It's quite large inside, although the tables and chairs are squeezed in to maximum capacity as usual. We take ages to scan the menu book (there are over 200 variants of dishes) and have to wave away the eager waitress three times before we finally hem and haw our way through our order.
Goi Cuon $7.00
Fresh prawn rolls
Goi cuon summer rolls are disappointingly bland. Methinks that once you are used to making your own, the heavy padding of rice noodles accompanied by lettuce, some prawns, a lone garlic chive and a whisper of mint do little to excite the palate.
Chicken with lemongrass and chilli $11.00
We're looking forward to our lemongrass and chilli squid, so when a plate of chicken arrives we confidently reassure her it's not ours. "No, it's yours" she insists. "You say chicken."
She is insistent so we politely relent, and although it is tasty at first, there's a little too much batter and salt for the palate after a few mouthfuls. Bsides, we're still secretly heartbroken that we missed out on squid.
Fried scampi with lemongrass and chilli $15.00
Fried scampi is an impressive collection of deep-fried crustacean. Feeling cheerily confident, I attempt to crunch down on the shell, but have to abandon most of the head and tail. The seasoning is plenty sweet, salty and lemongrassy, but the scampi lacks the delicate sweetness one would normally expect.
Emu braised in Emperor sauce $14.00
We order the emu because none of us have had it before, but it's a little hard to discern the flavour with the sweet salty sauce that encases everything.
Mixed drink $3.00
Mung bean, jackfruit, palm seed and green jelly
For dessert I have the mixed drink, a tall glass of various Asian sweet beans, fruit and jelly topped with ice shavings, syrup and condensed milk.
Ice cream with condensed milk and peanuts $3.50
R and A have the ice cream which is pleasant enough, but they struggle to taste the promised condensed milk.
Crème caramel with ice $3.00
And finally we share the creme caramel, a dish I couldn't resist ordering upon hearing it came with ice. "Just normal ice?" I check with the waiter, and even when he nods, I am still intrigued.
It all makes sense with the first mouthful though. Smooth silky custard swims in a rich toffee syrup that is tempered by the cool refreshment of shaved ice. It's a brilliant concept, and one that is so simple too. A perfect idea for a dinner party during a balmy summer's eve.
So sure there were some disappointments but we sensed there was potential amongst the 200 dishes on offer. We get the feeling we just ordered all the wrong dishes.
Like chicken instead of squid.
228 Marrickville Road, Marrickville Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9568 5522 or
Tel: +61 (02) 9568 5566
Open Wednesday to Sunday, 12noon-9.00pm
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Recipe - Goi cuon summer rolls
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12/19/2006 10:28:00 p.m.