cake with vegan ice cream, and that came in an equally large portion of soft, moist but not too rich chocolate cake. After tasting a little bit of that, I had an epiphany vegan desserts are a million times better than all other desserts on the planet (and I’ve had more than my share of desserts).
Whilst in there I also opted to have a smoothie, I had the goji berry smoothie, that consisted of various fruit, veg and seeds. There was a strong taste of banana in the initial sips, but slowly all the other flavours burst around in my mouth. A wonderful smoothie, full of goodness and delight, but without feeling heavy on the stomach like a lot of smoothies tend to.
I certainly came out of there feeling more than satisfied, and, whether I ate anything soya related or not I adored everything that I had put into my body. It was possibly one of my favourite restaurant experiences of all time, and apparently, the do takeaway/deliver so I might have to indulge a little more one day because I certainly don’t intend to go through life without trying out more of their dishes. Damn, I think I’m in love, and if you go along too, you will be too and we’ll have to fight over tables in the already popular place!