Soon it was Saturday and we headed over. Even with a later table reservation, it was still pretty busy so we waited at the bar and the friendly bartender entertained me as Steve drove round looking for a parking place.
We were shown to a high table to the back of the restaurant against the wall. Comfortable enough but not the most relaxing but the place is pretty buzzy, speedy and hip to be relaxing.
I watched chef Victor at the pass and liked his enthusiastic manner and his resounding claps to indicate service!
TEA EGG, avruga and dill
RAW SCALLOP, lap cheung, shitake mushroom and spring onion
I loved that the tea egg reminded me of the tea eggs my Auntie used to make and also my Gran used to pop the odd boiled egg into her red braised belly pork dish and the salty, earth, tea flavours of this dish brought back those memories. The yolks were perfectly creamy and rich and the avruga just added that salty kick.
The scallop dish was also a hit, Sweet and silky scallop and then chewy sweet sausage meat with a salty shitake hit and then creaminess from the scallop as the final note. Loved this and there probably only was one scallop in the dish sliced thinly but at $5 I thought it was really reasonable.
Raw OCEAN TROUT and jellyfish salad
Saltwater DUCK, bitter leaves and radish
The trout and jelly fish was a modern twist on some familiar flavours. I loved the fragrance of sesame coming through and the ocean trout sashimi. The jelly fish reminded me of Chinese banquets from my childhood, usually at weddings. I used to love the chewy, slippery strands of jelly fish that were likened to rubber bands. In this dish there were some small slivers of the traditional jelly fish and then a deep fried version which was muted in flavour but added crunch to the soft, slippery sashimi and jelly fish.
Slices of cold poached duck laid beneath the shell of deep red bitter leaves. The duck had been poached in saltwater and had this beautiful moist texture and salty, smokey flavour. I loved the texture and the flavour but Steve preferred the trout.
Crispy skin SHANGDONG CHICKEN
Sweet and sour PORK
The chicken came in big chunks on the bone and was beautifully golden with a thin crispy skin. It sat in a delicious fragrant and soy based sauce. Kind of traditional, elevated to restaurant standard.
The sweet and sour pork also had tones of tradition refreshed for the present, It's not fusion, it's not Chinese with a twist, it's tradition refreshed for the palettes of today. Not that sweet and sour pork is tradition. When I say it's tradition I talk about memories of the 70s when Chinese takeaway was a weekend treat and back then the garish pink and glossy sauce was considered exotic. Here we see the flavours captured but the sauce isn't lurid and the battered pieces of meat is done so tastily with a freshness brought in by the crunchy veg and slivers of fresh pineapple.
I'd have loved to try the STEAMED soy CUSTARD, hot and sour sauce and the lamb to share but sadly our tummies wouldn't let us. We couldn't even manage dessert and there were some delights from the menu that appealed and they looked delicious.
Oh well, one for next time! Yes please.