Weston has a new restaurant, and it’s an odd one: vegetarian Vietnamese. Buddha Chay (‘Buddha Vegetarian’) has been in business for about a month, taking over the Partner’s Chicken restaurant at 1784 Jane.
The menu is tilted toward mock meat, and there’s no getting around it: that’s a bit forward thinking for this sleepy town.
We ordered a Nam Vang style noodle soup: it’s apparently not pho, but I couldn’t tell the difference, apart from the missing basil. The broth was delicious: it had a nice, nutty, slightly mushroomy umami flavour. How they did it without MSG or a pork bone is a mystery.
The mock meat divided us. I loved it. My favourite was what I took to be ‘turkey’ loaf. Great stuff. I liked the ‘fish’, too; I confess the ‘sausage’ appeared a bit too much like rabbit food to get my heart racing—but it’s never good to think how sausage, or ‘sausage’, gets made. The tofu was tofu.
But while I embrace food science, my wife is less enthusiastic. She generally shies away from both processed food and especially processed meat, and nothing about mock meat changed her mind.
We also ordered “Vegetarian stir fry noodles with assorted mock meat”; it resembled chow mein, and had bok choi, peppers, sliced carrots, and assorted other vegetables. I liked the ‘meat’ and veg, but the noodles were a touch too oily for my tastes. The boss concurred.
The restaurant is lovely; there is a small shrine and some quite lovely art on the walls. The staff were very welcoming and extremely fast. It’s not fine dining; it’s unlicensed and you could quite happily take your family. They only accept cash.
More spring rolls than I could eat, soup and stir fry came to a very reasonable $20.