It’s not hard to find healthy vegetarian and vegan food in Shanghai. It’s just that there aren’t many restaurants which include options as a matter of course. After a few months of minor frustrations at entirely carnivorous group brunches and dinners, and far too many bowls of Jen Dow's signature veggie noodles (good but salty), a meal at Gwen’s was a happy soul food antidote.
The little cafe on Yanqing is stylish but small. There’s only really one proper table (a big one, but still) plus some stools at the bar. I liked the bar seats – they provided a great view of our food being microwaved, scooped and biodegradably-packaged.
I also liked the menu. Everything looks good: fresh and colourful cooking. I went for the biang biang tempeh rice (38rmb), which carried a satisfying garlic hit. Would recommend. Annoyingly, a few of the options were unavailable when we visited, but we also tried the New Orleans spicy tomato sauce with avocado and egg (48rmb, hearty) and the steamed bun special, which was well-packed and filling.
Service is quick and efficient, and the food was exactly the healthy hit I was looking for. I was surprised at how much microwaving was happening, although this isn’t necessarily a bad thing – the flavour and texture of everything we ate was still good. I’ll be returning to try the drinks and the other food options, especially after a heavy food weekend.
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