DuxDine – vegetarian dining at a classy setting (haloumi salad and semolina flatbread!)

It was the weekend, so mum and I decided to go for our indispensable weekly dine-out.

We had a nice short walk to a nearby breakfast-lunch-dinner restaurant called “DuxDine” (from Dux-Delux) and yes, they do have ‘duck’ ornaments in their restaurants (clever pun).

The restaurant was only half the distance of my daily 20 min walk to school, but still mum was taken aback by the prolonged length. She asked me “Don’t you get so bored walking to school everyday?”

If one loves health/fitness, one can never get bored of a brisk morning walk.

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The DuxDine menu is littered with small initials “V” “GF” “Dairy-free” (Could you be more resourceful than this??). They also have their breakfast egg dishes served with organic eggs! (I can actually consume egg at a restaurant!)

*(Although I’ve also been to a contemp Thai restaurant that served free-range chicken+eggs. I was in eggy pineapple fried-rice heaven… Ahh… They made Pad-Thai where the noodles were served covered in a thin, nest-like shell made of egg. Pretty classy, eh?)

Mum’s option: Haloumi salad with quinoa and fresh rocket leaves.Image

*Haloumi (grilled cheese) not tofu! Basically the non-vegan, fattier version of tofu. Protein is probably at around the equivalent amount, but it comes packed with extra calories 🙂

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(A serving of rocket leaves, we should all be getting 3 servings of veggies everyday!) *My mum ordered macchiato with her salad. I was considering ordering a soy latte but thought how weird it would be… coffee with savory food…

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The taste? Apparently totally delish, but I thought a bit bland tasting – same story with most restaurant salads.

Mum said the quinoa tasted like egg-yolks and that they should use them as egg-yolk alternatives (Colour quinoa in yellow, mush them up and roll into egg-like balls??)

I don’t remember the taste now (early amnesia) but I think that it must’ve been some herbs with butter/olive oil which gave the quinoa the distinct eggy taste.

Overall, quinoa nicely cooked (chewy and glutinous) and not too much oil expended on (or dumped) into the salad.

$17 – all worth the pricey haloumi cheese.

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Now to my option! Semolina flat bread with rosemary, olive oil, and various dips. (It was originally going to arrive with a ‘liptauer’ dip as well, the star of the dish but containing all three cheeses). Being dairy-free, I asked for the ALTERNATIVE OPTION (dun, dun, dun!) what would it be??

The restaurant makes such a big show out of their various ALTERNATIVES but what they gave me instead of three-cheeses were really just a couple of caramelized beetroot pieces with pine nuts.

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But I haven’t got much to complain about because I have a weird ‘antipasto’ or platter fetish i.e. I love having the various options! *Also why I love Korean food with their 5+ side dishes and pickles.

I got plain chickpea hummus on the top left, pickled garlic (or onion??) on the right, then caramelized beetroots with pine nuts, and parsley (most likely) garnish, and some super plump fresh olives! *I’m guessing they may have pressed them themselves.

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The downside with this dish is the fact that all the side dips, including the flatbread itself are drenched in olive oil!

Caramelized beet root is not even properly caramelized (which is good because I prefer fresh to mushy veggies) more like ‘olive-oil-ized’. But the pine nuts were such a luxurious treat… (I barely eat them because they’re so expensive i.e. $11+ per 100 grams). So good they just pop in your mouth, and they taste so earthy… Reminds me of a less fat-dense hazelnut.

*FYI pine nuts actually contain more calories per ounce than hazelnuts (embarrassing mistake) 191:178 per ounce*

About the olive oiliness of the dish; perhaps it’s just me who thought the food was too oily… Since I barely use oil in cooking/seasoning/or in my salads. But I still think more than 1 tbsp of olive oil is enough in a dish that already has hummus (1 tbsp olive oil = enough essential oil + calorie in a serving, i.e. imagine a handful of nuts)

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I decided to play chef and made pizza out of my flatbread.

*(Earlier I had contemplated for about 10 minutes about whether or not to order pizza which they’re known for)

I decided against it because the waitress was pretty adamant that the vegan alternative would be “JUST THE TOPPING… ARE YOU SURE?” (Although they did write a huge bolded, and bracketed DAIRY-FREE AND GLUTEN-FREE OPTION AVAILABLE at the bottom)

Little did she know that cheese-less pizza is just as delicious 🙂

The margharita pizza I saw that was brought out looked uber amazing too, it looked like it had two whole tomatoes on it.*

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Apparently they used the same flour to make their pizza anyway (according to my mum basically the same texture).

*About semolina – I know very little about the nutritional profile of this ‘grain’ but it used to be a byproduct of the milling industry. Is basically the bran/outer layer made into powder (so high phytic acid content, should be sprouted before consumption) very high in nutrients i.e. niacin, calcium, etc. Similar caloric content to normal wheat flour. Staple in middle eastern/Indian cuisine.

The taste? 

The sides although were too oily for my taste, the natural flavouring i.e. fried garlic, rosemary, olive oil, sweetness of beetroot were enough to make this dish a flavor filled one.

Semolina flour I guess would make bread with a more nuttier, wholesome taste than plain wheat flour (low-gi without the whole-meal taste some people hate)

Not sure if this was worth $18 though.

Overall, an uber cool dining experience (nice change to the usual bustling Chinese restaurant setting), better seating and environment (has garden/outdoor seating). Next time I’d order the margherita pizza (second favorite flavor in a tie with pineapple, first place goes to seafood) or the organic egg dish! Promote the natural foods movement!!