159 St George’s Rd
Northcote VIC 3070
This little gem is tucked away on St George’s Rd – a street in Melbourne with plenty of vehicle traffic but not a lot of pedestrian traffic. It’s a vegetarian, Taiwanese restaurant with vegan and gluten free options clearly marked on the menu. I can’t tell you how refreshing it is to not have to ask a million questions about the ingredients in the dishes I’m considering!
We showed up for a late lunch and the place was desserted – though I think it might have had a lot to do with the World Vegan Day festivities happening in Melbourne at the time.
This little photo book came to us with the menu. It seemed a bit silly and didn’t help me choose a dish at all, but I looked at it anyway.
I was in the mood to think outside the square, so I ordered this sparkling blood orange & cardamom drink which was pretty good! It wasn’t too carbonated (fizzy drinks normally disagree with me) and the cardamom was subtle. It was nice and tangy.
We ordered a few things from the a la carte menu. First we had the dumplings. The wrappers tasted awesome but they tore pretty easily. I found the filling a little chewy but Mr. AA really loved these! If you’re a dumpling kind of person, you’ll dig these.
Then the curry puffs… These were nice and crispy on the outside and full of veggies & spices on the inside – but not spicy at all. Two thumbs up for not being greasy!
This was a stuffed tofu item called “ah gei”, which is a traditional Taiwanese thing. Honestly, I had no intention of eating tofu that day, but the waitress told me that they MAKE all of their tofu on site, so how could I resist? It came as a parcel – I cut it in half for the photo so you could see the inside. It’s one of the more unusual things I’ve eaten this year but it did NOT disappoint. It was actually pretty amazing – full of rich flavours and a good texture that wasn’t too chewy. I was a little apprehensive about sharing this!
And finally, the curry tofu – because I had to try more than one kind of tofu. This dish was freakishly familiar and it didn’t take me long to figure out why! This is the *exact* type of curry I was served in Japan when I was expecting to get an Indian style curry! I’ve been wanting to eat something like it ever since I came back from Japan in 2007 but I had no idea what to look for. So… I was feeling pretty happy. I finally had some answers about the mysterious curry in Japan.
The curry was mild but had lots of flavour and a good variety of veggies in it. I forced myself to finish the plate not because I was hungry but because it was too delicious to leave behind.
I’m not exaggerating when I tell you that this is the BEST tofu I’ve ever had. It’s far superior to any other; it’s spongy, soft and delicate, but not like silken tofu. It doesn’t fall apart, but it breaks nicely when you dig the side of a spoon into it. I really wish this restaurant would pre-package their tofu and let you take some home to work with.
I’d like to have seen more mains and less entrees on the a la carte menu. That being said though, when I go back, chances are it will be for the banquet. I’d really love to try some other things from the menu, including some dessert which I didn’t have room for at the time. Everything is reasonably priced (entrees $5, mains $13) and the staff are SO FRIENDLY.