I have been meaning to check out Lotus Tea House forever. About a year ago, a non-vegetarian patient of the clinic where I work excitedly gave me a play-by-play re-enaction of her experience there the previous weekend, complete with glowing review. Since then I keep meaning to go and never getting around to it, which is kind of ridiculous because I am not a very popular person and I lead a fairly uneventful life. It shouldn't take a person like me a year to visit one of the few vegetarian restaurants in her small Ontarian city.
However, this weekend the local Kitchener-Waterloo corner of the Twitterverse became abuzz with news that Lotus would be donating 100% of their proceeds for the week of March 25 to March 31 to relief efforts in Japan. Visiting Lotus suddenly became an immediate necessity.
Paul and I went for lunch today, and before I tell you about our visit (just as excitedly as that non-vegetarian patient of our clinic) can I just take a minute and reflect on how positively wonderful mid-week lunch dates are? We normally save our dining out for weekends and special occassions, but there is something to be said for taking some time on a particularly long workday and treat yourself to some good company and deliciousness. It's all about the little things in life, my friends.
Lotus Tea House is a quaint and cozy little house-turned-restaurant on Regina Street in Waterloo. The place was packed. We had to wait a couple minutes for a table...on a Tuesday...at LUNCH! This is so exciting because it means that they are raising tons of money for the Japan relief effort. I've never been so happy to wait for a table!
We started with a pot of Fruit Tea. I was hesitant because other than hot chocolate, I don't like warm drinks (I survived both undergraduate and graduate studies at the University of Waterloo without drinking a single coffee). I figured I would try it, and upon confirming my disdain for hot drinks, I would make Paul drink the rest. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that my dislike for hot drinks stems more from my occassional stubbornness regarding trying new things than it does an actual god-given aversion. This tea was awesome!
Each entree comes with Soup of the Day, which was a simple vegetable broth with potatoes, carrots and cabbage. I have a documented fear of all things cabbage-ish but I had no problem with this one.
Each entree also comes with a spicy bean sprout salad - yum!
We shared an order of the Himalaya Triangles with Curry Sauce, which are kind of samosa-esque but are quite thinner and more crispy than the samosas that are typically sold at Indian restaurants around town. Delicious delicious delicious.
For my main, I chose the Cranberries, Cashew Nuts, Vegetables & Firm Tofu Stir Fry. Very light and flavourful - I love how the vegetables take up 3/4 of the plate!
Paul got the best choice of the day, I think - Golden Soy Nuggets with Stir Fried Green Beans in a Szechuen Spicy & Sweet Sauce.
I love this place! I'm honestly kind of irritated with myself for not trying it sooner. Aside from great food and friendly staff, the quaint and cozy house atmosphere had me dreaming of rainy Saturday afternoons with my favourite book and a pot of that fruit tea.
Now, I will mention that their mock meats are listed as "may contain" for things like eggs, dairy, etc., most likely relating to their manufacturing processes. If you avoid products of the "may contain" nature, proceed with caution (and try the meal that I ordered instead!).
The fundraiser for Japan is going on until this Friday (March 31) so you still have plenty of time to stop in and do your part while dining on some of Kitchener-Waterloo's tastiest vegetarian treats. Even if you can't make it in this week, keep Lotus Tea House in mind for the next time you are looking for a light meal or a relaxing, pinky-in-the-air afternoon tea party. We will be going back - often!
Lotus Tea House
79 Regina Street North