White Lotus has always been a family-run business so when they had personal family business to attend to, the restaurant closed for several months. But we're very happy to report that they've reopened! They're back serving up Chinese-style mock meats on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. Given their limited hours, I'd highly recommend that you book a table in advance. We saw quite a few people regretfully turned away on the Friday night that we visited.
Though we were visiting primarily for the mock meats, it was a good thing that our wok tossed greens ($15) arrived first. We hungrily lined our stomachs with bok choy before embarking on the richer stuff.
The restaurant's signature vegetarian fish in tamarind sauce ($19) was a must. The 'flesh' was a little mushier and homogeneous that I recalled on past visits but the nori-and-bean-curd skin was delicate and crisp and the tamarind sauce as zesty as ever.
We also tried out one of the specials, sweet and sour spare ribs ($16). I suppose we imagined something like the seitan ribs I made earlier in the year and received a starchy shock on first bite - inside were layers of vegetarian ham, pumpkin and taro! They were tasty and novel once we got going, but pretty stodgy as we neared the end of the plate. Like most things at White Lotus, the ribs are best shared amongst several people.
Although the restaurant was busy, the one waitress on duty provided us with reliable and unwaveringly friendly service. Prices are a little steep but I don't mind paying them in support of a local vegetarian business on the odd night out. And until Peace Harmony or Mei Lin see fit to open a restaurant here, they boast the best vegetarian fish in Melbourne.
You can also read about our previous visits to White Lotus: one, two, three.