All About Women drew us to Sydney for a weekend. We made time to hang out with ex-Melbourne food blogger Another Outspoken Female and her Significant Eater, and share some inner west meals. After scoping the queue at Gigi, we fell back on @jesshodder's recommendation of Golden Lotus. This vegan Vietnamese restaurant opened less than a year ago, serving myriad mock-meat and mock-free dishes that will suit the solo diner and banquetting table alike. In fact, we briefly debated ordering one of the two available set meals ($26 or $28pp) before agreeing to patch together our own.
We made the most of their non-alcoholic drinks list with young coconut juices ($4.80 ea) and lemon ice teas ($4.80 ea). It just wasn't the right time of day for a Saigon ice coffee ($4.80 ea), unfortunately.
To start, we shared satay skewers (2 for $6.80) and the intriguing crispy vegetable buns (4 for ~$10). The dipping sauces stood out for their complex flavours and the buns were almost like doughnuts in their sweetness, though they were stuffed with minced mushroom and onion.
The "chef favourite" dishes were indeed highlights, a stir-fry of vegan duck with chilli basil leaves and assorted vegetables ($15.80, top left) and a spicy beef rendang ($15.80, bottom left). My lemongrass fish ($15.80, top right) came with another punchy little sauce, and far too much onion for my taste. AOF's vermicelli noodles salad with tofu and spring rolls ($12.80, bottom right) lacked the crunch she was after.
Golden Lotus was busy and buzzing on a Friday night, though we didn't feel unfairly rushed by the staff. We enjoyed their mock meat share plates, and their multi-dimensional spicy sauces set them apart from many other restaurants. They're a nice counterpoint to their quieter neighbour Vina.
Golden Lotus has had positive coverage on Eats No Meats and Samantha Lin/the perks of being a food blogger, and a mixed review on Fungry.
Golden Lotus Restaurant
343 King St, Newtown NSW
(02) 8937 2838
menu 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
Accessibility: There's a small lip on the door and densely packed tables inside, with a clear corridor through the middle. We ordered at the table and paid at a high counter. We didn't visit the toilets.