The place was pretty empty when we arrived but we liked the decor; modern and funky. There are 4 huge communal tables and one or two smaller ones scattered about. There is also a pretty outdoor courtyard with a canvas tent like roof which would be great for a private party and in the Summer.
There is also the biggest red lantern I have ever seen suspended from the ceiling which is pretty cool. The reception was friendly enough and we were taken to one of the communal tables beneath the red lantern and we were seated side by side.
There were a few other couples there enjoying the food as well as a larger birthday group. Tap water was poured quickly and the wine order taken and we were left to peruse the menu.
On a lunchtime they have a limited a la carte choice and they only serve a sample of their main menu. There's also a $25 per person set lunch which consists of a starter (no choice) and a choice of three main dishes from a range of 6 and rice (minimum two people). We decided to do the set menu but add a couple of appetisers. There's certainly enough without the extra orders but we wanted to try a few more things.
There were also a few bottles of wine on "special"; red, white and a sparkling for $30 each so we went for the white option which was a very pleasant semillon sauvignon blanc.
The highlight dish was lamb ribs with lemongrass, cumin seeds and chilli. Crispy on the outside with great seasoning and then soft lamb meat that falls off the bone and then crunchy fresh coriander, chilli and spring onion to lift the richness of the meat. Steve and I both loved this dish and it has set a bar in terms of lamb rib dishes!
- Minced beef wok fried with chilli, basil, snake beans, oyster sauce and topped with a fried egg
- Pork belly with chilli caramel, black vinegar and apple, cabbage, mint salad
- Slow cooked lamb with black pepper sauce, coriander and mushrooms
The minced beef made us smile as I make something very similar at home as a mid week dinner except I don't use as many herbs and spices. We enjoyed this as there was something very familiar and comforting about it but at the same time it was lifted and better than our homestyle version. The mince goes great with steamed rice.
The slow cooked lamb is the only dish we would avoid ordering again. Compared to the flavour sensations of the other two dishes, this was rather bland and watery. The meat was very tender if a little fatty but the sauce was thin and a bit too gravy like really.
We were far too stuffed for dessert although the optional one on the set menu (extra $5) sounded really good; passionfruit cream and coconut icecream or something tropical like that. We're looking forward to returning on an evening to sample the whole menu but also think the lunch special is great value for money and would thoroughly recommend it to friends but only if we can come too!