Located in Stoney Creek, Lotus brings Vietnamese and Thai food into the area on the East side of the Red Hill Valley Parkway. Getting into the plaza is a bit tricky if you’re coming from the West side. Google Maps told me to drive past the plaza, make a u-turn, then pull into the parking lot because there is a median cutting access to it if you’re traveling East on Mud Street. Of course I rebelled and did my own thang by turning left at the stop lights before the plaza and went in the back way.
Inside, muted decor and grey walls occupy a large open space. They went for a modern, fusion-vibe instead of the typical Vietnamese wall decor and art pieces. Owner Flora and her staff are sweet and caring – ask for recommendations of clarification on the menu if you’re unsure. There is quite a lot on the menu and we had to take our time to read over everything. They have Vietnamese staples like pho, vermicelli bowls, and rice dishes, plus specialty Thai items sprinkled into the mix. There were definitely a number of dishes I wanted to try but as a small human being, I could only eat so much. I’ll have to come back to check ’em out another time.
We were a table of 5 and managed to get different dishes, yes! We started with Fresh Spring Rolls ($4.49), Chicken Satay ($6.49), and Fried Spring Rolls ($3.99). The fresh veggie rolls were very light and refreshing. I love it when you can taste the sweet freshness of vegetables and I could taste it in the spring rolls. The chicken had an exciting curry flavour and a subtle peanut sauce that added some creamy texture. Lastly, the deep fried spring rolls were everything I missed about my Aunt’s homemade rolls. Thin and crunchy skin with seasoned meat, taro, and veggies on the inside and served with delicious fish sauce. Flora also threw in an order of Crab Rangoon ($5.49) on the house! These were cute little parcels of Thai pastry filled with imitation crab meat, green onion, and cream cheese, then deep fried until a crispy shell forms and the cheese gets soft. Yum, right? What made them even yummier was the sweet and sticky dipping sauce.
Onto our mains, my vermicelli bowl ($8.99) came with a huge portion of charbroiled pork sausage, sugar cane shrimp (threw me back to some childhood memories), a spring roll, a lot of shredded veggies, and fish sauce for seasoning. You could just pour all the sauce into your bowl and mix everything together but I prefer to dip my noodles and keep everything separated. Every component tasted as it should and my favourite part was chewing on the sugar cane. Give it a try if you’ve never had it before. Make sure to chew with your molars and suck all the juice that flows out! It’s super refreshing.
Everyone else ordered Traditional Pad Thai ($10.99), Golden Curry ($9.95) with Coconut Rice ($1.75), Nasi Goreng ($13.49), and Udon Noodle in Black Bean Sauce ($9.49). The dishes came in massive portions but we all seemed to finish our meals.
What really got me excited was their drink menu, it included basically all of my favourite Asian drinks: Vietnamese Coffee (must-try), Thai Iced Tea (another must-try), Avocado Milkshake (must-try), and Lychee Fruit Soda, ok, they are all must-tries! Try them all! Vietnamese coffee is brewed over condensed milk at your table, once it stops dripping, you stir to combine, then enjoy! It can be served hot or cold – drinking it with ice is super refreshing during the summer. Creamy, sweet, and strong. Thai iced tea is about the same in creaminess but it’s spiced tea and very sweet too. We all know avocados have been all the rage because they’re a super-food with lots of health benefits and they look pretty on toast in your instagram feed. I’ve been drinking avocado milkshakes since MySpace days. I don’t care what kind of health benefits they have ’cause once you turn that creamy green fruit into a delicious milkshake, there are no benefits other than cavities. Still one of my faves! Moving onto lychee fruit soda – whenever I’ve had this drink, there were chunks of fresh lychee with red syrup and sprite. Once it’s mixed together, the drink turns pink! But I’m not sure if Lotus does it this way. I will have to go back and investigate.
Service was amazing and the atmosphere was very relaxing and comfortable. The large space is capable of accommodating parties large or small. They are a bit of a drive from the core areas of Hamilton but they offer some special dishes and drinks I haven’t found anywhere else. I’m counting down the days until I go back to taste their pho. Because comon, that’s the real test, right? If your broth isn’t up to par, then get out. Just kidding! You are wonderful people, I love all your dishes, drinks, and friendly faces!
Lotus Cuisine provided a complimentary meal for myself and a guest, opinions expressed are my own.