Loving Hut is a rare breed in that it is part of an international franchise of vegan restaurants boasting over two hundred outlets worldwide. My friend Debbie and I have visited Loving Hut restaurants together in South Korea, Hong Kong and Poland, so it only seemed right that we finally visit one in the UK.
Loving Hut has a few restaurants across London, as well as in Norwich and Brighton. We headed to the one in Archway – located only a minute’s walk from the Archway tube station on the Northern Line. We had called ahead to book, and were glad we had as the place quickly filled up not long after we arrived.
The restaurant is bright and airy (not necessarily obvious with these photos taken on my phone!), with yellow and white decor and immaculately clean. These are definitely some of the distinguishing features that make Loving Hut restaurants instantly recognisable, alongside the veggie “wall of fame” celebrating famous vegans.
As with other Loving Hut’s I’ve visited, the menu largely comprised of various Asian cuisines with a creative use of mock meats. In order to try as many dishes as possible (naturally), my friend and I chose the set menu A: a platter of appetisers to begin followed by two main course dishes, a portion of stir-fried vegetables and chow mein noodles. Set menu B included a course of mock “duck” which, though we would have loved to try, we thought might have been pushing our stomachs to the limit. Loving Huts are all alcohol-free so I accompanied my food with a ginger beer.
Prior to the starter, a serving of “prawn” crackers arrived; a nice touch given that in non-veg Chinese restaurants you’d have to skip them. They were tasty and crisp, but not undesirably fishy. The starter platter arrived next comprising of barbecued veggie “spare ribs”, spring rolls, crispy seaweed, sesame on toast, and samosas, all accompanied by a sweet chilli dip. I couldn’t fault anything but the veggie spare ribs definitely stood out. The “ribs” were a piece of marinated soy meat skewered onto a small piece of wood – the stick itself wasn’t edible but it added an extra dimension to eating the soy meat.
For the main course, we had a couple of options and chose the veggie “lamb” in black bean sauce and Kung Po “chicken” alongside the vegetables and noodles. Now I’m pretty sure we actually ended up with sweet and sour in place of the Kung Po, however, we didn’t really mind. As it tasted so good there seemed little point in sending it back, as much as I was looking forward to the Kung Po. That aside, all of the dishes were full of flavour and cooked to perfection.
Though we were stuffed full, it seemed wrong not to try at least one dessert so we shared a portion of lemon vegan cheesecake. This arrived topped with blackcurrants and raspberry coulis. I’m not completely sure what it was made from but the texture was divine. It definitely ranks as one of the best cheesecakes I’ve ever had. A big claim I know! All in all, the food was flawless and the service was good but unobtrusive.
Have you ever visited a Loving Hut restaurant? Share your experience below!