Location: Perth CBD, Barrack St Jetty
Disclosure: I was a guest of the restaurant and the banquet was complimentary.
Shun Fung on the River is a Chinese restaurant overlooking the Swan River at the Barrack Street jetty in Perth. It’s got a lovely location, next to the Lucky Shag, and a stone’s throw away from the Bell Tower. I was surprised to receive an invitation to Shun Fung from my fellow food blogger, Wen, from WenY Wonders Why. I had met Wen at the Media Launch of the Italian Cooking Master Class by Accento and ICCI. Wen recommended a visit to this place even though years earlier he had visited and vowed never to visit. Reading the reviews from fellow diners to Shun Fung, the food is pretty bad despite having an excellent location and service going for it. Only because Wen gave it the thumbs up, did I visit.
Shun Fung is actually part of a chain of 30 restaurants in China, with the only restaurant in Australia located in Perth which was opened several years ago. While the standards of the restaurants in China are kept to a high level, Perth has been neglected, till the owner discovered what was happening. So after a change in management and a change in chefs, big things are expected. Shun Fung positions itself to the corporate crowd who wish to do business deals over delicious Asian cuisine, but in a polished setting that is devoid of some Asian establishments. It’s location also makes it an excellent choice to celebrate any event big or small and with tourists buzzing about the area, a visit here wouldn’t be a bad choice. So, had the leopard changed it’s stripes?
Well, were we in for a treat. Along with Wen, I was joined by other fellow food bloggers which I also met at the media launch, plus, a new face. We were taken to a VIP room, a large room with a large table with a lazy susan, with open doors behind us that open up on to a balcony overlooking the Swan River. Mind you it was a very cold night so the doors were shut. The interior of the restaurant is very smart and polished, as was the service throughout the night which was attentive. We were to be treated to a mega Chinese banquet, with the owner of the Shun Group, Eva, joining the dining troupe, keeping a close eye on the running of the night’s proceedings.
To begin with, we started off with some appetisers:
- Ruccola Salad – looks pretty tame but with a bit of Asian flavours in the dressing, the salad comes to life.
- Green Chilli in special sauce - The array of chillies were marinaded so they weren’t that hot.
- Spicy Kimchi in Chinese Style – the fermented cabbage was pretty good and despite the description of spicy, it doesn’t pack a punch. Nice flavour though would prefer more bite.
- Marinated Duck Wings – lovely succulent pieces of duck which was tasty, but the dish was served cold. It looks kind of bland and does taste a bit like that but with the dipping sauce, it tastes lovely.
They also serve gluten free options so Martine from ChompChomp didn’t miss out, but we were kind of jealous as her dishes were pretty appetising:
Quite a start and that was only the appetisers. For entrees, we were treated to a wonderful large platter. It looked like a food spectacle! There were certainly a lot of oohs and aahs around the table.
- Backed oysters with Foie Gras Sauce – I’m not really a fan of raw oysters so even though these were raw, the foie gras sauce was something special that turned this little mouthful into a taste delight. Great paring and combination of flavours.
- Chilli and Salt Mini Dried Fish – the little pieces of crispy fish were delicious. I love anything deep fried.
- Golden Radish Balls – eating this I wouldn’t have guessed they were filled with radish. I’m sure there was seafood in the filling and probably was, but I didn’t detect the radish. These were lovely.
Well that was some entree. Next up was a delicious soup – sliced Abalone cooked in superior soup. This was a little spectacle in itself with a round white bowl containing freshly chopped ingredients placed in front of us. The waitstaff then had a copper pot which they then poured this thickish velvety broth over the top. Well the soup was certainly looking very superior and it tasted delicious. Just the kind of thing to warm you up on a cold winters day. That soup had a lovely thickish consistency. Yum.
Finally, for mains, we were treated to many more fine delights:
- Steamed Coral Trout with Ginger, Shallots, and Goji Berries – lovely succulent tender pieces of trout with king oyster mushrooms and goji berries. I haven’t eaten goji berries in any dish at a restaurant before so it was interesting to see how it was utlised. I think it goes really well with a burst of sweetness to cut through the mushroom’s oyster sauce.
- Coral Trout Pan Fried Style – the coral trout is actually very large but they’ve cut it up into manageable pieces. The fish is still on the bone but that’s where all the flavour is. Lovely soft flaky pieces of tender flesh and the crunch of the batter. Yum.
- Diced Wagyu on the Sizzling Stone – the stone is heated to super hot and then the raw Wagyu is added and brought out to us. It probably sat on the stone a little bit too long, as us bloggers, stopped to take photos. The beef was still tender but had toughened a little, but the sauce adds more flavour.
- Honey and Mustard King Prawns – I absolutely loved these. The highlight of the night for me. Really interesting dish, the honey somehow encases a mustard mix which seems a little cheesy in flavour too, and combines to create amazing tastes. The honey is perfectly balanced so that it’s not sickeningly sweet – note The Merrywell’s crispy fried chicken in killer bee honey – and with the well cooked prawns, the flavours are just wonderful. The mustard isn’t strong so it’s not like a dose of wasabi.
- Szechuan Spicy Chicken – I really loved this dish too but not as much as the prawns. As with all the dishes, the presentation is fantastic. The basket holding the chicken surrounded by the green, slightly fried baby spinach, and then the dark red tones of the dried chillies, really had one’s mouth watering. As they say, you eat with your eyes. Dried chillies can be notoriously hot so I was a little apprehensive as I tried one. Not too bad but a few others found it hot. Maybe I’m developing a tolerance for heat. The chicken was tender and contained lovely flavours. The Szechuan pepper wasn’t too intense but well balanced. I also loved the lightly fried baby spinach, kind of in the mould of Shiro’s soft shell crab.
- Braised King Oyster Mushrooms with Shallots – it’s amazing what Asian cuisine does with oyster sauce. What lovely flavours are created that you take for granted the skill gone into making the sauce. The dish seems simple but the tender juicy mushrooms with oyster sauce makes you savour the flavours.
- Sizzling Runner Beans – I’ve seen sizzling fish that somehow just keeps on sizzling from the moment it’s brought out to the kitchen, capturing everyone’s attention, and then served to still keep everyone entertained. I wonder what’s their secret? Well they repeated the dose with bright green blanched runner beans. Added some sizzle to what seems like a forgotten side to all the other wonderful dishes.
- Dim Sum Platter – kind of like going to dim sum on a Sunday afternoon, this tray contained an assortment of Chinese sweets as a pre-cursor to dessert. I had a taste of a couple including a crispy deep fried battered durian. Durian is this fruit that smells like hell but tastes like heaven. Ok, I didn’t think it tastes like heaven but that’s what they say. It’s a lovely tropical fruit and I liked the offering.
The night moved at a comfortable pace but with all the food that was served, the hours had flown by. Fortunately we were at the tail end of the night and we were presented with a choice of desserts:
- Mixed Sweet Beans with Ice Cream
- Deep Fried Ice Cream
- Red Bean Pancake with Ice Cream
I chose the red bean pancake which I love. The batter of the pancake was well cooked. I’ve had versions where it’s a bit raw and floury but this was perfect. Nicely crunchy, containing a smooth red bean filling, and it always must be served with vanilla ice cream for the perfect flavour combination. I loved it.
Shun Fung Food Review Summary
Verdict: If this is the kind of food that is going to be served to diners, I wouldn’t hesitate making a trip here. I appreciated the excellent service, presentation, array of dishes presented, and delicious flavours. I really loved the platter of Backed Oysters with Foie Gras Sauce, Chilli and Salt Mini Dried Fish, Golden Radish Balls; and the abalone superior soup, Szechuan chicken, and steamed coral trout were also favourites. But those Honey and Mustard King Prawns stole the show for me! I really loved the flavours present and is a dish very different to anything I’ve experienced. Of course, I love red bean pancake and the version presented to me was on the money. I really appreciated the invitation by Wen, and to Eva, the owner of Shun Fung Group. At the time of writing, I’m told that they can replicate similar quality food that was served to us beyond the Banquet room, except for the dim sum. The restaurant is still waiting for the appropriate utensils and other implements required to produce those dishes and once they’re there, delicious dim sum will be available to the masses. As the banquet was complimentary, I’m not sure what would typically be served and the pricing of those dishes. Thus, I cannot make a comment on pricing and value.
Shun Fung Restaurant Details
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