Monday, November 9, 2009

Veggie delights at Padmanadi

I went for dinner tonight at a local vegetarian institution. The delightful folks at Padmanadi have just celebrated their 7th anniversary. The helium balloons and birthday streamers were still adorning the restaurant when we got there tonight, two days later. Its bright yellow sign was shining bright on a fairly empty Chinatown street at 6:30 on a Sunday. We walked into a packed restaurant, but within minutes a booth was cleared up and reset for the four of us.
We sat down and were quickly brought a pot of chamomile tea.
Our server, who just happens to work with me at the Hotel Mac, is not usually waiting on customers, but was cheery and informative as we made our way through the peculiar menu. As it turns out, she is married to the chef and was just helping out on the floor of the restaurant to give some of the staff the night off. She suggested the Wanton soup as a starter. She informed us that she and her sister in law hand make the Wantons every couple of days, lovingly folding up hundreds of little vegetable dumplings, which are a popular dish here.
We also chose an assorted fake-meat platter - which was maybe a little sketchier than we had bargained for. The salty chicken and the chicken nuggets were alright, but the duck and fried ham were too weird to be believed.
One of my dining companions is a vegetarian and has eaten here many times before.
She was expecially helpful in recommending her favourite dish - Curried chicken with potatoes. This one looked and tasted the most like real chicken. It was quite a decent substitute for a real meat curry. I wonder if I would have known the difference if I had been served that instead of its meat version.
In addition to chicken curry, which came in a bright yellow, yummy spicy coconut sauce with large pieces of red chillies, we also had the Veggie Stir Fried Mutton with Ginger, which looked and tasted remarkably like ginger beef, served with sliced bell peppers. This leads me to confirm, as I have suspected for some time, that there is not actually any beef in ginger beef. But I digress...
The last dish we ordered was my suggestion. Bakmi Goreng, which is like a shanghai noodle stir fried with vegetables, mushrooms, carrots, and bean sprouts, was my favourite dish of the night. Everything was still delicious, and cheap and healthy, and rounded off nicely with a big serving of coconut rice for the table.
The whole meal came out to about $15 per person, give or take a bit more for tip. Lovely, warm atmosphere, fast, fresh service. Very clean. It is no wonder that Padmanadi is so successful. Their popularity becomes clear after just meal there. You'll be wanting to go back again and again too.

1 comment:

  1. i think you should stop your ginger beef line of questioning right where you are...

    - L.