Au Lac

This is one of those places that serves what I call ‘psycho-chicken’ (quest que cest fa fa fa fa fa fa fa fa fa far – better sung to the tune of that Talking Heads song Psycho Killer – although I am not sure that it this stuff actually is far better)! Psycho-chicken, also known as soy meat, is not really my thing, but Martin talked me into going here under the guise of supporting the vegetarian restaurants in Canberra. Although as I pointed out to him, this place bills itself as ‘authentic vegetarian Vietnamese cuisine’, and I am not 100% convinced that soy meat is authentic! Anyway… We started with some cold fresh rolls – which are normally one of my favourite things, but these ones did come with a slice of some kind of soy meat in them which kind of ruined it for me. Apart from that, they were delicious, and I love these with the peanut/satay sauce instead of sweet chilli sauce – I must remember that for those times that I make these at home! For our mains we went with tofu with lemongrass and a combination veggies with crispy noodles. The tofu with lemongrass was billed as hot and spicy on the menu and it was reasonably so. Not that it mattered because it was absolutely divine – I could have eaten a truckload of this! The tofu was deep fried, so it was light and crispy and it was smothered in chopped up lemon grass and chilli and other spices and was served with fried onions and red capsicum on a bed of cabbage (I think). Yum! The combination veggies came with combination fake meat on a giant bed of crispy noodles, swimming in sauce. I told Martin that he would have a lot of fake meat to eat, but I did actually try some of it. As I said before, it is not my thing, but there was one type that I probably could tolerate – the question is – which meat was it supposed to be? I’m not sure I could be bothered trying a variety of dishes to figure it out! Needless to say, I avoided most of the fake meat, but the veggies and noodles were ok. I am not sure whether or not to recommend this place. The non-fake meat dishes are good, and the fake meat dishes are also good, if you like that sort of thing. The fake stuff kind of tastes like chicken, but I think that is about it. The texture, however, is fairly accurate, and having been vegetarian for more than 10 years, it is something I can live without it!