Leigh Drew has been in Melbourne recently promoting her new cookbook Greenilicious. She found time between celebrity appearances and repeat visits to Yong Green Food to share a meal with some veg bloggers including Veganopoulous, Green Gourmet Giraffe, The Good Hearted, Veganise This! and Kittens Gone Lentil.
Veganopoulous kindly reserved us a table at Loving Hut Northcote, which we've been long overdue to revisit. The menu has expanded to almost fifty savoury dishes with a variety of mock meat and non-mock dishes, stir-fried, deep-fried and completely un-fried foods. Everything is vegan, and the menu is coded for gluten-free, raw, chilli-heavy and onion/garlic foods.
I've had an eye on other bloggers' meals at Loving Hut throughout the year, and it was darn difficult to settle on just one for dinner. Ultimately I went for the sizzling katsu duck ($14) doused in a sweet and sour plum sauce, topped with a few steamed vegetables. The mock meat was excellent with a tender, slightly fatty texture and crisp crumbing.
The fried chicken that so impressed me on our first visit now has a spicier sibling called the volcano ($17). It's an even heftier serve of mock meat doused in a three chilli-rated sauce that marks it as Michael's meal - I don't have the heat-tolerance to steal more than a bite!
The dessert cabinet's expanded with the menu, and we couldn't help but test it out too. Lower shelves hold homely goods like brownies and jam tarts, and the top shelf is reserved for some of the fancier cakes. (After we picked a couple of these, our waiter proudly mentioned that they're made by his partner.) This chocolate and hazelnut slice (~$6.50) was silky smooth and topped with a toffeed pecan and sherbetty powdered raspberry.
The Loving Hut staff were efficient and personable, even stopping by to check that our meals were OK - unheard of at a Supreme Master venue. On our chattering, seat-swapping table of eight I was oblivious to the half-empty food court atmosphere I've previously reported. The only shortcoming was ours and not the restaurant's: we were too enthusiastic about the deep-fried dishes and should have made more space for their fresher, vegetable-focused foods. Perhaps we can make amends next time.
You can read about our first visit to Loving Hut Northcote here.
Since then its received positive posts on vegawesome!, Veganopoulous (more than once), quinces and kale, Vegan Guide to Melbourne and Little Vegan Bear.
377-379 High St, Northcote
menu: one, two
Accessibility: Lookin' good! A very wide automatic door, flat floors and moderately spaced tables. We ordered at our table and paid at a low-ish counter. We didn't visit the toilets, but I spotted a disability-labelled unisex toilet down a wide corridor at the back of the building.