Dumplings Plus

Name: Dumplings Plus
Location: 269 Swanston St, Melbourne, VIC 3000
Cost: $15-25 per meal, but dumplings and small eats are under $10
Cost rating: 4/5
Taste rating: 8.5/10
Overall rating: 8.5/10

Another rainy night and late dinner with some friends from my local strategy board games club  (A strategic board game called Go/Weiqi/Baduk, it’s  played on a grid with black and white stones.) We wanted a quick hot meal, and walked into Dumplings Plus hoping they would have a table for 5.

They did.

JASMINE TEA
Taste: 5/10
Would I order it again? Yes.

Stories have a start/ And so do meals. Have some tea./ And then will we start.

We all know what tea looks like. But I like this photo so I thought to share it with you. Hot jasmine tea is just one of those things I have to order at chinese restaurants.

HARGAO (PRAWN DUMPLINGS)
Taste: 10/10
Would I order it again? Yes.

My fav'rite dumpling/ Do you dip them in soy sauce?/ Or eat them as is?

Let me think of something to say. Nope, nothing. They’re really good.
SPRING ONION PANCAKE
Taste: 9/10
Would I order it again? Yes.

No snail shapes here/ 'round and round it unravels/ Alas, not tonight

I liked these spring onion pancakes better than the ones at China Red. The main difference is the texture of the dough. China Red’s spring onion pancake was deep fried snail-shape with a less chewy dough. Dumpling Plus is thin and flat like a biscuit, pan fried and has more chew. As more fun it is to unravel the snail at China Red, I like the crispy crunchiness from panfrying.
SILKEN TOFU AND CENTURY EGG
Taste: 9/10
Would I order it again? Yes.

Lovely in Summer/ Cool respite from muggy days/ Or from spicy food

Simplicity is underestimated. This is just cold silken tofu cut thinly, and a chopped century egg with some seasoned broth for flavour. It’s a cold dish, but the flavours were clean and it was refreshing after all those hot dumplings and wontons in chilli sauce.
Century egg is a pickled egg. Unlike those terrible vinegar-pickled eggs, century eggs don’t have a strong taste. It doesn’t even taste of egg anymore. It’s just a cola-coloured egg with forest green oozy goo where the yolk was. The colour puts people off, but it is very mild and the texture is delightful. It’s like aspic with just-congealed yolk inside.

PICKLED JELLYFISH IN CHILLI SAUCE
Taste: 8/10
Would I order it again? Yes.

'They are cold noodles'/ Leaps into the taste abyss/ '...made of jellyfish'

Yes, jellyfish can be pickled and eaten. They don’t really have a taste of their own, so it is eaten mostly for its texture and ability to soak up the flavour of the dressing. It’s crunchy like any other pickled vegetable. (But jellyfish aren’t vegetables.) Sometimes you’ll see pickled jellyfish on the side with roast suckling pig. But not with chilli sauce. The sauce is a spicy and sweet, but in no way crippling spicy. (It rates about a 5/10 on my scale.)

Sometimes I like to say they’re like noodles, just to get people to try it. Then tell them they’re made of jellyfish. I am a terrible person.

PORK AND PRAWN DUMPLINGS IN CHILLI BROTH
Taste: 9/10
Would I order it again? Yes.

They are so tasty/ Why are dumplings so tasty?/ Another bowl, please.

Instead of a chilli broth, it is boiled dumplings with a thick chilli sauce on the bottom. These were so good we had to order several bowls, and one more for the person who didn’t like spicy food but still kept coming back for more.
PORK POTSTICKERS
Taste: 7/10
Would I order it again? Yes.

Potstickers are great/ Piping hot: don't burn your mouth/ Crunchy crispy base

Eh, they’re okay. I’d order them again because they’re potstickers, and everybody loves potstickers. It gives variety from wontons and dumplings in soup, and dumplings in chilli paste! They’re average for potstickers. The filling is pork mince, ginger, garlic and spring onions, which rarely goes wrong. The panfrying could have been better (some are barely golden, others are dark brown) but when there are a lot of dumplings to be panfried at a cheapish-eats restaurant, I can forgive them for the neglect of small details.
PORK AND PRAWN WONTONS IN SOUP
Taste: 7.5/10
Would I order it again? Yes.

As light as a cloud/ If only clouds were tasty/ Hm, hailing wontons?

Wontons in chilli paste with soup. The wonton skins are soft and the wontons are juicy. It is much the same as the dumplings with chilli broth but with wontons and more broth.
RED BEAN PANCAKES
Taste: 8/10
Would I order it again?

Crispy and chewy/ It's odd, but enjoyable/ For your sweet tooth friend

Yes.I hadn’t seen anything like this before, so the novelty was great. It is red bean paste (seems to be from a can) inside a glutinous rice pancake, then panfried. The end result is a crispy but meltingly chewy pancake with sweet bean paste inside. They’re moreish.

I’d come back and order everything listed above. Yes, it’s noisy and not the cleanest restaurant I’ve been to, but the food is cheap and tasty, comes out fairly quickly, and hosts a fantastic har gao and silken tofu/century egg dish.
_Dumplings Plus on Urbanspoon

Instameal: Mian Ba Green Prawn ramen

Name: Mian Ba instant noodle green prawn flavour
Cost: $0.70
Contents: Wad of noodles, 1 soup base sachet, 1 dehydrated vegetable sachet, 1 garlic paste in oil sachet
Spiciness: 0/10
Taste: Noodles 6/10, Broth: 6/10
Would I buy it again? Yes

What's that character?/Search Chinese dictionary/ Huh, it means... tyrant?

 Classification of ramen packets according to brand is difficult when I can’t read the characters. I could file this series of instant ramen under “Lots of strokes in second character” but what if another Chinese brand has lots of strokes in the second character? Luckily nowadays the blogotubes is full of useful things like kanji dictionaries. The first character was simple enough, ‘mian’ means ‘noodles’. The second one wasn’t as simple, ‘ba’ meant tyrant or doing things through violent methods. Perhaps it’s not as violent as I think it is.

Of course, noodle wad/ Not enough space to show all/ All THREE flavour packs

Dried vegetables/ Always a soup case packet/ Plus garlic oil

What is a green prawn*?/ Hm, it doesn't taste too bad/ Whatever it is

I had been putting this off for so long because it didn’t look like something I’d like. But it turned out to be pretty tasty.

It looks insipid but the broth is actually interesting and I ended up drinking most of it because I couldn’t quite find the words to describe it. It’s sort of creamy, vegetable-y with parsley and dried coriander flavours. Then it tastes like what carrots smell like. I wouldn’t even call it a prawn-flavoured instant noodle because it doesn’t have that MSG prawn cracker taste. It’s seafood-sweet much like clams in broth. Maybe that’s what they meant by prawn-flavoured?
Normally I try to avoid the oil sachets, but I added it into this one because it seemed to important for the overall experience. The broth isn’t greasy, and doesn’t have a film of oil on top. How ’bout that.

*: ‘Green prawn’ might not be an accurate translation. ‘Green’ was made up of two characters, one meaning jade, and the other one …. also meaning jade/green/a type of green bird. Then ‘fresh’, then ‘prawn’. Green Green Fresh Prawn. Maybe the greens refer to the aromatic vegetable flavours.

Perhaps I will review the rest of this instant noodle brand, there are many more flavours. (More beef flavours than I thought was reasonable.)

Laksa King

Name: Laksa King
Location: 6-12 Pin Oak Crescent
Cost: $10-15 main
Cost rating: 4/5
Taste rating: 9/10
Overall rating: 9/10

Laksa King is hyped to be the best laksa place in Melbourne, so my lunch buddy and I checked it out one grey Melbourne day. We arrived a bit after 3pm, hoping that the quiet lull that restaurants go through at 3pm would provide the space to take photographs least intrusively. It was spendidly quiet. So quiet it was actually closed. Laksa King has a break from 3pm to 5pm, remember that one kids.
(No, we didn’t spend 2 hours staring mournfully through the glass window/wall. Maybe 15 minutes before deciding whether to wait or go somewhere else.)
When it was finally opened, the staff were very friendly. I asked if I could take photos around the place, from the tables, to wall fixtures and food and they were very happy to let me do so, and even jokingly asked to have a their better half photographed.

Photos of mundane/ Chairs waiting for occupants/ Soon there'll be patrons

Artsy warehouse lights/ Light globes dangle from ceiling/ Quite mesmerising

SEAFOOD LAKSA
Taste: 9.5/10
Would I order it again? Yes

An iceberg laksa/ Most of the stuff underneath/ Happier ending

It has pieces of squid, fishcake slices, prawns, eggplant, scallops and two green-lipped mussels. See pictures for all the description you need. I’m impressed with the seafood selection. Seafood laksa was had by my lunch buddy, a notorious prawn fiend but refuses to eat mussels. So I get to eat the mussels. The mussel was tender, sweet and umami. Huzzah for getting mussels right!
My only qualm is that the eggplant texture wasn’t quite right, it was … ‘squeaky’ and a bit watery. Same for the fish okra laksa.

FISH OKRA LAKSA
Taste: 8.5/10
Would I order it again? Yes.

Creamy fish laksa/ To prevent overpowering/ Mild broth for fish

It has eggplant, battered and fried pieces of rockling (a sweet delicate white-fleshed) fish, and pieces of okra. It doesn’t sound like a lot compared to the seafood laksa but there is a LOT of fish in this laksa. Not the 3-4 sizable pieces of fish you’d expect in a noodle soup, but rather a number over 6 because I lost count after finding yet another piece of fish. The surprises just keep on coming. I do wish they were as generous with the okra as they were with fish.
I was going to place ‘No’ as a answer to ‘Would I order it again?’ but decided against it because it might misled you to think this wasn’t a tasty laksa. It’s a delicious meal packed with glorious fish goujons, the soup is creamy without being too rich, okra is crunchy and slimy in a way okra should be….. but what’s wrong with it?
It has no Hokkien noodles.
“But fish okra laksa isn’t meant to have Hokkien noodles!”
I hear you loud and clear. I now know fish okra laksa isn’t meant to have Hokkien noodles. But I love Hokkien noodles (those thick round yellow noodles in packets usually found in the refridgerated section). Out of the entire menu, all of which sounded appealing to me, I chose the only one without Hokkien noodles. (First world problems. Take that.)

AIS KACANG
Taste: 10/10
Would I order it again? Yes.

Tower of shaved ice/ Over base of sweet goodies/ Peanuts essential


Melts into syrup/ Medley of colourful things/Fish out sweet goodies

After polishing off a bowl of laksa, the staff came over and asked if we liked their laksa (we did, very much so), and kindly indulged me by answering my questions about Hokkien noodles and fish okra laksa. (No Hokkien noodles in fish laksa. Only rice vermicelli noodles. Got it.) While we’re still drinking tea and digesting, another waitstaff comes by and asks if we’d like our ais kacang to be sweet. My lunch buddy is familiar with ais kacang (and being a sweet tooth), replies ‘Yes!’. Contrasted with myself who had little idea what an Ice Kachang was (and thought sweetening was optional), replied ‘No?’.

“Ais kacang must be sweet. Cannot have not sweet lah,” the man chuckles and disappears, shortly returning with a giant bowl of ais kacang.
….. Why did he even ask if it wasn’t an option to begin with? I am baffled, bewildered and bemused at this strange man.

In any case, ais kacang contains shaved ice, crushed roasted peanuts, pink syrup (from the jelly?), cubes of raspberry jelly, bits of grass jelly, cendol (green jelly noodles), palm seed, sweetened whole red beans, canned longan fruits and a thin palm sugar syrup. It was actually very tasty, and we got through the entire bowl with no trouble.

Laksa King on Urbanspoon

Instameal: Nongshim Doongji Korean Cold Noodle with Chilli Sauce

Name: NongShim Doongji Authentic Korean Cold Noodle with Chilli Sauce
Cost: $1.20
Contents: Wad of arrowroot noodles, 1 sachet of dehydrated fish and seaweed, 1 packet of chilli sauce
Spiciness: 6/10
Taste: Noodles 5/10, Sauce 3/10
Would I buy it again? No.

Nice advertising/ Looks nothing like true product/ See real deal below

It’s a large packet with a plastic tray inside. These sorts of instant noodle (with plastic trays inside) tend to be more expensive, but take more care with their sachets and noodles.

Love the packaging/ However, contents average/ Packaging bumped price

Arrowroot noodles are darker and chewier than buckwheat noodles. It is similar to konnyaku jelly noodles, but much thinner. Seasoning sauce is a hot sauce to be poured over the cooked and washed noodles. Seasoning flakes go into the boiling water with the noodles, a close-up of the flakes can be seen below.

Worst seasoning flakes/ It smells and tastes like fish food/ Just don't it, kids

The things that look like croutons feel like foam packaging peanuts, smell like MSG and taste of bad prawn flavouring.

Question: What was worse?/ Chewy noodles or hot sauce?/ Ack, tough choice. Hot sauce.

You’ll want to boil these noodles in a larger volume of water than you would for other noodles, then rinse them out very thoroughly. Otherwise they are very gluggy. The chilli sauce is a foreboding red (much more red than the picture suggests. The lighting was blue at the time.), but it isn’t as spicy as it looks. It is spicy, but it’s the usual Korean sweet-spicy so I can tolerate it more easily than if it wasn’t sweet.

Maybe I have a thing against cold sauce noodles, I just didn’t think it was delicious. I washed those noodles out repeatedly, but the noodles were gluggy anyway from being drowned in sauce. The sauce got boring after a few mouthfuls, though the sesame seeds make it bearable. The noodles are meant to be chewy, and they are, but I didn’t find it a pleasant summer experience. It was made worse by those dehydrted foam pellets. The texture seems to suggest it’s meant to be fish, but taste like vietnamese prawn cracker chips, and feel like chewing a sponge.
Overall, the dehydrated packet is terrible. The noodles and sauce could be nice if you like this sort of thing. Just don’t overdo the sauce. (I just dislike cold saucy noodles.) But I would strongly suggest for you to use the non-instant packets of arrowroot noodles (which take the same time to cook.) Get a separate chilli sauce too. Add some cucumber, and you have yourself cold noodles with chilli sauce. The instant packet is meant to imitate this dish, but it’s a terrible imitation.

Gold Leaf 02

Location: Level 1 Star Circus Harbour Town, Docklands, 3008
Cost: Last time it was $129 with 3 people, and this time it was $89 for 4 people. A la carte works like that.
Cost rating: 3/5, expensive side of yumcha, but the best yumcha in the city.
Taste rating: 9/10
Overall rating: 9/10

I’m back at Gold Leaf, and will be reviewing a la carte yumcha goodies that have been not appeared in the last post. The first post has more items in it, so I suggest you have a gander at the first post.

FRIED PRAWN PARCEL
Score: ? (Eaten too quickly by my prawn-fiend lunch buddy.)
Would I order it again? Yes.

Fried wonton wrapper/ Looks especially golden/ Much like gold tael?

The prawn mince inside looks juicy, and the fried parcel is well-drained too.

PRAWN DUMPLING WITH ROE
Score: 10/10
Would I order it again? Yes.

A bun-shaped dumpling/ Masquerading as siumai/ But still delicious

Personally, I don’t think roe is necessary, but it does make a pretty orange spot.

CONGEE
Score: 6/10
Would I order it again? No.

pre-ground up rice grains/ boils down to be too smooth/makes terrible congee

Gold Leaf congee was a disappointment. The rice is ground up to shorten cooking time, but this sacrifices texture. Congee is a soupy rice porridge, a comfort food equivalent to chicken noodle soup. It’s usually eaten for breakfast, or as a meal when you’re ill.

FRESH TOFU DESSERT WITH GINGER SYRUP/ DOU FU FA (lit. tofu flower)
Score: 8/10
Would I order it again? No.

Eating curds and whey/ you are not lil' miss muffet/ get back to tofu

The tofu is the tofu dessert is different from the firm blocks of tofu. Dessert tofu is much softer and lacks structural rigidity. In a way, it is similar to silken tofu but less homogenous. Unless silken tofu, tofu dessert will separate into whey and tofu (bean curd) over time. (Or if you stir it and break up the slices of tofu into smaller pieces.)
The tofu dessert at Gold Leaf doesn’t have that soy bean flavour and doesn’t have that silky smooth texture that’s prized in tofu dessert. It’s grainy and sticky (two words I never thought I’d use to describe tofu), but only slightly.

PORK DUMPLING
Score: 10/10
Would I order it again? Yes.

Siumai alternate/ Not easier to pick up/ But tastes much the same

Pork dumplings should be pork and very little else. The pork filling is juicy, and crunchy? The texture is crisp, which just means the pork mince hasn’t been overminced into a textureless paste.

TARO CAKE/WU TAO GAO
Score: 6/10
Would I order it again? No.

Needs less rice filler/ and more of everything else/ miser's replica

This was even more disappointing than the congee. Taro cake is similar to radish cake. (replace grated white daikon radish with cubes of taro.) It’s panfried well, so it has golden edges and it slightly crunchy on the outside. But the taro cake itself is a let down. There needs to be more taro, and cured meats and more of everything that isn’t filler paste. The filler (rice flour) is important because it holds everything together and absorbs the umami flavours of the cured meats.

SHARK FIN PORK DUMPLING
Score: ?
Would I order it again? ?

Did you say shark fin?/ Hm, where is the attraction?/ It's just cartilige

This disappeared in a snap. Apparently it needs more shark fin. (Don’t they always?)

 

TARO PUFF
Score: 10/10
Would I order it again? Yes.

A taro croquette/ Delicate batter netting/ savoury insides

Here’s a more appetising picture of taro puffs. (The first Gold leaf post’s taro puffs were slightly blurry) Taro is a tuber, much like the potato or sweet potato. It is very starchy and is often complemented with star anise. I don’t know how they make the crispy batter netting around the taro puff but it is a delight to look at, as well as eat.

My favourite items this round were the egg tarts and original prawn dumpling (not in the post, but appears in the first post). I was disappointed with their radish cake, congee and tofu dessert.

Gold Leaf on Urbanspoon

Red Spice Road 03

Name: Red Spice Road
Location: 27 McKillop St, Melbourne CBD.
Price: $4.50-19 appetisers, $25-35 meal, $14 dessert
Cost/Pennypinching: 3/5
Taste: 10/10
Overall rating: 9/10
Would I come here again? Yes, for special occasions.

Just a few items this time! We ordered a la carte.

Pork Belly with Chill, Apple Slaw & Black Vinegar ($34.00)
Taste: 9/10
Would I order it again? Yes.

Have we had enough of the pork belly? This has appeared in Red Spice Road (01), and made an encore in Red Spice road 02. Go look at the previous posts for more pictures.

Duck Stir-Fried with Rice Noodles, Kalian, Herbs & Soy ($32.00)
Taste: 9/10
Would I order it again? Yes.

Order meals to share/ Could I finish this solo?/ Given some time, yes

Rather, it’s rice noodles, kailan (chinese broccoli), herbs and soy stir-fried with duck.I wish there was more in the bowl, especially when a serve of this dish needs to be considerably larger than say, a curry or pork belly. I can’t remember much about this dish, but the picture looks good. Tasty rice noodles and duck.

Jungle Curry of Minced Rabbit, Roasted Carrots, Betel Leaf & Cauliflower ($32.00)
Taste: 10/10
Would I order it again? Yes

"Be wery wery/ quiet, I'm hunting wabbits."/ For jungle curry?

I enjoyed this a lot. Jungle curry is a Thai curry which doesn’t have coconut milk in it (no coconuts in the jungle), a blessing for those who are watching their saturated fat intake or those who find regular Thai/Malaysian curries too rich from the coconut milk.Continuing on the theme of decreased saturated fat intake, rabbit is also a very lean meat.
Jungle curry shares a fair number of ingredients to green curry (another favourite), namely kaffir lime, lemongrass, galangal and garlic. Without the green ingredients (thai basil, green chillies, kaffir lime and leaves etc), it’s not green but bright red. Red chillies might have something to do with that. So do the roasted carrots. It doesn’t win any points for spectacular presentation, but it’s so good with rice. It’s slightly spicy from the chillies, sweet from the vegetables, and sharp from galangal and betel leaves. It’s easy on the stomach and palate without being boring.
Salt & Pepper Fried Tofu with Broccolini, Oyster Mushrooms & Spicy Peanut Sauce ($28.00)
Taste: 10/10
Would I order it again? Yes.

Umami mushrooms/ Tofu needs umami hit/ Always pair with shrooms

What you see is what you get. It’s simple, but still a winner. It’s vegan to boot. But would I pay $28 for this dish, probably not.

Red Spice Road on Urbanspoon

Red Spice Road 02

Name: Red Spice Road
Location: 27 McKillop St, Melbourne CBD.
Price: The dinner banquet #2 is $65 per person.
Cost: 3/5 (it is a lot of money)
Taste: 10/10
Overall rating: 9/10
Would I come here again? Yes, for special occasions.

I’m back at Red Spice Road, thanks to the lovely SdV. My qualm with RSR is the lighting. (But most people wouldn’t mind the lighting.) It’s dim at night, and lit by red lampshades, which is quite savvy with its audience — younger adults. It’s terrible lighting for food photography. Without flash it’s way too dark to takes pictures without a tripod, and the problem with flash is the nasty glare. One way to bypass the glare problem is to use a diffuser (or a piece of white card to bounce the light onto your food so the glare doesn’t happen. Or to use your handy dandy torch/phone as an alternate light source.

Banquet #2 consists of 3 appetisers, 4 mains (served with long grain white rice) and 1 dessert.
BETEL LEAF TOPPED WITH SMOKED CHICKEN, LEMONGRASS, CORIANDER & KAFFIR LIME ($5.50 each)
Taste: 8/10
Would I order it again? Yes

Delicious betel/ Wait, what? The chicken was smoked?/I had no idea

(Betel leaf appetiser picture courtesy to MT.)

This time the betel leaves were more mature, so they weren’t as tender as the ones in Red Spice Road (RSR) 01. I wouldn’t have thought the chicken was smoked until I went back to RSR website and checked their menu. (The names are long, and sometimes there are surprising ingredients that I had missed.) But to make up for the lack of smokiness, there is clearly kaffir lime leaf in the chicken.

GRILLED SCALLOP WITH STICKY DUCK RELISH & CUCUMBER (not on a la carte menu)
Taste: 10/10
Would I order it again? Yes, if it was on a la carte

Toot, under the sea/ That's where I'd like to be, toot/ Collect all scallops

I liked this a lot, as the 10/10 score might have indicated. Usually I dislike fresh scallops (I do like dried scallop, also known as conpoy.) because they’re always a tad overcooked when I order them. Seeing as this is a cheap-eats blog (most of the time), this is hardly surprising. I’ll still eat them if they aren’t chewy.
But chewiness and doneness of scallops is not an issue at RSR. The scallops are juuust done, complete with browning on the toop and bottom for that toasty sweetness to complement the natural sweetness of fresh seafood. Scallop, duck and cucumber is an unusual combination, but it works. The duck wasn’t overwhelmingly duck, there was minimal game flavour and little fat or the darker duck meat so that may have toned down the duck flavour. Cucumber has commonly been used to ‘sweeten’ meats in asian cooking, and has the additional benefit of being a ‘cooling’ food (according to eastern hot-cold food-medicine philosophy) to balance out the ‘heatiness’ of duck.
The little bit of rice underneath of scalllop helps keep the scallop upright, but I wouldn’t have minded if the rice was not there.

TWICE COOKED LAMB RIBS WITH CHILLI JAM ($16)
Taste: 10/10
Would I order it again? Yes

Neatly trimmed lamb rib/ The ultimate finger food/ Don't forget the jam

Lamb ribs, or ribs of any animal, are delicious. The lamb rib seemed to have been braised with aromatic spices (star anise and some other things), then breaded and deep-fried. I would have been happy even with the frying. Frying seems to be one of three themes at RSR, the other two being curry and herby salad. The chilli jam is chilli paste without seeds. The ‘jam’ is on the bottom of the bowl, so people (myself included) might not notice the chilli under the dim lighting and go without chilli jam.
Even without the jam, twice cooked lamb rib is fantastic.

CHICKEN, ASIAN CELERY, GREEN TOMATO, CORIANDER, GREEN CHILLI & LIME SALAD (not on a la carte)
Taste: 7/10
Would I order it again? Only comes with banquets.

Refreshing green dish?/ Only compared to curries/ Nooo, disappointment. =(

The colours look good (lots of different green things), but the taste is rather insipid. It didn’t have to be, because all of the ingredients have a distinctive taste. Asian celery is different from the usual fleshy celery, as it isn’t fleshy at all. It has a thin stalk perhaps half a centimeter in diameter, and tastes like a stronger version of the yellow inner stalks of celery but more pungent. I haven’t met a green tomato I did like, they’ve all been watery-tasting. But an upside to this is that it’s flavour neutral among dishes that have a strong flavour, it serves as a palate freshener. But it’d be more refreshing as a vegetarian dish.
But if I was ordering a la carte, I wouldn’t order this because there are plenty of other dishes that are better. Luckily it’s not on the a la carte menu.

PORK BELLY WITH APPLE SLAW, CHILLI CARAMEL & BLACK VINEGAR ($34)
Taste: 9.5/10
Would I order it again? Yes.

Sticky pork belly/ Sigh, so juicy and tender/ Occasional treat

I’d order it again because pork belly is done so well here, and it is a tasty treat every now and then. The pork belly is very sweet, but it does have apple slaw and vinegar to counteract the sugar. It is still too sweet for my liking, but this is RSR’s signature dish for a good reason — it’s delicious. The pork belly is braised til it’s tender and the fat is gelatin-like, then deep fried for extra crunch. It’s not greasy in the way underfried things are, and fried pork belly arrives on your table still crunchy.
BARRAMUNDI GREEN CURRY WITH EGGPLANT & SNAKE BEANS (not on a la carte)
Taste: 10/10
Would I order it again? Yes, if it was on the menu. It’s a great stand-alone, so I don’t know it’s not on the main menu.

For warm humid days/ Barramundi green curry/ Summer ain't so bad

Hello green curry and barramundi fish. Two of my favourite foods in one dish.
Barramundi is also known as Asian seabass, and less commonly known as giant perch, giant seaperch, Australian seabass. (courtesy of wikipedia) It has white, soft, flaky flesh with a considerable amount of fat. Not fat in the way salmon is fatty, the barramundi fish’s fat is more evenly distributed and so the flesh is softer. It also seems to have less connective tissue than salmon. Overall, it’s a great eating fish. It can sometimes be muddy tasting, but that’s an issue with its farming.

Green curry mostly has green chillies, corriander, kaffir lime leaves, galangal and other herbaceous-yet-warmly spicy flavours. Despite what connotations the colour green might carry for you, green curry isn’t less spicy than red curry. But it is sweeter and has more kick at the back of the throat. It goes well with fish, but vegetarian green curry is also a satisfying meal in itself. (You have to have eggplant!) Snake beans are okay too, they’re firmer and have more crunch than string beans but don’t evoke the same sense of Spring as string beans do.

There’s plenty of flavour in this curry. Some restaurant use herbs frugally or rely on premade pastes, which is fine as long as the end product is tasty. But sometimes I want the real deal, and here it is.
SLOW COOKED BEEF CHEEKS WITH MUSHROOMS & HOT ‘N SOUR SALAD (not on a la carte)
Taste: 10/10
Would I order it again? Yes, if it was on main menu. But there is another beef cheek main, as a massaman curry.

Doesn't look like much/ But it holds up to 'spoon test'*/* I made that up now

Crush stuff with your spoon/ See photo for description/ Light pressure only

My, oh my. Slow cooked beef cheeks. Everybody loves slow cooked food. Beef cheeks are something different. The cheek is an underused piece of meat, slightly chewy, lots of flavour and has collagen laced throughout, making it the more delicate version of stewing beef. The beef is so tender you can mash it with the back of a spoon, see second beef cheek picture for a demonstration.
I couldn’t tell you anything about the hot ‘n sour salad that the picture above couldn’t tell you. All of my attention was at barramundi green curry and beef cheeks. If I had to pick only two mains, I’d choose the green curry and beef cheek. If I could only choose one, I may possibly spontaneously combust.

Lastly, dessert.

PASSIONFRUIT CREAM WITH PEANUT PRALINE, PUFFED WILD RICE & COCONUT ICE CREAM ($14)
Taste:10/10
Would I order it again? Yes.

Miniature dessert/ This is all you really need/ Only a taster

At this point of dinner, everybody was bursting-at-the-seams full. But I have another space allocated for dessert. Don’t ask me where it comes from.
The passionfruit and peanut praline (sprinkled on top on the passionfruit cream) becomes a crunchy, tangy cream (yellow), the puffed wild rice is sprinkled on top, and the coconut ice cream (white) crenelle sits on top.The passionfruit cream is a cross between fruit gel and cream, as the cream does not dilute the passionfruit. It’s zingy and full of passionfruit flavour. To balance the tartness of passionfruit is the texture of cream, and the coconut ice cream. The consistency of puffed rice makes things crunchy. To me, puffed rice doesn’t quite give enough crunch by itself but there’s still the peanut praline. I’m amused by the novel puffed wild rice. I wonder how they do that.
The serving size may seem small, but by the end of the meal, you wouldn’t want to anything larger than that.

In addition to that:
PEACH ON THE BEACH (42 Below vodka and peach liquer layered with poached peaches, pineapple and cranberry juice) ($30)
Taste: 7/10
Would I order it again? No.

Peach on the Beach jug/ Fruity girly cocktail/ Best consumed with friends

Wait, what? They were poached peaches? I thought they were from a can. But I like canned peaches, so I can forgive them.
Peach on the Beach doesn’t taste particularly alcoholic or mind-blowingly delicious, and I suspect there isn’t much alcohol in it. (I also have two subjects with decreased alcohol dehydrogenase function who can attest to this by their lack of ruddiness — simply put, my lovely girlfriends were not red in the face as they would have been with any other glass of alcoholic beverage.) It tastes of peachy fruit punch, while delicious, not particularly exciting or refreshing. Nonetheless, it’s a pretty (in pink) fruity girly drink.

That concludes my review of dinner banquet #2 at Red Spice Road.
Red Spice Road on Urbanspoon

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