Having walked through the Arcadian many times and always being in awe of the impressively large vegetarian menu at Cafe Soya, it was our first choice when we decided to take our vegetarian friend for a meal in the city centre.
Cafe Soya has two branches in the city centre – one in the Arcadian centre and the main branch on Dean Street, near the Rag Markets. We decided to try out the main branch this time and return to try the second, slightly smaller branch another day. This main branch felt more like a restaurant, whilst the Arcadian branch is more of a cafe style
Intrigued by the vegetarian menu and unable to make a decision about what we each wanted, we decided to order three dishes between us and share them. We chose the mock chicken spicy satay, the veggie ‘chicken’ noodles and tofu and aubergine in black bean sauce.
The aubergine and tofu in black bean sauce was by far our favourite dish. The sauce was absolutely delicious – the right amount of garlic and not too much oil. We’re not the biggest fans of soft tofu and so were very pleased that this dish included the firm variety, which we think has a much nicer texture. I love any dish containing aubergine and so I definitely took more than my fair share from this sharing dish!
In the satay, the mock chicken was made from a mixture of tofu and vegetable fibre whilst the in the stirfry noodles, the veggie chicken was made from a soya mix. The spicy satay dish came mixed with broccoli and other vegetables and the sauce had a nice kick. The mock chicken was pleasant however we much preferred the taste and texture of the soya veggie ‘chicken’. He really liked the noodle dish and we had to keep reminding him that it was a dish to share.
We decided to get a portion of stir fried Ho fun noodles as a side to share, as the satay and aubergine dishes didn’t include noodles. These Chinese rice noodles have a slightly different texture to Japanese wheat udon,but are similarly substantial. (Being made with rice instead of wheat also means they’re a gluten free substitute!) As much as we loved them (we devoured them pretty quickly!), we have to admit that they were a tad oily.
We really enjoyed our meal at Cafe Soya and are definitely planning to return. The vegetarian dishes were around £6-£7, whilst the meat dishes were generally about £7-£8, an excellent price for the quantity of food available, especially in the city centre.
They also have a take out offer – either choosing from a range of fillings, sauces and sides for £5.50, or one of a range of items from the menu (including the meat version of the chicken stir fry noodles that we ordered) with a free drink for £6.50