Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Affinity Vegetarian Restaurant

87 John St. South
Hamilton, Ontario
905.529.2598

I met up with my old colleague and friend S, with her wife A, for dinner. Both S and A are vegetarian, so I suggested going to Affinity Vegetarian Restaurant. Affinity is one of the rare vegetarian restaurants in Hamilton. It serves Chinese fare, and the owner is Taiwanese.




This was formerly the Budapest Hungarian Restaurant and there is some vestige of it.


There is a wall of different tea types that you can pick from.

When I came in, S & A had already ordered tea since it was such a cold day. After catching up a bit, we took a look at the menu. The menu offers typical Chinese dishes, except that any meat is replaced by "meat". There is even a dim sum section!

Since we had all been here before (although never together), we all knew what to order. A ordered the vegetable steamed bun and tofu casserole (not pictured), with a side of rice. The vegetable steamed bun looked like a regular Chinese steamed bun. The tofu casserole seemed like a vegetarian version of Szechuan Mapo tofu. Unfortunately, A did not like silken tofu and so was disappointed by the dish. S got the soy drumsticks as a starter, with thick noodles with soy beef and the Kung-Pao soy chicken. I am always amazed at how faux meat looks like the real thing. The soy drumsticks and beef below were especially convincing.


Soy Drumsticks, $5.50.


Thick Noodles with Soy Beef, $13.99.

I got the combination with Kung-Pao soy chicken. I always get the same combination because it is my absolute favourite. At $15.99 (for the dinner portion), it is a good deal and includes the soup of the day, a spring roll, a garden salad, 2 nuggets (I got 3!), a portion of rice, the main dish and finally dessert jelly with tea!


Plump spring roll.

I was first served the spring roll which was nothing extraordinary but nice and crisp. The soup looked like vegetable porridge with some frozen vegetables. It was well seasoned but had no Asian flavours at all. S said that she usually pays the extra few dollars to substitute it for the hot and sour soup and it is well worth it.

The combo dinner comes in a Bento box. The nuggets were crispy and tasted good dipped in the soy sauce. The salad, like the soup, did not really seem Asian but had a nice, sweet dressing. I really enjoy the Kung-Pao soy chicken, made with textured vegetable protein (TVP). It's amazing how the soy chicken has a meaty texture like chicken fibres. The Kung-Pao also came with large chunks of fried tofu, celery (not my favourite) and mushrooms. I like how the soy chicken absorbs the sauce although I remember it having a lot more kick (weirdly, S thought her Kung-Pao chicken was spicier than usual and she likes spicy!).


Bento box presentation of dinner combination.


The soy nuggets could fool any meat lover!


I like the various rice mixture and sesame seeds.


I could easily eat a lot of pieces of Kung-Pao soy chicken!

Finally, I was served a tea jelly with four slices of apple for dessert. I really enjoyed the jelly but could not finish the apple slices. This was served with the hot tea to finish off my combo.


Tea jelly dessert served with apple.


A & S were nice enough to treat me to dinner. Thanks again!


Affinity is a great option for vegetarian food in Hamilton and meat eaters would not even miss meat. They are also very conscious of vegan diets and the menu indicates whether a dish contains eggs or dairy. I think it is a bit on the pricey side (maybe because I'm comparing to Chinese food...) but the combo is a very good deal. There are two sets of prices, lunch and dinner. If you just want to try this restaurant out, a good option is to go for lunch, which is at a lower price point.

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