Type of Institution: Vegetarian
Address: 2nd floor of Quality Hotel, along Balestier Road
Tel: +65 63254 0090
(This review was updated again on 16 February 2012. The original review was written on 30 October 2011. Apologies for the missing prices for certain items, this will be rectified on my next visit.)
My parents and I are fond of going to Lotus Vegetarian Restaurant for dinner as it is very close to my place. The extensive menu built around traditional Chinese favourites and a lot of mock meat means you can easily make regular visits without having to repeat the same dishes. I am not a fan of the antiquated furnishings, but judging by the fact that there’s always a healthy crowd in the restaurant, no one else really cares either. The staff is also efficient.
Lotus has an ala carte menu as well as buffet options during the week. I am not a fan of buffets – never had a good one barring perhaps Sunday brunch at the Beaufort. And I’m not sure what all the fuss is about for The Line @ the Shangri-La either… But I’ve sidetracked. Quality > quantity for me, always. Lotus is no exception – I find the quality of its ala carte items far exceed that of its buffet, though I must say the buffet boasted quite a huge variety of food, and my parents enjoyed it.
I’ll be doing a review of the ala carte items I’ve sampled. And thanks to Justin from Lotus, my parents and I also got to try two complimentary items from the buffet 🙂
The curry mutton was probably one of the best dishes I’ve had here and certainly my parents’ regular favourite. As non-vegetarians, my parents were very impressed by the rich taste of the curry that recalled the meaty flavour of mutton. The curry sauce was the right level of spiciness as well, especially since I can’t take extremely spicy food. The “mutton” was very tender and reminded me of the texture of mutton that has been cooked over a long period of time. Definitely recommended.
Vegetable in Special Soup with Mock Ham slices
This was one of the highlights of my visits. The broth tasted light, flavourful and healthy. The health benefits and the sweetness of the dish were enhanced by the addition of wolfberries. The stronger flavour of the slightly salty and soft mock ham slices rounded up the dish nicely.
Vegetarian Fish with Bean Crumbs
A must-try! Thin slices of mock vegetarian fish with a realistic texture in a delicious special sauce. The slightly spicy bean crumbs were a great addition. ($10)
Veg Snow Fish in Soya Sauce
I enjoyed the veg snow fish in soya sauce. The texture reminded me of very soft fish that was pan-fried, with a light soya sauce that was not too salty. The thin, wilted strips of ginger on top of the fish did not add much flavour though. I would suggest you order the Vegetarian Fish with Bean Crumbs instead. ($8)
Braised Tofu Served in Hot Plate
I wouldn’t recommend this dish. Nothing really stood out except that the taste of the mushrooms was brought out very well. The sauce was simple and rather boring. But I suppose it’s satisfactory if you’re in the mood for tofu.
Fried Tofu with Seaweed
I enjoyed the fried tofu, which was beautifully silky with a thin crispy outer layer. However, the seaweed was not very tasty and the sauce was nice but rather plain. ($8)
Chicken in Black Pepper on Hot Plate
If you are craving a meat substitute, this will be very dissatisfactory because the “chicken” was way too soft. But more importantly, the sauce was not flavourful and definitely needed more generous doses of fresh black pepper. My parents had given me free rein to order the dishes and they were actually surprised to find out the dish was supposed to contain black pepper.
Sweet and Sour Soya Meat
Although this dish was made with soy meat, it was not what I was expecting because the soy meat looked and felt like it was made from flour. The sauce, which was made with fresh tomato and sweet pineapple slices, was quite pleasant though. ($8)
Herbal Chicken in Claypot
This dish consisted of chicken soya meat with beancurd skin, slices of carrot (overcooked) and baby corn (perfectly cooked), black fungus mushrooms (which I love) and wolfberries in a herbal soup, served in a sizzling hot claypot. Definitely a healthy concoction. The broth was very flavourful and did not have a strong herbal taste, in case that’s a turn-off for you. The texture of the chicken soya meat was ordinary; it was quite soft and not very meaty. ($12)
I was happy to find out that Lotus serves brown rice, which was perfectly cooked on my visit. Brown rice > white rice forever! ($1)
Laksa and Chicken rice
As mentioned, Justin from the restaurant gave me two complimentary dishes – The laksa was spicy and flavourful. But the chicken rice left much to be desired – I didn’t like the slightly sweet beancurd skin that constituted the “chicken meat”.
Conclusion: Would certainly make repeat visits to Lotus whenever I get a craving for traditional Chinese food.