Tofu Vegan is a blessing for vegans in London and it is going to take Chinese Vegan into the mainstream. This fully vegan restaurant churns out expertly executed multi-regional dishes that are on par with established Chinese restaurants in London. Tuck into “Peking duck” and Sweet & Sour “Chicken” as well as signature Szechuan dishes. Try it once and you will be planning the next very soon.
What is the food like?
Gorgeous authentic multi-regional Chinese vegan food. You will feel like a kid in the sweet shop as everything on the entire menu is vegan. Yes, that’s right. You won’t have to look out for the (V) or (Ve) superscripts here. They have the vegan rendition of all the popular dishes in a typical Chinese restaurant in England. Start off with some tofu and mushroom Xiao Long Bao, delicious cold “chicken” with celery in chilli oil and crunchy stir-fried lotus roots in chilli.
Next, numb your tongue with sliced “fish” in sizzling chilli oil. The tender, subtle, melt in your mouth “fish” is a splendid juxtapose with the dried chilli and Szechuan peppercorn infused broth. It is not for the faint-hearted as it is quite numbingly spicy. The beautifully blended Cantonese sweet and sour “chicken” and tasty stir-fried “lamb” in cumin and chilli sauce are also must-tries. And, you have to sample the house-made silken tofu – smooth and delicately soft.
How is the drinks selection?
It has to be a bottle of Tsingtao beer or some Chinese tea. If that doesn’t tickle your fancy, there is a decent selection of wines as well as soy milk and juices.
What is the place like?
Busy, as it is on the primary artery of fashionable Islington. The space is simple and practical. The front seating area is well-lit with floor to ceiling glass panels that could be opened up in the summer for an alfresco experience. The walls are decorated with traditional Chinese paintings of food preparation or dining scenes. Chunky dark wood tables matched with equally chunky grey leather chairs.
Who are the patrons?
Trendy young Londoners catching up with friends. A multi-cultural bunch calling London their home for now.
How was the service?
Top-notch. The waiter was knowledgeable about the menu and confident in making recommendations based on our dietary requirements. Service was swift but yet warm and relaxed.
Is it child friendly?
Marginal. Children are welcome, but there isn’t a children menu nor baby changing area in the washroom. Space will be a challenge for a push chair indoor, but is fine for outdoor.
Is it dog friendly?
Yes, but only at the limited number of outdoor tables.
Decent value. Prices are on par with other higher-end Chinese restaurant in London. The restaurant do charge a discretionary 12.5% service charge.
See below for what my dining companions and I indulged in for this review (prices quoted include VAT):
Vegan “Peking Duck” 北京烤鸭
Fantastic vegan substitute on a semi-cheat-day. The “duck” has sufficient resemblance and a hint of game flavour in it. Wrap them up with hoisin sauce, fresh cucumber and spring onions and you have yourself a winner. £12.80
Steamed Mushroom Dumpling
Gorgeous beautifully pleated dumpling with mushroom fillings. £5.50
Spring Rolls 炒春卷
Super crunchy spring rolls filled with shiitake mushroom, shredded carrot, tofu and spring onions. Best appreciated with a healthy dip of sweet chilli sauce. The rolls could probably do with another 20 seconds more in the deep-fryer for perfection. £7.20
Steamed Tofu and Mushroom Dumpling
A simple but tasty steamed dumpling with juicy tofu and mushroom fillings . £5.50
Wontons in Spicy Sauce
6 parcels of delicious tofu and mushroom filled dumplings in savoury and spicy chilli oil. £7.80
Chengdu Vegetable Dumplings
How many dumplings can we have? Another tasty dumpling filled with what looks like tofu and mushroom (again) but does taste different from the other…..served in a sweet aromatic soy sauce. £6.80
Cantonese Sweet & Sour ‘Chicken” 咕噜鸡
The sauce is a beautiful balance of sweet and tangy sour. The “chicken” has a nice slight crunch to it and gorgeous with the pineapple and green peppers. £8.80
Stir-fried “Lamb” with Cumin and Chilli 孜然羊肉
This dry stir-fried dish is flavoursome with a peppery and spicy hint accompanying the aromatic cumin. The “lamb” has a good texture and some gamey flavour to it. £12.80
“Three Delicacies of the Earth” 地三鲜
A popular Northern China dish of potato, aubergine and green peppers in a sauce of savoury light soy sauce with a dash of sweet dark soy sauce. £9.80
Sliced “Fish” in Sizzling Chilli Oil 水煮鱼
The star of the meal – the tongue-numbing sliced “fish” in sizzling chilli oil. The tender, subtle, melt in your mouth “fish” is a splendid juxtapose with the dried chilli and Szechuan peppercorn infused broth. It is not for the faint-hearted as it is quite numbingly spicy. £14.80