RICE PAPER SCISSORS… BOOM ROCK EXPLOSION IN THE MOUTH OF FLAVOURS! Came here early at 5:30 to reserve a spot for the always-busy Friday nights as a post mid-semester test celebration, and we were seated by 7pm. We ordered 10 dishes for the $59 for 5 dishes special, (basically 90% of the menu haha) which was quite filling for our group of 4. The ambiance is very bar-like, with high stools and a timbery interior – perfect for a refreshing way to relax and chat over tapas on a Friday night! Overall, the flavours were very acidic and powerful – a few personal highlights would’ve been the BBQ Lamb Ribs, Thai Ceviche, Betel Leaf, Soft Shell Crab Baguette and Duck Salad.
BBQ Lamb Ribs (Mekong whiskey marinated lamb ribs in a sticky special sauce)
Beautiful, sweet and sticky sauce marinating the soft lamb ribs that were cooked to perfection. The meat fell off tenderly, without sticking to the bone at all. Probably one of the best lambs I’ve ever had!
Crying Tiger (Char-grilled wagyu beef with a spicy citrus dipping sauce)
Probably the most disappointing dish of the night. The wagyu was cooked too tough and dry, whilst the sauce was too acidic. The salad was quite refreshing and juicy but the overall taste was lacking.
BBQ King Prawns (Barbecued QLD king prawns served with Aunty Chan’s secret sauce)
The prawn dish was saved by Aunty Chan’s secret sauce! I didn’t really like the texture of the prawn as the shell wasn’t crispy enough (for those who eat the shell) but the prawn was also quite chewy and stuck to the shell. On the other hand, I loved the Asian prawn infused, savouriness of the sauce!
Betel Leaf (Prawn with Crispy Mango Salad)
I loved the tenderness of the prawn on the betel life with the juicy fleshness of it and the salad perfectly complementing the crunchiness of the mango and betel. The sauce was fresh and light, which balanced the strong flavours of the other dishes on the night. (I wish there was more of it though…)
Thai Ceviche (Lime cured kingfish salad with mint, chilli and shallot)
The flavour of the ceviche was striking! The acidity was very strong but undercut by the soft, freshness of the kingfish and fresh veggies. The crispy airiness of the sesame seed rice cracker meant the dish was infused with a lovely balance of different levels of acidity and textures.
Mini Vietnamese Baguette (Crispy soft shell crab with pickled vegetables, herbs and homemade pate)
Omg the bahn mi was amazingggggg! Biting through all the layers, from the soft bun, to the crispy soft shell crab with its soft interior, to the fresh salad and flavoursome, pate sauce just melted in my mouth. Despite not being one of the powerful flavours of the night, all the elements just made it a delightful combo.
Cucumber Salad (Cucumber som tom with snake beans, chilli, peanuts and dried shrimp)
Another one of the flavour powerhouses of the night, the sauce was quite striking and sour, which was thankfully undercut by the nuttiness of the peanuts and freshness of the cucumber and tomatoes. The prawns were cooked tenderly but overall, nothing spectacular in terms of taste.
Crispy Barramundi (Tapioca dusted Barramundi with a green apple and roast cashew salad and nahm jim dressing)
The barramundi was cooked beautifully and the crispy outer shell gave it a lovely contrasting texture. The sweet crunchiness of the apple worked well with the light flavours of the salad, especially with minimalistic cashews. It was just quite difficult to eat altogether, and the barramundi had a slight fishiness to it that wasn’t undercut by the light flavours of the salad.
Duck Salad (Crispy Roast Duck and Palm Heart with Rambutan, Chilli and Herbs)
I really enjoyed the East-Asian sweet and savoury infused flavours of the sauce, even though it was definitely too salty by itself! The duck was cooked perfectly, falling apart in soft strips that complemented the crunchy freshness of the salad. The combination of palm heart, bean sprouts and crispy duck skin was very enjoyable to the palette!
Sticky Pork Belly (Twice cooked pork in a tamarind caramel sauce, topped with a fragrant herb salad)
I think it might’ve been cos we left this to the last to eat, so the pork was a bit cold and the skin wasn’t crispy anymore. The caramel tamarind sauce was nice and sweet but nothing really spectacular. The large section of fat in the pork meant that the sauce didn’t completely penetrate through so it was left a little bit cold and flavourless in the middle.
SHOULD YOU GET FAT HERE?
YES! Very delightful seafood veggie salads with tenderly cooked meat! The portions are a bit small, but the flavours are powerful (in a good way) and complement the rest of the components nicely – except the flavours do get a bit repetitive as you go through the dishes.