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Ren Dao Asian Vegetarian

  • Vegetarian Vegetarian
    ( 11 reviews )
Contact 03-95230150

275 Glenhuntly Rd, Elsternwick, Victoria, 3185

Ren Dao Vegetarian Restaurant offers classic Singaporean cuisine prepared by a chef with 20+ years experience in vegetarian Asian cooking. Will cater to dietary needs, and has many vegan and gluten-free options. Has express lunch menu, with call-ahead option. Upstairs room available for receptions or special occasions. Directions: Located almost opposite the Elsternwick train station. Mon-Fri 11:30am-2:30pm, Mon-Thu 5:30pm-9:30pm, Fri-Sat 5:30pm-10:00pm

Category: Vegan-friendly, Chinese, Asian, Malaysian, BYOB

Reviews (11)

First Review by inthemooood

Underwhelming - Edit

Having read some good reviews, my dining companion and I ventured southside to try this well regarded Asian restaurant. With mains starting at $22, we were anticipating something a little more special than the type of fare on offer at our usual el-cheapo veg*n haunts. For entree, we opted for a Thai Tom Yum and Malaysian Laksa. While they were tasty, neither soup was like anything I've encountered either here or in Southeast Asia: thick, sweet broth filled with minuscule pieces of zucchini, carrot and broccoli reminiscent of frozen 'vegetable medley' mix (although they were clearly not frozen).

For mains, we opted to start with brown rice and Assam Pedas, a soy 'fish' dish in sour and spicy sauce. The mock fish pieces - frozen ovals with seaweed skin you can find in many Asian groceries - sat around the rim of the bowl, were not submerged in the sauce and were cold and dry, as though they had been microwaved immediately prior to serving. The bowl was filled with slices of carrot and zucchini, and a few pieces of celery and capsicum in a thick sweet sauce. The zucchini, which made up the bulk of the curry, was so old that it tasted like very bitter pieces of wood. At $24.90, this dish was far worse than anything I've made at home, or paid $10 for in a diner - in short, a complete and utter rip off. To top it off, one of the serving plates the maître d' brought out was grotty and had a massive chip in it.

After politely declining twice, the maître d' continued on her hard-sell endeavour to persuade us to order dessert. Convinced that we had wasted enough of our stomach space, time and hard-earned at this overpriced sub-par eatery, we left satisfied with only the knowledge that we had crossed this venue off our 'to do' list.

Pros: many vegan options, no MSG, BYO

Cons: mediocre food bordering on terrible, *extremely* overpriced, pushy and intrusive staff

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Decent meal - Edit

Not often on this side of town, we took the chance to try this place out on a Saturday evening. The restaurant was quiet around 7pm when we arrived. The wait staff were helpful and made recommendations and told us what was vegan. We chose the Coconut Butter Chicken (reassured this was vegan despite the description on the menu) and the Dao Vege (mushroom, broccoli and goji berries). The dishes were not cheap (between $19 and $23), but the portions were a really decent size and two dishes fed two of us well (with a serve of steamed rice each). The vegetable dish was very nice and quite tasty. The ‘chicken’ (one of the signature dishes) was nice and crisp, but was fairly dry and depended on the sauce that went with it for flavour and moistness. I’ll come back here if I’m in the neighbourhood or meeting somebody who lives in the area.

Pros: Decent portion sizes

Cons: Signature dish a little dry without condiment

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Great food, great service - Edit

We have been here quite a few times and without fail, the food has been really really good. I highly recommend the vegetarian curry chicken, the Yam Treasure Ring, the dumplings, The chow mee and finally, the best laksa I have ever had!
The staff are fabulous, especially Winnie, the head waitress who goes above and beyond the call of duty. They make their food with such love and devotion, we have to try everything on the menu!

Pros: Great food, wonderful staff, large portions

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Chock full of mock - Edit

I have dined at Ren Dao a number of times and have mostly been very pleased with the meals. The last visit was a bit hit and miss and our dessert order was completely forgotten - previously the service has been exemplary.

The menu is very mock-meat heavy but if you are after something vegetable or tofu based there are a fair amount of dishes to choose from.

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Disappointing - Edit

High expectations after hearing good things about Ren Dao, but the food unfortunately did not deliver. Pricey and a touch bland, they also had a habit of serving sizzling? dishes that were actually smoking; the staff even held the front door open at one stage to let the smoke out/fresh air in while the customers coughed. Service times were slow and we waited around half an hour for our dessert before querying them, turns out they had forgotten about it. Hopefully Ren Dao just had a bad night!

Cons: Pricey, Bland

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Best mock-meat I've found in the SE suburbs - Edit

We've eaten here a number of times, and always enjoyed it, although some meals are definitely better than others. From memory, the parma was probably the least exciting, while the mock duck is incredible. The battered oyster mushrooms were also fantastic, although I don't recommend having them as a stand-alone meal - you want to share them, and another dish, with another person, I found I needed to break up the flavour around the halfway point. In my experience, the Asian-style food seems to be better than the Western-style food.

The staff are all really lovely, and we've never had trouble getting a table without a booking.

Pros: The staff are just lovely, Almost everything is vegan, Some of the food is amazing

Cons: Some of the mock meat isn't quite there, Some dishes don't really include vegies, Parking nearby can be difficult

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Love it - Edit

Been to Ren Dao many times, never had a bad experience. Service, food and overall experience is always excellent. On one occasion I was lucky enough to meet the chef who explained that he changed his diet a few years back (from the advice of the Buddhist Master) so he visited several chinese restaurants so get an idea of the dishes he could veganise. He lost since weight and has never been healthier.

I have taken several omnivore friends to Ren Dao, and as a result some of them are now moving towards a plant based diet.

Always welcoming, I look forward to going there again.

Pros: the Roast Duck!, Great service

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Recommend the Set Lunch Deals - Edit

This is a very pleasant little restaurant with friendly staff. Malaysian style Chinese food and it's all well done. The well priced set lunches are complete with often, a seaweed soup and sago desert or similar with your choice of main. I really love the fish option - I noticed the picture above and that is the dish i like to order. Yum. They have lots of photos on the menu which assists the discerning diners amongst us.

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I liked it. - Edit

First of all, the food here has kick. So if you're ordering their spicey stuff, you've been warned. The style is very Chinese/Singaporean. We had the Fish vermicelli (very nice), the Nasi Lemak (pretty good) and an eggplant dish (bloody excellent).
Staff was great and location is pretty good.
Nothing bad to report.

Pros: Food, Location, Staff

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Friendly people, tasty food! - Edit

We have now been to this new venue (opened December 2011) on two occasions. Both times we have enjoyed the friendliness of the staff, their genuine desire to make our time there pleasant, as well as the crisp, clean decor.

The menu contains many well-known items (e.g. kung po chicken), as well as some less common dishes. There are plenty of vegan choices and the staff - especially the older staff - are very familiar with vegan requirements. Vegans should note that some menu items do contain dairy products.

The prices are very reasonable for the location and the fitout, especially the $9 set meals, which contain a small serving of a main, rice, pickles, and a small dessert. This is the sort of thing we were used to in Malaysia, and it came across very well in the middle of Elsternwick.

The venue is easy to reach, with a train station opposite and a tram stop just next to it. It is going to be a favourite haunt of ours, and we recommend it to all.

Pros: Good food, Great prices, Lovely interior

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Ren Dao - worth the trip - Edit

Delighted to share my pleasure at finding this restaurant, especially so close to my home. The menu, presented in traditional asian style of numbered items and categories, offers an array of typical malaysian dishes. everything is prepared when you order, so it arrives piping hot and looking fresh and beautiful. my current favourites are the roast duck (22.90), with its crispy skin (how could this be vegetarian? we asked each other), and the curry laksa (12.80), which is a huge meal in a bowl, and too much for one person (though you can take your leftovers home). there's a range of 13 entrees (in australia that means appetisers), and plenty of choice in souls and main courses. i've never had room for dessert. a friend who tried the "chinese coffee" said to avoid it.
staff are welcoming and helpful, without being at all pushy.
this is a newly opened restaurant, with all new fittings. the decor is simple and graceful. there is a small step at the entrance which a wheelchair user (like me) can manage with a little help. while there is no wheelchair loo, there is one at the classic cinema around the corner.
i love this place, and i hope you will too.

Pros: interesting menu, ample helpings, friendly staff

Cons: coffee

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