Loving Hut Northcote II

Happy World Vegan Day (for yesterday!) I didn’t do anything to celebrate as I was home in bed with the sniffles, however am looking forward to the WVD Melbourne event next Sunday. Come at me delicious food!!

I’m still trying to knock out some recipe and dining out posts from before and during MoFo – this one being one of them. A couple of weeks back, the Bear and I hit up the Northcote Social Club for a gig. It was a Tuesday night, so we headed there straight from work and had some time to kill before it started. I don’t know why I feel that I need to give you a backing story to why we ate at Loving Hut, it really does not need to be justified.

As usual, the vibe was kind of weird as there was only one other couple sitting in when we arrived, in that sparse, school cafeteria-style space. There was a video playing on the TV of nature and animal shots which kept us entertained for some time, and for a moment I almost forgot how strange it was that a TV was playing there in the first place.

lovinghutnorthcote1We started out with some steamed wontons, which were sitting in a ginger-soy vinaigrette. I really enjoyed the dressing, as well as the crunchy garlic shoots and herbs on top.

lovinghutnorthcote2I couldn’t resist ordering the tofu bites again, I am obsessed. Hot, crispy, salty outside with melt in your mouth centre. And that tartar sauce, how?! So good.

lovinghutnorthcote3For the main, we shared a bowl of the Bun Bo Hue, which was plenty for the both of us as we were not super hungry. I always find these big bowls of soup so filling, even with the thin broth base. You can choose to have mock beef or tofu with this one – we chose beef. The flavour of the broth was lovely, made with lemongrass, chili, ginger, lime and cinnamon. It was zesty and slightly spicy and made me feel good inside.

lovinghutnorthcote4After perusing the dessert cabinet, there was no way I was leaving without a piece of this. There were a few cakey slicey things like this of different flavours, I can’t remember exactly what this one was – I think hazelnut mocha raspberry, or something of the like. I remember thinking that all those flavours might be a bit ambitious, but it seriously worked so well. The base had an incredible light and crispy texture, the centre beautiful and creamy, and how could I go wrong with a scoop of Zebra Dream ice cream on the side? Winnnaaaahhhhh!

If you want to see the glory of my first visit to Loving Hut Northcote, check out the post here. The Northcote shop definitely wins my vote over the Richmond one, which I have been to several times but only once taken pictures (post still to come). Also note, the hours of operation have changed since my last visit and they are now open for lunch too. Hoorah!

Loving Hut
377-79 High St, Northcote
Tues-Sun – 11am – 10pm
kitchen closes 30 mins prior to closing

Loving Hut Northcote

The other week, the bear and I decided to go out to Northcote to see a comedy show as a part of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival that took over town for a few weeks. I haven’t really spent much time in Northcote – mostly because it used to be kind of far and out of the way for me, but living and working closer to the city now means it’s quite within reach. This is exciting news, given the experience we had at Loving Hut.

Loving Hut is an international chain of vegan restaurants, which focus on the provision of affordable, cruelty-free food. The Northcote restaurant has only been open for a few months, while there has been one in Richmond for some time now (incidentally it is RIGHT AROUND THE CORNER from my new place!). While I am yet to visit the Richmond one (I know, right?!), we popped by the one in Perth when we were in Western Australia, and thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

We decided to order a few dishes to share in order to make the most of the experience. First up, spring rolls.

ImageBilly really enjoyed these. I thought they were nice, but nothing out of the ordinary. A good, crispy spring roll.

ImageNext up we got some of the southern fried chicken. I had to try this after seeing it on Cindy and Michael’s blog, as well as over at Veganopoulous. It did not disappoint. The texture was amazing – a thick, crunchy batter with chewy, stringy insides…I honestly don’t know how they do it, it’s one of veganism’s mysteries. Served with a creamy spiced mayo, I enjoyed every bite.

ImageWe decided to get the rainbow salad to ensure we got some fresh veggies and not just a huge meal of mock meats. This was a good move. While the constituents of the salad were not particularly impressive, they provided a fresh, juicy break from the fried-ness of our other dishes. The two dressings were great, I particularly enjoyed the herb-y punch of the green one.

ImageWhile we were eating, I saw a specials board which had earlier gone unnoticed. On it was an entree item of fried silken tofu bites, which I knew immediately that I had to try. After ordering a serve, we were so glad that we did. These were hands down the most delicious things of the night. Perfect little golden crispy medallions that melted in your mouth when you bit into them. They were seasoned with herbs identical to those used on Grill’d chips, and served with a vegan tartare that was mind-blowingly spot on. I have no idea how they got it so creamy – another vegan miracle. The bear and I could not stop talking about these for days (possibly weeks?). Even the folks at the table next to us asked one of the staff members what was on our table and ordered themselves some. I am trying to come up with excuses to go back there, just so I can eat these little gems again.

All that only cost us around the $30 mark between us.

Completely satisfied, we wandered down to the social club to catch the comedy show, only to discover it had been cancelled. Not to worry, the night was still marked down as a success thanks to the delights of dinner.

With lovely staff, quick service and delicious meals, Loving Hut Northcote is definitely a winner.

Loving Hut
377-79 High St, Northcote
Tues-Sun – 5.30pm – 10pm
kitchen closes 30 mins prior to closing

Loving Hut, Victoria Park

Arghhh, just came on to do a new post and realised that this one was saved as a draft and never published. I’ll pop this up and another one will be very soon to come….

Before I continue on my backlog rampage, I just wanted to take a moment to say a big THANK YOU to all the folks who have nominated me for awards in the last couple of months. At this stage, I haven’t formally accepted any on my blog. As you can see, I’m having enough trouble just keeping up with my own posts at the moment! But I wanted to say how grateful I am to be nominated – I never thought when I started this blog earlier this year that I would have so many wonderful followerss from all over the world who would take the time to read my ramblings. ❤

Onto the next eats.

We had some time to kill while we had a window seal replaced on our van, and thought – what better way to kill it than with food? Enter Loving Hut.

Loving Hut is a chain of vegan restaurants, with locations all over the world! While offering mostly Asian style cuisine, each restaurant tends to have their own style and ‘specialties’, with the common goal of serving affordable food that encourages a peaceful and harmonious lifestyle.

We visited last year and enjoyed the raw mango wraps we had so much that we wanted to go back and try something else. They have a range of hot foods (curries, veg dishes, etc) and raw foods, but this time, Billy couldn’t resist the lure of a hot pie. He went with the ‘Aussie’.

ImageThis was a good mock up of a meaty pie, with a chewy tvp based filling. The top was kind of strange – not a flaky pastry but as though it had been cooked in a sandwich press – but still delicious! We are not entirely sure what the Aussie flavour of a pie is supposed to be – I kind of pictured egg and bacon, but there was none of that in sight. Regardless, it was yum.

I resisted my urge to get a pie too, as I had my eye on a piece of quiche in the cabinet.

ImageYum! This was a lovely version of a quiche, full of kale and topped with some tomato and a slice of Notzarella. The pastry was great too, and there was the option of having a gluten free crust if desired too.

Last visit, most dishes were offered with a side salad. This time, they had introduced a salad bar to the cafe, where there were about five or six different salads that you could choose from or mix and match. I’m not sure how I felt about this. I liked having the options of different salads, though I wished you could pick some to come out on your plate with your meal. Instead, you had to purchase a salad container which you could fill up as you pleased. I suppose there needs to be some kind of portion control. It sort of felt like being in the 90’s back at Sizzler or Pizza Hut, and the salad bar was in a strange position over near the window. Anyway…

ImageI can’t remember what each salad was, I got a little of everything. There was a pumpkin quinoa one, a pineapple and tempeh one, one with tofu and eggplant and I think some sort of chickpea kale salad. Anyway, they were all nice, and I have to admit I enjoyed being able to taste so many different salads rather than just a standard side green one.

Now, the moment we had been waiting for. We had spotted the sundaes on the menu on our way in, and there was no way these were going to escape our grasp. We ordered one berry and one cookies and cream one to share.

ImageI think our eyes were a bit bigger than our tummies here, and one would have really been enough. As much as I want to say we liked the berry one better, it was all about the cookies and cream, with the layer of crushed oreos. The berry one was okay, but the berries were all frozen – I think it would have been far nicer with fresh or at least thawed ones.

The softserve was great, the sauces were that cheap sugary style, and I wasn’t a huge fan of the sweet coconut whipped cream on top. It sure satisfied some sweet cravings, but it wasn’t the greatest sundae in the world. To each their own though!

I found it disappointing that they had reduced their already tiny mini-mart to only a few shelf items and a refrigerator/freezer. I had intended to pick up a few things, including some Cheezly, but they were no longer on offer. They have quite a few cold items – their own pies, Tofutti cream cheeses and icecreams, Sweet and Sara marshmallows (which I am still yet to try) and Notzarella, but it’s definitely less than last time. They didn’t disappoint with their range of cakes at the counter though, and while we intended to take some back to Nanna and Grandads for dessert, after our sundaes we couldn’t face another sweet thing.

Loving Hut is definitely worth a visit, the food is nice and the staff are nicer. They have a restaurant nearby in Vic Park which is open for dinners too, though I’ve never been. Will have to add it to the list for next time.

Loving Hut
366 Albany Highway, Victoria Park
Mon-Fri – 11.30am-2.30pm
Sat-Sun – 10am-4.30pm