Food and Drink
Posted by Trish Gallagher
31. Jan, 2013
I am in no position to judge a restaurant’s pricing structure – especially when it comes to sea cucumber and abalone hot pot. I mean, these particular creatures are hard to come by so $28’s quite a bargain right?
So what if you were eating the same dish but it wasn’t actually sea cucumber and abalone but a ‘mock’ up of those very beasts so as to render them completely vegetarian? I suspect the process of getting them to taste the same is quite a feat, so therefore worth every single penny.
Gong De Lin has just opened above Noodle Kingdom on Swanston Street and is “100% vegetarian and MSG free”. It’s a little different to other vegetarian establishments in so that they are serving up a myriad of ‘mock’ dishes – scallops, crab, prawns, beef, pork and ‘silverfish’ amongst other things yet there is no scale, feather or fur in sight.
The menu is diverse and extensive but I played safe and I opted for the hot and spicy mountain mushrooms ($16.80) with a pancake ($5.00). It was like the biggest and best potato cake I have ever had – I may return just for these alone, however I’m pretty sure they went easy on me with the hot and spicy mushrooms. Szechuan it ain’t. For those who aren’t adventurous and into boiled lily bulb and bamboo pith soup ($19.80) there are retro classics too – sweet and sour ‘pork’ and deep fried ice cream to name a few.
The décor is crispy clean and bright and there is a sectioned off balcony area if you require something a little more intimate. This would be the ideal place for veggies when they have to select a place to fulfil their carnivorous mates needs without any fuss. And don’t panic if you see hedgehog on the menu – they’re just mushrooms.
Gong De Lin Vegetarian Cuisine
Level 3, 264 Swanston Street Melbourne
03 9663 7878
Open daily 10.00am – 10.00pm
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