The Land of the Vegan Meats: Loving Hut (Archway)

“Is there meat in this?”

Of course there isn’t, I don’t eat meat. I finally made it to Loving Hut tonight though; this place has been on my wish list of vegan restaurants to visit for almost as long as I’ve been vegan, and every time I’ve been in London circumstances have conspired against me getting here. This afternoon I was so hungry I could have cried, and I got here just to find they don’t open for lunch on Sundays! Heart. Broken. 

Tonight was my last night in London and as I’m staying in Camden rather than Soho for a change, it was too close not to visit. Ten minutes on the tube baby!

What this place is known for is their incredible vegan “meats”, using Buddhist traditions of recreating animal proteins from vegetable and wheat sources. I had the vegan spare ribs, the vegan lemon chicken, and the vegan “egg” fried rice. I honestly struggled to choose between the un-chicken and the mock duck, but as lemon chicken was my absolute favourite as a child I had to try it. There’s time for duck when I come back in a few weeks.

The “ribs” were more like slices of roast pork than actual ribs, though they were served with wooden skewers to replicate the feel. I was genuinely a little alarmed at how perfectly they’d replicated the taste and texture of actual pork. Now I’ve never really eaten pork, because I always thought it had a bit of a perfumey taste that I really didn’t like. You could smoke it or grill it, but that pesky taste of musk really didn’t go away. WELL, this basically tasted like pork without that weird feeling your food had been doused with eau de toilette.

I love coconut water, especially the kind that has diced coconut flesh suspended in it. The one on the left is toasted coconut, and much sweeter than the young coconut water.

Egg fried rice is something I’ve really missed since going vegan, and this was a near perfect replica. I’d say the tofu “egg” was probably more of a shredded Chinese omelette but it was damned tasty!
I’m so picky when it comes to lemon chicken; it was basically the yardstick by which I judged every Chinese restaurant and takeaway I’d ever been to, back when I still ate meat. And I am such a judgemental little shit when it comes to Chinese food. My mum’s lemon chicken is perfect, and this was a pretty good contender. Not too much batter, the sauce a perfect balance of tangy lemon and sweet.

I was pretty stuffed at this point but I absolutely couldn’t resist trying some toffee banana with vegan ice cream. Probably the lightest, most crispy, perfect fritters I’ve ever eaten. This is serious dessert game. Unbelievable.

Great Chinese restaurants aren’t exactly known for their impeccable service or their decor, you can tell by how many actual Chinese people are eating there.

This place? Full of Asian folk.


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