Loving Hut in Northcote is has recently reopened for lunch again: HURRAH! Great news for my family, seeing as we go there enough for dinner but we much prefer lunch hours.
I’ve taken my sister to Loving Hut before and so she and I decided to take mum. The plan was to order the southern fried chicken– that is ALWAYS the plan, so you can imagine my face when I was told they didn’t have any on the day (Sunday).
The other plan was to try something different. I always get the homemade curry with white rice because I like it so much. Then I’m all okay I’ll get something different next time, but the next time always involves getting the homemade curry “one last time”.
My something-different entree were the steamed rice rolls with mushroom mince ($7). Oh my, these were delicious. Not stingy on the filling at all. Mum, my sister and I really enjoyed them:
My sister went for the crispy wontons ($8). To me, wontons are pretty much okay, not resulting in those oh-man-these-are-great feelings like I had with the rice rolls:
For her main, my mum ordered the curry laksa ($12). Mum really liked this and my sister and I tried a bit and agreed it was good. Mum would have liked more heat in hers but for me it was just right:
My sister ordered the homemade curry ($13. Ha, I still got some after all!). It tasted the same as the one I had on Thursday night but my sister’s had more veggies in it. This was good because as much as I like it, sometimes the amount of veggies are hit and miss:
Our server recommended I try the Broken Rice ($13). Wow, what a great recommendation. I loved this plate of (vegan!) egg, sliced ham, chicken, potato, carrot and of course the broken rice, along with nuoc mam dipping sauce. I’d order this again and I was glad I went for the something-different to my usual:
Here’s the southern fried chicken I had last week. Boy did I love the leftovers the next day:
These are the tofu bites, soft tofu sprinkled with rosemary salt. I liked these but they weren’t a hit with the family and I wouldn’t order them just for myself again:
The sweets display has treats like walnut slice, custard tarts, apple turnover pies and jam tarts. These look identical to those made by La Panella Bakery in Preston. I asked if the sweets were from La Panella and was told that the same people own La Panella and Loving Hut Northcote and that they make those sweets there at Loving Hut but the recipes are the same used at La Panella. My sister and I got a custard tart each to take home. I didn’t take a photo because they got a little squished but these were good, not that sickly sweet kind of non-vegan custard tarts you find in bakeries everywhere.
Although I was assured the Loving Hut custard tarts are vegan and that they use the La Panella recipe, some Melbourne vegans have reported that La Panella do not label their custard tarts as vegan (La Panella sell vegetarian and vegan goods). So make sure you ask about the custard tarts there at La Panella.
Here’s a piece of hazelnut peanut cake I bought last week from Loving Hut. I don’t remember how much it cost but wow it was one nice cake. I don’t know if they make it on the premises or if they buy it off someone else, but it was the first and only time I’ve seen a non-La Panella style sweet there:
Loving Hut Northcote has a bit of an odd setup, which doesn’t appeal to all. The freezer section and shelves, selling vegan products, are at the front of the restaurant when you walk in so when you’re walking by outside, you don’t see tables and chairs right there. I’m sure Loving Hut have their reasons for this (too bright/hot in summer perhaps) but I can’t help wonder if they’d attract more passers by if they moved the dining area right by the window. Some people aren’t fans of the big sliding door either, especially if your hands are full.
I was discussing this with mum and my sister and mum commented on how clean and open the place is and she much prefers that than a smaller cramped space. I also really like the open space. If you’re there as part of a large group and many of you have prams, I’m sure there’d be enough room. It’s a great size for holding a function and I think families would like it too, because if your children want to get up and walk around the table (hello DeeW) there’s enough space so that they’re not bumping in to chairs and ticking people off.
When we’ve gone there as a family for dinner, we usually go around 5:30 as that’s the time we’re driving through Northcote. We’re usually one of about three or four tables. Today during lunch we and another table of two were the only people in the restaurant, though a few people came in for takeaway.
The toilets are to the rear of the restaurant. There is a single men and women toilet each, plus a disabled/family toilet with a lot of space. The hand basins are in an open area for everyone. The toilets and basin areas have always been clean when I’ve used them.
There’s a big tv screen which sometimes plays nature style videos or is switched off. I have not seen any Supreme Master videos playing, like you see at Loving Hut in Richmond. Music is kept to a low volume.
Service has always been friendly, though we have had a couple of orders misinterpreted or missed. No biggie, everything was fixed right away.
Loving Hut Northcote
377 High Street, Northcote