The menu is Asian with interesting descriptions and uses of fragrant spices. Not your average bacon and eggs but there's definitely eggs and piggy pork present just not interpreted in the usual breakfast way. It's not quite the easy approachable (predictable even?) breakfast menu. There's a little thought readjustment required to give up on the usual brekkie fayre and to get into the Asian spirit.
The friendly waiter advises that dishes are spicy so to be prepared but that the baked eggs are a great hangover cure - hangover or no hangover!
- Sticky Pork & Shrimp Rice, Green Apple, Omelette, Coriander, Ginger & Chilli
- Baked Eggs, Pork Belly, Smoked Eggplant, Tomato, Chilli & Basil
We choose the previously bigged up Baked Eggs and Steve selects fried rice. We actually want to be able to try a third dish but the waitress pretty much slams the idea and tells us not to. I like it when wait staff advise that we've over ordered as I think they're doing their job but there's a way to do it and having a wee on my bonfire is not the way. I prefer it when it's suggested that I've ordered a lot which is great to try things but chances are we won't finish it and to make sure I'm comfortable with that. At which point, I and my friendly co diners will have a think and make the final decision.
Unfortunately in this case, I feel like I've been invited to the party but not allowed to join in the games! Steve, sensing my deflation suggests that we review the situation after the first two dishes and the waitress says that we can do that as the kitchen turns things round pretty quickly. I'm appeased but still the waitress is a spoilsport and doesn't understand people like to try things.
Anyway it's all about the food and that spicy chilli chases any ill feeling I have. The baked eggs dish is not what I expected as the egg is actually a layer on the top as opposed to being baked whole eggs. I should have known really as my Chinese roots mean that steamed eggs much like the eggs here is a homely family favourite. The crispy, almost stained glass like panes of fried basil is pretty but more like garnish for me so I sweep them to one side. The spicy tomato sauce, eggplant and chunky slices of pork are truly yummy. To me, I can't quite taste the smokiness of smoked eggplant but I do like the soft creaminess of the vegetable. And the the thick, doorstop slice of fluffy bread, buttered on both sides is just so comforting and delicious dunked into the sauce. This is more than a hangover cure; it has life restoring properties!
The fried rice is presented with a fluffy omelette with dried shrimps, a border of chopped green beans and a little side dish of caramel, sticky pork already to be mixed together. Flavours are strong, there's definitely some heat there probably more so than the baked eggs which is surprising and it's tasty enough. It doesn't quite have the smokiness that comes from a really hot wok though but I'm grateful that it's not greasy as no wok hei can mean grease.
And after those two dishes, I can do a third and we discuss sweet vs. savoury before going with the one we had planned to have before my party was cancelled by the waitress!
This is mellow and soothing after all the spice and salty and flavoursome. I love the salted egg and add all of it and we take joy in the runny egg. There are about 5 or so chicken mince meatballs which are tasty and not too dense or heavy. Close call for favourite dish between the baked eggs and this but boy am I glad we ordered this. Even Steve who is a bit unconvinced by congee delights in the warmth and savouriness of this homely dish.