This is our second "documented" visit to Green Gourmet made in an effort to convert my sister, a dyed in the wool carnivore into something close to a vegetarian, if only for a few hours. But they are dinner hours so these are crucial. Surprisingly she actually suggests it, I think she is almost daring the tofu and gluten to be tasty.
Its quiet as we're early on a Saturday night, frightfully early really as the staff are eating their dinners. But with my parents there is no such thing as eating too early. My dad eats his lunch at 11am and his dinner at 5pm. So for him we're right on time and what on earth are you rolling your eyes for?
We choose a range of dishes, some that we've tried before and some that sound intriguing such as the " Golden slices in plum sauce Tofu pillow stuffed with taro mash deep fried served with pinenuts, bamboo and plum sauce $15.80" and we leave room for dessert, the Crispy lotus seed crepe with ice cream and the vegan deep fried ice cream, too alluring to pass up this time.
Our entrees arrive first, they're familiar and well loved sights with the eggplant parcel 3 pcs $4.20 and chicken drumsticks 3 pcs $4.20. The eggplant parcels are crisply fresh and hot on the outside and soft and oozing but stil with a texture as only eggplant can have. We've ordered two serves for the five of us and each serve is 3 pcs and its a lucky person (me!) that gets the extra remaining parcel of soft gooeyness.
The chicken drumsticks impress Blythe with their innovation with their leg bones made up of halved paddle pop sticks. Whilst its a different texture to chicken as gluten tends to be more layered it still hits the spot. We're onto a good thing here Blythe knows.
Our mains arrive and the Braised fresh river noodle flat rice noodle with soy meat shredded snow pea, carrot and cabbage $12.80. Its just like an omnivore's version, tasty and full of mock meat by the way of gluten. Interestingly they don't use onion or garlic here yet the taste doesn't appear to suffer greatly at all.
The dish I've been looking forward to, as a mad duck lover is the Peking not duck $11.10 5 pieces (usually 4 pieces, we asked for an extra) resembling the Flying Nun's habit. Whilst its probably impossible to get the "skin" as glossy and lacquered as a real duck, the result is still very good. Its flavoured with the exact same spices and comes wrapped in the same type of pancake with sauce and veges although admittedly I ate it so greedily I can't be sure that its cucumber and shallot and a quick glance of the picture shows that it might be radish.
Crispy not chicken with Shangtung sauce $15.80 Crispy fried wheat protein pickled vegetables, pickles, chili, coriander, vinegar and peanuts
We're on a roll now, the next dish is probably my favourite main here, the Crispy not chicken with Shangtung sauce: Crispy fried wheat protein pickled vegetables, pickles, chili, coriander, vinegar and peanuts $15.80. Now if this is strange so be it, but I hate Shantung chicken, its too vinegary and too much for me but I have to say that I love Green Gourmet's version of it. Its sweeter and the "chicken" is crispy fried and lacks the pungent vinegar of real Shantung Chicken.
The fried rice $8 is good, but I am not sure how to elaborate on fried rice except to say that it was pretty tasty and like the "real" stuff
Golden slices in plum sauce Tofu pillow stuffed with taro mash deep fried served with pinenuts, bamboo and plum sauce $15.80
We're thoroughly enjoying our dishes and out comes a new one for us, the Golden slices in plum sauce: Tofu pillow stuffed with taro mash deep fried served with pinenuts, bamboo and plum sauce $15.80. Its delectably good, the sweet plum sauce verging on a little too much but never getting to sweet and tangy. The crispy fried tofu is soft inside and juicy with sauce and the table is divided on which is the favourite, this dish or the Crispy not chicken with Shangtung sauce.
Thankfully, for once, we've left room for dessert. Our first choice of black sticky rice and coconut in pandan leaf $5.50 comes out. Its a touch dry and the shredded coconut on top only emphasises it and the rice is a little hard.
Our next choice, Blythe's favourite is the vegan deep fried ice cream $5.50. Blythe is firmly against veganism (probably feeling pity at missing out more than anything) so her choice is perplexing. The icy soy ice cream though is good, very similar to "regular" ice cream and by now we are stretching to full and this huge globe of golden fried cake encased ice cream almost has us beat. Almost...
As the last dessert arrives, my choice is the Crispy lotus seed crepe with ginger lotus ice cream $5.50. This is very much like the fried red bean pancake from Shanghai Night but filled with lotus. The ginger ice cream is gorgeous albeit a bit more icey than creamy, completely gingery with real ginger, not the powdered old shelf bound ground ginger that barely has a scent. This is for ginger lovers most definitely. The fried crepe goes wonderfully with it and eating the ice cream with the aforementioned abandoned black sticky rice gives it much needed moisture.
Blythe is impressed. I think she will rethink her stance on vegetarianism. Well she's finished rethinking now but it lasted for a whole 2 hours.
Green Gourmet Vegetarian Vegan restaurant
538 Pacific Hwy, St Leonards
T: 9439 6533
F: 9439 5993
Lunch: Tues-Sat 11.30-2.30pm
Dinner: Tues-Sun 5.30-9.30pm
Friday and Saturday open until 10.30pm
Closed MondaysAlso Green Gourmet in Newtown
115-117 King St, Newtown
T/F: 9519 5330They also run Vegans Choice Grocery
113 King St, Newtown
T: 9519 7646