For the final instalment of my Canberra Eating series I thought I would share the very last place we ate at – Au Lac Royal Vegetarian in Dickson. Au Lac does vegetarian versions of all your Vietnamese favourites, with everything from stir fries to curries, dumplings, soups and more.
Not only is the menu almost entirely vegan (and they intend on making it all vegan very soon) but it is also gluten free. They also specify which dishes can be done without onion and garlic, making it an excellent option when dining with a range of dietary requirements. It’s also heavy on the faux-meat front, with versions of chicken, beef, lamb, fish, duck – you name it! I’m not usually big on faux meats, but was more than willing to give at least a few of them a go (mixed in with some more traditional vegetarian options of course!).
We started with a serve of the San Choi Bao (~$8) which was on their specials board and was made with ‘duck’. The filling was full of flavour and I actually quite liked the texture of the ‘duck’, which worked really well with the crispy lettuce leaves. I don’t get to eat san choi bao very often so it was definitely an excellent place to start!
We also got a serve of the Pocket Money Bags ($6.90) to get us started, which were crispy, crunchy and delicious. I’m not quite sure what the super bright coloured sauce was, but it was sticky and tasty so I just went with it!
The first of our mains was the Rice Vermicelli Spring Rolls & Tofu ($12.50) which was a hit with all of us. There was plenty of all the veggies, tofu and spring rolls which meant we weren’t left with lots of excess vermicelli at the end (which so often happens!) and the spring rolls were crunchy and full of vegetables. The sauce (not in the picture) was sweet and sour and provided an excellent burst of flavour, making this dish full of both taste and texture. Yum!
Next up was the Braised Tofu And Vegetable With Cashew Nut ($15.90) which may well have been the winning dish of the evening. There was an excellent mix of vegetables, including asian greens, snow peas, carrots, broccoli and celery and lots of both the cashews and tofu. The sauce was slightly sticky and was absolutely delicious, so much so we were scraping it off the (empty) plate to ensure we got every last drop! Definitely a dish I would order again!
The next dish was the most faux-meaty of our meal – the Sizzling Mongolian Soy Lamb ($15.90). We were a bit confused when this arrived as we had been expecting it to be on a sizzling platter, and whilst the plate was hot it definitely wasn’t sizzling! The lamb was an interesting texture, a little on the chewy side which took a little getting used to, but the sauce it came with was really tasty and worked really well with the lamb. Whilst it might not have been my favourite dish it was still really tasty and there wasn’t much left at the end of the night!
Our last dish was the Eggplant In Claypot Sensation ($15.90) which was a delicious combination of eggplant, mushrooms and onions. The eggplant was really well cooked, the flesh was nice and soft with still a little bite to the skin and all the different mushroom varieties were definitely a nice change. This dish was full of flavour and a little spice from the peppercorns and was well received by all of us. Definitely one I’d order again!
Overall we were very happy with our meal, and definitely very full! The staff were friendly and the place was absolutely packed. We saw lots of people getting leftovers boxed up to take home, which would be an excellent way to get to try more of the menu! The soups looked particularly delicious, but a little trickier to share!
I’d definitely give Au Lac another visit next time I’m in Canberra!
Are you a fan of faux-meat? Maybe give Au Lac Royal Vegetarian a visit if you’re in Canberra!