I went along to Loving Hut in a good mood thanks to $5 wine (Tuesdays 4pm-7pm, Northcote Social Club) and a hungry belly. I wasn’t sure what to expect, I can’t eat too much soy or gluten. The lay out of the restaurant is white, big and spacious with plenty of light and weirdly, a TV showing scenes of the ‘natural world’. We were rather taken with the otters frolicking. There’s no alcohol but I enjoyed a fermented ginger beer with passionfruit ($4.50).
Chris and I arrived early and as we were hungry decided to order an entree. Money bags, deep fried (presumably) filled with mung bean, mushroom and tofu ($7). They were nicely done but we found the filling very bland. They came with sweet chilli sauce which I’m not a fan of. I really should just carry Srircha around with me!
For mains, despite my limitations, we decided to order something a bit different to our usual veggie options at Asian restaurants, ‘Southern Fried Chicken’ and a mixed mushroom stir fry and two bowls of brown rice. We were a bit confused when this above appeared at the same time as a friend’s identical order which contained a pile of the ‘chicken’. And why rice when we’d already ordered two bowls of brown rice which were sitting next to the dish? We queried the waiter and he said we’d been given the lunch version by accident he’d bring some more out. No dramas. They were tasty, chewy goodness with a general sprinkling of salt, five spice and other seasons. The insides had the texture of chicken. Oddly, the extra chicken we were given failed with the spices, and was definitely lacking in the five spice. The sauce you can see didn’t taste like soy mayo so I’m not sure what it was made of. It would have gone nicely with a big green salad, or even potato curry rather than rice.
I enjoyed the stir fry five mushroom dish ($12) , the mushrooms were chewy and tasty without any particular seasoning. it was a really generous serve, we didn’t finish them.
Other folks at the table enjoyed the entree crumbed prawns, bean curd and veg stir fry with crispy noodles and Mongolian ‘beef’ (the latter was a huge sizzling plate of mock meat, definitely best shared amongst friends I think!).
Would I come again? Yes, but more so with a group of people who like to share a bunch of different dishes as a table so I could get more vegetables. Too much mock meat for me alas (of my own choosing) so I’d make different choices next time. Otherwise I’d come at lunch, it’s a nice airy space for a lunch meal with a book.