Monday, 5 December 2011

Restaurant Review; veg food in the mall

Just as hypermarkets and shopping malls are poor places to buy vegetables and non-processed foods, so too their dining areas have few vegetarian options.
To its credit, the menu at the Skylark (加洲風洋食) chain, mostly centered around steak, hamburgers and seafood platters (accompanied by bacon-topped salads and meat-stock-based soups) does have four vegetarian main courses, with a salad (two dressings) and soup choice to accompany it.
As a rare exception, therefore, NOMM this Monday reviews a non-vegetarian restaurant.

The 4 mains include 2 rice and 2 noodles:
a) Italian Porcini Doria,
b) Vegetable Pilaff - Oyster Sauce Flavour,
c) Spaghetti with Vegetable Asian Flavour,
d) Spaghetti with Italian Porcini
The soup is Vegetarian Mushroom Broth and the salad has either yoghurt or curry olive dressing.
NOMM chose the doria (baked rice) dish, but no, we couldn’t switch for the vegetable soup on the regular menu, it wasn’t vegetarian, nor for the vegetables instead of salad, even without the bacon bits (suggesting, perhaps, the veg are fried in lard).
The doria was adequate but dominated by a thick layer of cheese (so definitely not vegan), and the soup was rather tasteless and oily. The absence of fake meat, was a pleasant surprise, however.
All meals come with two bits of bread and a drink; NOMM had hot cocoa, which perfectly hit the spot on this wet wintry day. It was like a drink and dessert combined.

Vegetarian mains cost around NT$180, a combination meal around NT$300 (significantly cheaper than most of the meat meals, which is often a bone of contention). Optional desserts are NT$50 extra, beers NT100 and wine NT$360 a half bottle.

Skylark gets extra marks for
i)                    listing the calories of each item in its menu,
ii)                   the size and crispness of the salad portion (single price: NT$50),
iii)                  the spacious layout of the restaurant: being closer to one’s dining partner than a neihbouring stranger greatly improves one’s experience.
iv)                 once infamous for bringing each course before diners had finished the previous one, Skylark seems to have listened to complaints. It was actually difficult to get staff to bring all NOMM’s dishes at once in order to take a photograph.
v)                  although we sat, chatted, wrote and read for 2 hours at a peak time (Saturday ) while customers queued outside, we were never given any pressure to eat up and get going.

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