The Darlings Supper Club offers a fusion of Asian cuisine but the dishes offered still stay close to it’s roots. The balance and execution of the dishes were generally excellent, complemented perfectly with a dipping sauce or salad. These latter elements were crucial to keeping the dish in check, the perfect balance of acidity, sweet, sour or spicy helped compliment or counteract any richness or strong flavours. A few of the dishes were over salted which was disappointing. While I enjoyed the food and the service, if you’re going to set up shop in Northbridge you’re going toe to toe with all the other Asian restaurants. Darlings Supper Club matched them on flavour, but failed miserably on price. A yum cha restaurant a few blocks away would not charge $10 for 4 prawn dumplings. A typical nasi goreng wouldn’t push $14, half the price of Darlings version, albeit with roast duck, at $28. Darlings is not your typical Asian restaurant, it’s proposition is different but I felt the pricing is on the high side for comparable dishes available close by at other Northbridge restaurants. The total bill was just under $150, just under $100 after the voucher.
I’ve been to many Chinese restaurants but visiting Old Cathay presented dishes that I haven’t eaten before and were very different to that previously experienced. The fried rice was moist and delicious, full of flavour, and I really enjoyed the slightly crunchy chicken coated in a light marmite sauce. A slightly different flavour to what one is used but it’s tasty and really gets you hooked. The patagonian toothfish is a lovely fish served in a subtle garlic and ginger sauce but it lacked oomph. The cut like butter super tender pork belly in that lovely soupy sauce was also delicious, particularly enjoyed with the Chinese buns, mantau. For dessert, I enjoyed fried ice cream, the batter while not crispy, coconut and vanilla ice cream combine for a lovely finish to an excellent meal.
Beer and Skewer serve a variety of skewered meats Chinese style, dim sum, and a range of traditional Chinese dishes. I ordered one cumin chicken skewer ($2.50) which contained tender succulent chicken with a delicious cumin flavour. I also got one beef satay skewer ($2.50) but the beef was a little chewy though the satay sauce was lovely. For mains I chose the beef noodle soup ($12) which was like a big bowl of pho. The beef was like that from a chunk of roast but sliced thinly. It didn’t have much flavour. The broth was quite tasty though and started to soften the beef and the noodles. The noodles were quite chunky and not bad. Very filling dish, a real winter warmer, pretty good. Loved the cumin chicken skewer but you can get better noodle soup dishes (think Mr Bun for example).
If you really can’t be bothered walking 5 minutes to Northbridge and picking any number of yum cha restaurants on Roe St and beyond, then pop into Bambamboo for yum cha instead. The ordering process is convoluted and you need to know what dishes and how much you will order upfront, but apart from that, the food is pretty tasty and comparable to what you would get at a yum cha restaurant. I’d still favour going to a yum cha restaurant for the authentic deal and you can also keep ordering till you’re full, but Bambamboo is a solid alternative. I really loved the pork belly and enjoyed the BBQ pork buns, panfried pork buns with heaps of chilli oil, and the pumpkin sago pudding for dessert. Takeaway also available.
Definitely not your typical Chinese restaurant, Kung Fu Kitchen offers pretty spicy food with several dishes themed on the less loved parts of the animal. I rather liked the tablet displaying the menu which gave me control to view each dish and select what I wanted. I chose the dried been curd stick which was a very moorish cold dish that I lapped up and really enjoyed. I also enjoyed the seaweed salad which were noodles made with seaweed containing a taste of the sea but carried a rather intense flavour which built up over time and can only be enjoyed in small portions. The chilli immersed beef and ox tripe served up tender rich meat with the chilli taking some of the edge off the richness. Another dish which should be had in moderation and shared, it’s very tasty and not that hot. Kung Fu Kitchen introduced me to a different style of Chinese cuisine that I haven’t experienced but was very enjoyable.
On my second visit to Bing Go Street Food at EnEx 100, I had the char siu pork bing which was really tasty with tender, flavoursome pork, stronger flavours via the Chinese sausage, contrasted against the pickled mustard vegetable, and a delicious sauce to tie it all together. The crepe and all ingredients are soft so the presence of the wantons provide a lovely crunch and textual contrast to each mouthful. The wantons also go perfectly in desserts as in the Shanghai Surprise I ordered. Combined with banana and Nutella, a dusting of icing sugar and whipped cream, it is a rather naughty treat to finish off the meal and left me really full, but very satisfied.
I rather enjoyed the crispy wanton dumplings which had enough crunch after my 5 minute walk back to the office and contained a delicious pork filling which combined nicely with the spicy mayo. The tender and subtly flavoured beef brisket was also delicious, with a good quantity provided, and was enjoyed thoroughly with the egg noodles. The noodles were coated in sufficient sauce to keep them moist and made for a satisfying meal with the wanton, choy sum, soft pieces of ginger, and spring onions. A lovely lunchtime meal.
It’s the first time I’ve eaten a bing, which is a traditional Chinese handheld meal dating back centuries. I had a Peking Duck bing which was delicious from the first bite and proved to be deceptively filling, such that I had to pass on dessert. The bing had a lovely crunch from the wanton, contrasting against the tender, succulent Peking Duck which was delicious. Along with cucumber, carrot, lettuce and a delicious plum sauce, this was a really tasty meal and a great cheap eat at just $9.90. I love trying new things and I’m loving it.
This times visit may not have been as spectacular (I knew I should have got the spicy pork hock which is unbelievable) but I really enjoyed some new dishes and some dishes from our last visit. The beef tenderloin was a nice start to the meal presenting tender slices of tasty beef in a delicious sauce. The prawn stir fry in XO sauce was also delicious and so too, the fried rice and crumbed prawns (what a dish!). The spicy boiled fish fillet, though, is far from ordinary and is an intriguing dish with plenty of super soft fish chunks submerged in a dish of once boiling hot oil and swimming with Szechuan chillies and other spices. The fish itself is really tender, slightly spicy and is well cooked. The been sprouts with a touch of the oil and chillies, present an unusual array of flavours in your mouth as your tongue zings, numbs, emerges with a citrus flavour, and then transforms into something else. Szechuan offers some delicious dishes, and then there are a few extraordinary dishes. It’s always great to try new things and Szechuan Zen Chinese Restaurant delivered on that front. The other surprising thing is how generous the dishes are. We had a good feed but after they provided takeaway containers which we filled up with the leftovers, it looked as if we came to pick up a takeaway order rather than having dined at the restaurant. Well worth every cent.
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