Location: Northbridge, William Street
Disclosure: Meal was complimentary
I have a more recent food review of Szechwan Zen Chinese Restaurant.
I’m pretty fortunate to receive the odd invite every now and again and I received one from the owner of Szechwan zen Chinese Restaurant. There’s so many restaurants in Northbridge and this is another hidden away in a kind of shopping center area. It’s quite a large restaurant with wide open spaces and friendly staff. The menu features several dishes I didn’t recognise from your typical Chinese restaurant, but this isn’t your typical Chinese restaurant. They feature lots of dishes with fresh seafood so these dishes command the going market price. Several other dishes carry a slightly higher price tag in the $20 – $30 range but this is reasonable, maybe a little expensive for an Asian restaurant. But like Hong Kong BBQ House, they don’t do the standard dishes so there’s a different culinary experience to be enjoyed here. After a look through the menu (noting the chillies designating spiciness that is Szechwan cuisine) we settled on the following:
Golden Fried Garlic Spare Ribs (Entree) – $11.80
The plate is graced with large spare ribs containing a fair quantity of meat, crispy on the outside with a touch of extra salt to bring out the flavour and a crumb of some sort to add a little crunch, I really liked these spare ribs which are very different to anything I’ve eaten before. This dish is also available in a mains serve.
Crumbed Prawn $24.80
These were simply divine. Nice and soft tender prawns coated in a light tempura like batter, gently deep fried to create a crispy coating but not super crispy, a blob of mayo to add a creamy sweet moistness and topped off with crunchy noodles. As it’s a bit sweet from the mayo, cubed apple and orange segments are placed in a bowl in the center of the dish to add a contrast. What a delicious meal.
Crispy and Spicy Pork Hock $25.80
After eating a good fill of Chinese food over the years one gets familiar to the type of dishes out there and the flavours. It’s hard to be surprised but then you come across a gem like this dish which blew me away. This is the most delicious dish I’ve eaten in a long time, a dish that really wows. Succulent tender pork just falls off the bone and melts in your mouth. The crispy skin adds crunch and a burst of salt while the spiciness also comes through. The flavours in this dish are amazing and I thoroughly relished this dish. Apparently it’s very popular and it’s not hard to see why. A must try on a fist time visit or any visit for that matter!
Got to have some fried rice and the version here is excellent. Nice loose grains, plenty of flavour, an excellent accompaniment to the other dishes.
Steamed and Deep Fried Mini Buns (6 pieces) $6.80
Here’s another dish out of the ordinary. I’ve eaten these buns, manitou, I believe they’re called, but not in this manner. There were the steamed version which you could dip into a thickish sweetish custard which went down really well. But then you move on to the deep fried version and it’s even better. What is it about deep frying which makes things taste so much better? Just think tofu deep fried – instant transformation! A delicious end to an excellent meal. I have to come again and try some other dishes.
Szechwan Zen Food Review Summary
Verdict: With so many restaurants in Northbridge, it’s easy to miss this one which is slightly secluded in a enclave of shops and other restaurants, set back from William Street. Stepping in you will be greeted by the friendly staff and sit down to a table in an interior with plenty of open space. The Chinese food is Szechuan which means dishes are spicy – carrying chilli. While the menu does offer some of the usual dishes gracing the typical Chinese menu, there’s plenty of other dishes I haven’t seen before. I really loved the entree of golden fried garlic spare ribs which contained a fair amount of tender meat full of flavour. The crumbed prawns were fantastic, lots of prawns in a lightly coated crumb, a blob of mayo and crispy noodles to contrast against the soft prawn flesh. This was further topped by the highlight, a massive highlight, the crispy and spicy pork hock. This is a dish to rave about. It’s absolutely brilliant and once you sink your teeth into the fall off the bone flesh, the crispy, crunchy, salty, spicy skin, you will be blown away. A must order dish, it’s enjoyed with a delicious serving of fried rice. For dessert, the steamed and deep fried mini buns can be enjoyed with many, dipping them into the sweet custard. A different dessert than one expects but a delicious finish to a flavour packed meal. I’m impressed and look forward to trying some other dishes.
Recommendation: Highly Recommend
Szechwan Zen Chinese Restaurant Details
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