Taiwan Brother 7 Vegan restaurant is a chain from Shanghai that recently opened a branch in Hangzhou in the west side of town at 333 LianHua Street, near Gudun Road. There is a Taiwan connection, as the helpful owner who served us is Taiwanese and the dishes reflect a Taiwanese influence. The restaurant is completely free of animal ingredients and only uses non-genetically-modified plants as raw materials to cook up their veggie and imitation meat dishes.
We visited the restaurant on a weekday around noon and found it bustling and fully seated with a young crowd. The high ceilings in the dining room gave a light and airy feeling. The restaurant can sit around 100 people with comfy chairs and large granite tables.
We were told the Taiwanese fried rice noodle (台湾新竹米粉, 22RMB) was their specialty, but it tasted quite ordinary. The Noodle Soup with Diced Veggie (八宝辣酱面, 26RMB) was better, having a tasty chilli and sesame oil fragranced broth. Both the noodle soup and fried noodle had very real looking pieces of imitation meat, but the taste was clearly tofu.
Fried Eggplant with Basil (红烧九层塔茄子, 28RMB) was light and non-greasy. The basil leaves added a fresh fragrance and was a nice twist on the usual fried eggplant. Crispy Tofu Skin Rolls (香酥腐皮卷, 28RMB) were enjoyable, with crunchy black fungus and vegetables inside.
We ordered one imitation meat dish, the Stewed Veggie Pork Balls with Basil (红烧九层塔素狮子头, 42RMB), and it was delicious. Made with wheat flour and plenty of mushrooms, the pork balls had the taste and texture of real meat. They even had that savoury umami flavour characteristic of meat. The menu had other imitation meat dishes like Braised Dongpo Veggie Pork (东坡素肉, 32RMB) and Big Plate Veggie Chicken (新疆大盘鸡, 38RMB) that would be interesting to try.
Drink options included juice, soymilk and coffee, ranging from 8-18rmb. No alcohol or smoking in the restaurant. Chinese and English menu. Ample parking space is available on the street.
Overall, it was an affordable, light and easy to digest meal – a good choice during these hot summer months.