The team behind Xi’an Impression have opened an all-vegan Chinese spot on Upper Street.
What makes Tofu Vegan stand out from the local restaurant crowd is that it brings plant-based regional Chinese fare to diners.
Four years in the planning, the team were on the hunt for the right suppliers so they could hit the nail on the head with a vegan menu that keeps traditional dishes as authentic as possible in texture and taste. The suppliers finally came from Taiwan and the Netherlands, and the tofu shines through in the dishes as top quality.
The vast menu boasts a combination of street food from the Sichuan province, Cantonese-style dim sum, cold noodles from North-Eastern Dongbei, and local delicacies from Xi’an. If you’re not a fan of the bean curd, fear not, as there are many other options here.
The wontons in a spicy sauce was a joyous, ‘meaty’ bite with just the right amount of spice. Then came the chef’s special – sizzling deep-fried tofu in a ‘fish-fragrant’ sauce. There’s no strong seaweed flavour here as per many vegan fish dishes, instead, there were slight bursts of chilli, garlic and a hint of ginger. Paired with steamed rice (a small portion), the combination was a marriage made in heaven. We couldn’t get enough of it.
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On a warm day, we initially opted for the cold Sichuan noodles, but the staff encouraged us to try something from the Dongbei region instead. Sweet potato noodle sheets with slivered vegetables in a spicy sauce, also served cold, was a refreshing star dish, thanks to the nutty, umami-rich sesame sauce. Finally, we had enough room for some delicious Cantonese style assorted dim sum, accompanied by soy sauce and rice vinegar. These light steamed tofu and mushroom dumplings ticked all the boxes.
For a cuisine that can be carnivore-heavy, Tofu Vegan, offers Chinese classics that are both meat and sometimes gluten free. The décor is bright, airy with plant and picture-book illustrations on the walls, and there’s an option for outdoor seating for around 10-12 people.
Tofu Vegan, 105-106 Upper St, London N1. Call to book a table on 020 7916 3304. Open Monday to Saturday 12 to 10:30pm and Sundays from 12 to 9.30pm. Food, drinks and service around £25 a head. Further details via Instagram: @tofuveganlondon