Upstairs in James Street we found an unexpected panoply of vegetarian delights at Utopia – I had long thought this was a bubble tea place and had never wandered up the stairs to check it out – a mistake. Certainly, it is a bubble tea joint with an array of flavours but as well it has a couple of dining areas attached that offer a bountiful selection of Asian vegetarian dishes – as well as a karaoke section if that floats your boat.
The extensive menu offers diners every type of faux meat imaginable – beef, lamb, pork, chicken, fish, even goose! As well as tofu, bean curd, vegetables…you name it, it probably gets a gig here.
They are unlicensed but you can BYO and they had wine glasses to hand in a flash.
To the food – it was pretty overwhelming in the number of dishes listed – and in many cases pictured – but we settled on ‘goose’ rolls to start us off, and then a couple of the mains – Szechuan ‘chicken’ and Sambal ‘fish’ – a bowl or two of rice and some excellent chilli sauce from the help yourself bar and we were set.
The rolls were definitely a hit with us – seasoned bean curd inside a fried, flaky pancake roll – it was very good, and a splash of the chilli sauce added piquancy and heat.
The ‘chicken’ had a pleasant texture and came in a mildly spicy, although with no sign of the tongue numbing Szechuan pepper, sauce, along with vegetables mixed through – another satisfying dish and the chilli sauce once again added its zestiness.
And then the ‘fish’ – again good texture and this time in a slightly spicier sambal style sauce, greens, cauliflower, baby corn all in the mix.
The dishes are a good size, very good value for money, and all in all Utopia proved a veritable treasure trove of vegetarian and vegan offerings. Well worth a visit and as the crowd showed, pretty popular too with the lunch crowd.