Saturday, 3 March 2012

EATING OUT: Royal China

The Chinese are famous for having well over a third of the global population, they are famous for building a huge wall which happens to be the only man-made object distinguishable from outer space, they are famous for various flu's that somehow have close ties to swine and poultry, they are famous for ridiculous ideals which are more misunderstood than they are really ridiculous. They are however not famous for vegetarian dishes. So here I was on a date trying desperately trying to impress as I chose what looked like a classy restaurant, quite randomly on a night out. This particular eatery featured a reception that resembled the Chinese immigration and border control desk. The question was this, would they serve some good vegetarian dishes or had I just ventured down a dead end alley?

Was I ever so wrong? They had some vegetarian dishes indeed and I must say I enjoyed it. I enjoyed it beyond comprehension that to this day I wonder about some of what I tasted on that day. I started the evening with some vegetarian spring rolls and vegetarian spicy dumplings. At this point I started to chuckle on the inside as I realised that almost every restaurant would have veggie alternatives as it were. The dumplings were fantastic and the spring rolls were gob-smashingly crunchy with a manner of vegetables that should speak praises of their engineer (the chefs name is probably Xu Li). The vegetarian spring rolls were distinctly reminiscent of their full protein flesh cousins. I had to double check that they were indeed vegetarian.

The defining point of this meal was the imaginatively titled "shaolin monk vegetables". Honestly I am not ashamed to admit that as I bit through this delightful casserole, I closed my eyes and imagined myself as one of the wise meditating monks in the Tibetan mountains in full robe attire. There where all sorts of greens in this dish including ones I was tasting for the very first time despite having known them for ages but just maintained I would never bring myself to it.

They had a vegetarian duck which I found out was made from a bean curd and whilst I’m not sure I agree I did find it quite tasty. I found it so tasty; I left my plate looking like this.

Because the service was brilliant (I think it impresses any woman you’re eating out with) and their “Chinese” red wine, well for lack of a better word, amazing; I will give this particular diner an 8 out of 10. It would have been a perfect 10 were it not for what I found to be borderline exorbitant pricing. Broke student issues aside this establishment is well and truly a few minutes spent munching on the green of Mongolia…(possible failed attempt at being dramatic)

Thursday, 16 February 2012


Yes Nandos brings back many childhood memories and hence even now when you want to have a quick catch up chat with friends of times past or special people you havent seen in ages or those loved ones gone missing eons at a time,  there is a remarkable interest vented to the portugese poultry bearer. I must say i never even knew my good friends of armada fame and philandering across the globe for centuries had vegetarian options in their trademark eatery. In any event i had an amazing time with a brand new perspective of this little chicken spot.

The humus was sublime and even the little peri-peri drizzle sauce that came with it was grand, i did however think the pita bread was, unfairly to the meal, dry. Registered this concern in usual chaotic fashion to the overlords of this institution and as a result i was offered a corn on the cob, on the house, which was burnt. Now i know it was burnt because i happen to be from Zimbabwe and if you did not know we have an unhealthy obsession with maize, well, then now you know. So unhealthy infact its our staple food. There was the 2 pieces of garlic bread to contend with which in true commercial spirit were typical slices of some in house bakery bread with a dollop of garlic butter, nothing Portugese about that if I may say so myself .
The saving face of this day was that their Vegi Burger (in the lemeon and herb variant)
 actually tasted nice. I say nice not for lack of a better word but it is just very accurate. It is undearingly pin-point reflecvtive of what i thought. That its made from a bean and For this price they just about managed to create a dish with as much balance to getting a vegetarion diner some form of nourishement and yet not have it taste like some GM paste with flavours sprinkled around it for some unacomplishable kick. What was kicking in the wild manner of sorts; the peri-peri salt that was sprinkled over their chips either made the chips taste better than they actually where or it just is a great condiment...

I will give this one a 6 because it was just decent enough to provide a great meal but i was not overally impressed. Maybe overawed at the idea of going in to a Nandos with the aim of getting a vegetarian meal but in any event i did enjoy it to a certain extent, especially the humus, which im still going to try and recreate at home as im convinced i could do really well in.