For whatever reason my friends find me as a source of THEIR entertainment because only I happen to encounter the weird, sometimes wonderful but mostly the weird.
This one... that I am about to explain to you... takes the cake of all the weird encounters I've had... and this is in relation to my dining out experience too.
A friend of mine is a Vegetarian who's been looking to go down the Vegan road noticed a new-ish Vegan restaurant on Victoria st, Richmond (shop 10, 242 to be exact). I don't mind Vegetarian food provided that I don't get preached on about the benefits of NOT eating meat and how by not eating meat we would be saving the planet (and the animals). My friend is NOT one of those Vegetarians, she doesn't care that I eat meat or that I order a steak whilst she's sorting out between the carrots, cucumbers and the capsicums in what we're supposed to identify as a salad but what I refer to rabbit food.Nor is she fussy at where we usually dine at, she would normally order the "vegetarian" dish (usually a cannelloni or a salad.. slim pickings in my mind)
And so off we headed to this restaurant called "Loving Hut". Headed off we did, not in search of the place but in search of parking. Victoria street is perhaps one of the busier streets with plenty of restaurants and parking is somewhat slim pickings and when you're a restaurant that's near Pho Chu The (one of the busiest Pho places around), you're looking for trouble.
I don't know what it is about me and over ordering but that's exactly what we did. Our entrees came out:
L-R: Fried Taro, vegetarian dumplings and vegetables in tofu wrap
I have to say we probably could have just stuck to the entrees and would have walked away pretty much satisfied. They were better than delish.. they were freaking awesome.
There's no point in comparing food like this to non vegetarian places because let's admit it, dumplings without meat taste a lot weirder but if you compare the food against all the other vegetarian places i.e enlightened cuisine(city), Veggie hut(box hill), what we were served pretty much kicked asses. And I do have a soft spot for Veggie hut.
Basically if I ever converted to "Vegetarianism"(very unlikely), this would be the place to eat at without a doubt.
Greed gets the better of you when you order more food than you can physically eat... but eggplant with tofu apparently sounded very appetising to my Vegetarian-trying to convert to Vegan friend. I hate eating eggplant mainly because I associate it with fish and my Malaysian friends for whatever reason love to order the "eggplant cooked in a clay pot with fish"... and it's the most ewwiest of dishes but hey... I still gave it try and frankly it was very tasty, combined with a soft tofu and lovely eggplant (yeh I can't believe I'm admitting this). I somewhat enjoyed eating this. It worked out well to have ordered this as complimented out pineapple fried rice.
The thing came out and we were like o.O...no more to fit in anymore food. We were stuffed to our eyeballs. The fried rice itself was bland. Stand-a-lone dish it would have failed miserably, with the eggplant dish.. it worked well. I did like the additions to cashew nuts.. gave it a different dimension even though the entire dish was pretty much BLAND.
We didn't finish off there, we decided that we had to try their cheesecake- which confused me because how can a cheesecake not be made out of cheese.. but heck what do i know about baking cakes? was it tasty? yes. did it taste the same as true cheesecake... no
Based on the food alone, I would definitely go again. But unfortunately neither my friend or I are willing to ever visit such a place again even if the food was pretty much spectacular from a Vegetarian point of view.
There is seriously something demented about the place... and I wished someone had warned us prior to visiting because our experience was completely ruined by the staff.
And not it wasn't about the lack of service or bad service or rude attitude that you usually get. Like I mentioned earlier I HATE WITH A PASSION OF BEING PREACHED AT, especially the benefits of eating vegetarian food or the fact that we're saving the world. Loving Hut does both.
Upon entering, I noticed one of their bambourines shifted to the side (assuming that they sell quick "lunch" stuff because it wasn't in use during dinner) had a sticker with the whole "we love the planet" type stickers both written in Vietnamese/English. Hey I'm cool with that at least it's not someone shoving stuff in my face.
But then at the back of the room there is a TV like most tacky Asian restaurants, however the difference is that they play tacky Asian songs. Loving Hut however plays some preaching satellite tv (something Supreme Master Tv). Weird? Yes.. but hey, I respect what people want to watch and usually don't even pay attention to what's playing on tv anyway because the focus is usually on my friend.
However, once you sit down, one of the waiters give you a book and a pamplet about the benefits of going Vegan (and how Vegans are saving the world) or something rubbish-y like that. Oh, the irony! It's not okay to kill animals but it's okay to chop down trees to preach to the world. I ignored the books, I mean the intention was to give them back anyway as we had no use for them. I figured sometimes people just want to "lightly educate you" about the benefits and having someone give you books wouldn't hurt so much... right?
No, Loving Hut takes it one further, one of their staff (not sure if they were the owner or not) basically interrupted out meal.(freakin rude if you ask me) and started harping on about the literal benefits of being Vegan, the reasons to why they became a Vegan (seriously why do i, as a patron, care?). But as well mannered people you just listen... however I started to get irritated and angry when this person starting making baseless claims that apparently... "by killing animals, we release a negative energy into the world which in turn is the reason to why there has been a lot of natural disasters" O M G W T F...
and of course this person started to preach to us about the benefits of watching the same tv station as them and how they meditate etc etc etc
This person lost me the moment they opened their mouth. Sure, it's one thing about being passionate to why you are a Vegan but then to start harping on about some weird philosophical baseless rubbish to patrons who are paying for a meal not a lesson in rubbish is another altogether.
It really is a shame because Loving Hut has so much potential to grow as a restaurant because the food that is offered is way beyond any of their competitors, but the difference is that even if their competitors may share the same values of saving animals (perhaps not the whole Supreme Master cult rubbish) at least they know not to be scaring off their customers because they want to push on THEIR values and whacked out beliefs.
So I say... if you want to go to Loving Hut, be sure that you will enjoy the food, but be warned you will be preached at... and if you can't handle that (like me).. probably not the place for you(or me)