Although Yi Tian Yi Su does not promote itself as ‘vegan’ – the word has little currency among the local Chinese, the staff there informed me – the menu is entirely meat- and dairy-free. And what a menu it is: a panoply of tofu, mushroom and vegetable based dishes, some fried, some steamed (yes, the menu also indicates how the dishes are prepared), and a variety of rice and noodle sides. The problem is very much deciding what to eat…hence my returning there three times in the past month since discovering the place. The tranquil atmosphere and the lovely staff just add to lure of it.
In fact, something must be said about the location of the Yi Tian Yi Su, which is somewhat incongruous to the ambience of the restaurant. Hidden away on the fourth floor of a shopping mall which appears to be otherwise empty (bar Starbucks, McDonalds and a Chinese restaurant on the ground floor), and a meandering walk from the nearest Metro stop (Zhujong New Town), food adventurers might be tempted to doubt their path on first visit, Pilgrim’s Progress style. But press on, and the rewards are worth it.
At 30-40 RMB per dish, the prices of the dishes are above the usual cost of ‘local’ dining, but still below those of Western-style restaurants. As very few of the dishes could be considered standalone meals, dining alone or as a couple can get a little pricey if you want a comprehensive, complete chow-down; the best value (and experience) is to be had eating in a group where the dishes can be shared and the cost thus reduced. Also, there is little in the way of deserts; there are promotions for dairy-free cakes and muffins, though these must be ordered 24 hours in advance. However, one needn’t wallow in the Slough of Despond at this - the sweet potato and pumpkin soups on offer more than suffice in rounding a meal off.
Updated from previous review on Monday November 11, 2013
Cons: Expensive for singles or couples, Little choice for desserts, Difficult to find on first visit