The Orchid Vegan on George Hudson Street, which opened in August 2020 in the early months of the Covid pandemic, has been earning rave online reviews.
It holds a 5-star rating on Tripadviser, with comments including: “Fantastic experience at The Orchid. Food was excellent. Special fried rice was a particular favourite. I’m vegetarian but came with two meat eaters, both absolutely loved the food.”
Another reviewer added:” Fantastic food. Crispy ‘beef’ a highlight, but all amazing. Lovely staff giving excellent service. We will be back next time we are in York.”
Now the restaurant has been officially recognised with Tripadvisor’s Traveller’s Choice ‘Best of the Best’ award. The award went on display in the restaurant last week.
Restaurant owner Jean Zhuang said she was thrilled with the award.
“It recognises all the hard work we have put in to try to develop vegan dishes that we think are really special,” she said.
She also gave a huge ‘thank you’ to the restaurant’s customers.
“Without them, we can’t survive for so long throughout the pandemic,” she said.
“We can feel the warm support from our local residents!”
Jean said that many restaurants were struggling post-pandemic with the rising cost of living.
Despite this, she said, ‘We always put creating vegan dishes as our priority’.
The aim, she said, was to appeal not only to vegans and vegetarians – but to meat-eaters too, who would be prepared to try plant-based dishes.
The restaurant serves up a range of vegetable and tofu dishes for those who don’t want their food to appear ‘meaty’ – including pumpkin croquettes and tofu with mixed vegetable stir fry.
But they’re constantly experimenting, too, with new ‘no-meat’ dishes which nevertheless have a meaty flavour and texture which appeals both to recent vegetarian converts and meat-eaters willing to try something a bit different.
Dishes include vegan ‘king prawns’, smoky vegan Mongolian-style ‘beef’, and vegan shredded ‘chicken’.
They are all, Jean says, created uniquely in the Orchid Vegan’s kitchen.
“The majority of our meat eating customers are surprised by our dishes’ texture and flavour,” she said.
“But we never encourage them to compare them with meat dishes. All we try to encourage is at least they could enjoy our dishes and save the environment and some animals!”
In addition to being vegan, the Orchid is also nut free and MSG free. “We found a lot of our customers are allergic to nuts!” Jean said.