The last time I dined at Au Lac in Dickson was for Chinese New Year about two years ago. I can’t believe it’s been that long. Being one of the most popular vegetarian restaurants in Canberra, I was happy to go back. I noticed the restaurant has had a bit of a revamp including new menus printed, but don’t worry, there’s still a lot of the same dishes. I did not know what to order. There were so many delicious looking items on the menu (now with some photos). I settled on soy duck pancakes ($8.90) for an entrée to be shared with J. Each pancake had a thick slice of soy duck inside that had been marinated in a delicious hoisin sauce, accompanied by a stick of cucumber. The pancake itself was very soft and smooth, and I found myself enjoying these meatless pancakes.
As it was one of those really hot Canberra afternoons, I also ordered a three-colour bean drink ($6.90), filled with red bean, green and pink jelly and topped with lots of shaved ice. I prefer this type of drink/dessert with mung bean in it so was a little disappointed that that was missing.
My other friends shared the vegetable steamed buns ($7.90) which were small-medium sized.
After a couple of weeks in Vietnam, and an amazing Vietnamese crepe experience, I decided on the Vietnamese crepe ($15.90) for my main. This came with a separate plate of fresh lettuce and basil. The crepe is meant to be sliced into pieces before being rolled into one of the lettuce cups – sang choi bao style. I found the crepe itself wasn’t as good as it could have been. It crumbled and fell apart very easily which didn’t hold the filling. Even though this was stuffed into a lettuce cup, the transfer of crepe to lettuce cup was annoying as it kept falling apart.
The crepe had been stuffed with mainly bean sprouts, carrots and a bit of soy meat (couldn’t tell you what flavour). Although the dipping bowl filled with fish sauce helped give some punchy flavour, all I could taste was beansprout so the crepe wasn’t as enjoyable as I’d hoped.
My friend ordered the soy beef rendang ($16.90) which looked amazing and I had serious food envy. I will have to order this next time.
Another friend wanted a light dinner of stir fried vegetables with tofu ($17.90). The plate was full of greens and plentiful.
Although my main wasn’t as good as I had hoped, I have been to Au Lac a few times now to know that there are some amazing dishes available. I love the soy fish! And there are so many more dishes that I am yet to try. If you’re vegetarian or have vegetarian friends, Au Lac is a must visit. They also cater to vegans and those that have gluten and nut allergies. Service is quick and typical of an Asian restaurant without being rushed out the door as soon as you finish your meal.
Au Lac can be found at 4/35-39 Woolley St, Dickson. Open Tuesday to Sunday for lunch, and all seven days for dinner. Bookings are recommended.
Value for money 8/10
FPJ score 22/30
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