If your idea of Chinese fondue requires mayonnaise-based sauces, ambiguously Asian-flavored bouillon, and white rice, this probably isn’t the place for you. Likewise, if you need your dinner location to be Instagrammable and include a craft cocktail menu to flatter your cosmopolitan sensibilities, you should keep walking.
There’s not much about Tang Roulou’s décor that inspires confidence at first glance – unless, that is, you’re the kind of person who interprets it as a sign of a straight-forward, no-fuss, focus on the food. And this food is so.damn.good.
We’d probably walked past Tang Roulou thirty times before we took notice of the packed house with groups of friends convened over steamy pots of homemade bone broth bouillon. The run-down exterior with mismatched twinkle lights had never caught our attention before, but we love a secret hiding in plain sight, so once it piqued our interest, we had to book a table.
When we told the server that we were there for the Chinese hot pot, she directed us to a set of fixed menus, each with a pre-arranged set of meats and vegetables and a couple choices of bouillons. When we asked her about the white papers that other tables seemed to be ordering from, she smiled and said: “that’s for real Chinese people.” Suddenly our fixed-menu options seemed vaguely insulting.
We insisted on ordering from the paper, and after some resistance, she relented. The choices were tantalizing – five different bouillons, twenty different meats and seafood, and more vegetables than we took time to count. Now, we were really talking.
The spread of food that was served was a flat-lay photographer’s dream – we tried several different types of mushrooms, vegetables we’d never tasted, sweet potato noodles (who knew you could make noodles with sweet potatoes?!), and finally what we’re convinced is the spiciest meat in Lausanne, possibly in Switzerland. Yes, it’s a bold statement, but friends, we dare you – order the spicy beef AND the spicy bouillon and give us a call if you disagree. Marinated in szechuan peppers and cooked in red chili-pepper broth, this bite is worth the visit for anyone who complains about how bland Swiss food can be.
Since discovering this local gem, we’ve already returned three times. It has rightfully earned a fixed place in our personal restaurant rotation.