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It’s been on my to-eat list for quite some time but I can finally cross off Longrain. The opportunity to try it out arose a few weeks back when it was my turn to pick a restaurant for dinner with TMF. Bookings for dinner are limited and are only offered for dining parties comprising of 6 or more people. We had our fingers and toes crossed that we would be able to secure a table upon arrival. No luck. A wait of 1.5 hours was anticipated and with our eyes on the time, we left our contact details behind and wandered around to kill time. We received a call that a table was available 20 minutes earlier than planned and promptly returned to the restaurant.
The restaurant was much larger than expected and possessed three different seating areas: a bar, two long tables offering a shared dining experience and individual ‘private’ tables. We were seated at the shared table and while TMF wasn’t a fan of this arrangement, I was overjoyed about the comparatively brighter lighting (for photo snapping) and the opportunity to look at the dishes ordered by other patrons.
The interior itself was very much old meets new, modern meets classic. The brick walls, concrete ceiling and pillars were a contrast to the swanky decor and dim lights.
The table setting.
Our feast - we may have gone a little overboard when it came down to ordering. We had assumed that the dishes would be quite small but the large share plates… were very substantial. We should have checked with the waiter.
Chicken and prawns simmered in coconut cream, with rice cakes and cucumber.
First impression: a very aromatic dish. A potent curry-like aroma was immediately detected as soon as the dish arrived at our table. Taste: the flavours reminded me of a curry laksa salad, with a sharp lemongrass and spiciness that gradually kicked in. The rice cake was very crisp. Bland when eaten solo but worked very well with the salad to help counter the at-times-potent flavouring. The cucumber further helped to balance the spiciness.
Salt & pepper silken tofu with fried eschalots and garlic.
The tofu dish possessed all the attributes of good tofu: delicate, silky (akin to egg tofu) and with an exterior that tasted like soggy fries (Ok, so that last feature doesn’t sound so great on paper but it was delicious!).
Eggnet with pork, prawns, peanuts and caramelised coconut, with a cucumber relish.
As soon as I laid my eyes on this dish, the words egg overdose came to mind. Surprisingly, the egg presence was quite minimal and easily overpowered by the bean shoots. The dressing was slightly sweet and vinegary with strong hints of lemongrass and lemon juice.
Salad of seared duck breast with pomelo, chilli, tamarind and roasted rice.
We weren’t the biggest fans of the last dish, although this could have been due to the both of us feeling quite full at this point. The duck was chewy, firm and not as tender as I had expected. Similar to the first dish, this was a sweet salad with the spiciness setting in a few seconds later. The flavouring was quite intense and the dish also possessed a strong mint presence.
Thai Jasmine white rice.
In regards to getting to a comfortable level of fullness, the rice shouldn’t have been ordered. BUT despite it being super filling, it was necessary to help break up the intense flavours from the salads and eggnet dish.
If you’re in search of a place to satisfy your Thai food cravings, then Longrain is the place for you. With the strong Thai presence in most of their dishes (lemongrass and spiciness), you’re bound to walk away completely satisfied.
44 Little Bourke St,
Melbourne, Victoria, 3000.
(03) 9671 3151
Given the stress I had endured in the past few weeks, all leading up to my Ph.D confirmation held on Friday (officially confirmed, with my life signed over to this degree for the next few years), I decided to give myself a little breather over the weekend. Today was spent catching up with J.ma and we decided to try out Dainty Sichuan.
I wasn’t sure what I had expected for the restaurant’s interior decor but it certainly wasn’t this. The interior was very clean and the art works+decorations added a modern and sleek twist to Asian charm.
Now these are my favourite types of menus: vibrant and colourful photographs of every single item. It makes deciding much easier. Or not, if they all look delicious…
There was certainly nothing ‘dainty’ about the dishes on this page. Deadly is more like it…
Most of the menu are given spicy rankings of one to three chilli, with three ranking the hottest. The items on this page were definitely the ones to avoid. Never have I seen so much chilli in one dish before. To such an extent that you may as well be eating raw chilli… I think.
The service at Dainty Sichuan was very efficient and within 10 minutes, our order was served piping hot to our table.
Small steamed bun/ Xiao long bao - filled with pork mince and soup.
Firstly, the eating utensils assigned to each seating was a pair of chopsticks and no spoon. When the dumplings were brought to our table, still no spoon. Before we had realised, the waitress had walked off and we had to flag down another one a few minutes later to make the request. A few seconds later, she brought to us not Asian soup spoons but normal spoons. It makes the eating process more complicated and messier! Secondly, there seemed to be an inconsistency with the amount of soup present in each dumpling. I tried one first and there was hardly any soup in it. I relayed this observation to J.ma, who bit into hers expecting minimal soup and was surprised by the spurting of soup from the dumpling. The taste and texture of the pork filling was pretty much spot on but the dumpling skin itself was thicker, less delicate and more flour-y than normal.
Sichuan homestyle fried pork with mushroom.
The pork was very tender and surprisingly not too spicy. While the flavours were well defined (soy-sort of savoury), I did find it to be a little too salty for my liking. Its saltiness reminded me of a more saltier version of Chinese roast pork belly (as did its texture save for the crackling). I would highly recommend eating this dish with plain rice rather than a fried rice option.
Sichuan stirfried rice.
The fried rice was also quite flavoured and together with the fried pork dish, the combination was a little too potent for the palate. I quite liked the fried rice and would have enjoyed eating it solo without any pork accompaniment. The item description was lacking but I think there were pork pieces throughout the rice and thus resulted in a slight pork overdose.
Such basic dishes with basic ingredients used and yet the flavours were explosive. The Sichuan flavours gave off a very strong aroma and a nice spicy kick that provided a subtle burning sensation after each bite. Our selected dishes were either given a chilli rating of none or one and J.ma thinks we can be more adventurous next time by selecting spicier dishes. In other words, we needed to be more daring!
Both dishes did become more difficult to finish off as we ate our way through the plates and this was most likely due to both dishes being super oily. It became worse as the meal progressed and the oiliness is likely to be the reason why such basic dishes came across tastier than expected. At first anyway. The oiliness was evident in the shiny glean left behind on our plates and the slimy texture on our lips. Even the veggies were too oily to even still be considered healthy options.
It’s a good thing we ordered tea. It definitely helped to counter the oiliness.
The tea could only get us so far and only the xiao long baos were finished. This is the remainder of our meals that ended up in takeaway boxes. The pork looked practically untouched! It’s also worth noting that the serving sizes were very generous.
With the spicy Sichuan touch making an appearance in many of the dishes on their menu, it’s not difficult to see why so many of Melbourne’s population has taken a liking to Dainty Sichuan. The excessive oil use in the dishes needs to be reduced but the fast-paced service, surroundings and cheap prices far outweighs this one negative aspect.
176 Toorak Rd,
South Yarra, Victoria, 3141.
(03) 9078 1686
I met up with K outside the micro building for an after uni-food adventure and we just happen to bump into Dr. P, an ex-biomedder who is now doing med. After a little bit of cajoling from us, he decided to come with us to eat. Original plans to go to HuTong dumplings fell through and so Dr. P suggested Crazy Wing.
Now I had heard some ‘crazy’ things about their chicken and was a little hesitant. But after some cajoling, now from him, I thought why not. It’s an experience. And he’s a doctor-in-training who has eaten here before, it must be okay…
Ominous sign.. Red is for danger…
The interior of the restaurant. Yep, there’s the red colour again, signalling danger. FIRE. Hot hot burning fire…
Yangzhou fried rice.
None of us had any idea what Yangzhou fried rice tasted like but it was essentially normal fried rice. I thought the serving in the bucket was pretty cool.
Check out their dinnerware. TINY. It might not have occurred to them previously but tiny cups of water probably isn’t the best for hot spicy foods…
Behold, the CRAZY wing. K and I weren’t game enough to try. No way, not after the recounts of stomach pains, mouth burns and all sorts of pain we had heard about. Dr. P had tried them before (even had an eating competition…) and was willing to try it again. Crazy. His doctorly advice: be sure not to make contact with any part of your body after your fingers that touch the chicken…
We asked for some napkins and they gave us a whole heap. We ended up using them all.
The less crazy stuff: Honey spicy x 2, pepper, lobster, original taste and bean curd skin with enoki mushroom.
Aside from subtle flavour differences, each skewer tasted essentially identical to the next. Additionally, all the skewers including the original taste one, was spicy. Sure, not to the extent of crazy wing, but still crazy enough for someone who can’t handle too much spice. Copious amounts of water was drank. The bean curd mushroom one wasn’t spicy. Sort of tasted bland with a charcoal burnt taste instead. Don’t know if that’s any better…
Honey BBQ steam bread.
This one caught our eye because it sounded like an interesting combination. It didn’t taste too bad, just like bread with a sweet honey glaze and subtle charcoal BBQ taste. Which was what it was.
I’m pretty sure I can say, without a doubt, I have no interest in coming back again. I went, I saw crazy, I experienced crazy to a smaller extent and I left. Crazy wing, it’s definitely not for the feint-hearted. I wager that even spicy food lovers will be left fanning their tongues. Oh, and Dr. P ended up sick the next day!
177 Russel St,
Melbourne, Victoria, 3000.
It seems as of late, I’m a little slow on the uptake of certain things. Only now has it just occurred to me (after typing the title) why Spice Temple is called such! I like to think that this delay is down to me using much of my brain power during the day in the lab, leaving me with little at night haha! Anyway Friday night’s eating adventure was spent at Neil Perry’s restaurant, Spice Temple, at Crown with fellow ex-bbmedders V and K.
It was difficult to capture the vibe of the restaurant due to the lack of lighting but the interior had a modern oriental feel that was probably more suitable for a bar. Nonetheless, it was a very good looking venue.
Guangxi style roast pork belly with tofu, coriander, peanuts, red onion and sesame seeds.
The tofu in this dish was… interesting - the only thing about it that resembled tofu was the texture. Other than that, it tasted like smoked liquorice. How they managed to get the tofu to taste that way has me scratching my head. The pork (super crispy crackling) and the salad was good though. We thought maybe the taste of the tofu would ‘compliment’ the pork so we tried that… Still not good.
King prawn wontons with aged black vinegar dressing
Not as spicy as I had first anticipated… although the wontons did come across as spicy when I accidentally inhaled whilst swallowing.
Hot, sweet, sour and numbing pork - chilli, sugar, black vinegar and Sichuan peppercorn.
When they use the word ‘numbing’ in the name of the dish, they literally mean numbing! It was a very odd sensation (reminiscent of when the anaesthetic begins to wear off whilst at the dentist). Not very pleasant. The sensation, courtesy of the peppercorn, kicked in approximately 30 seconds after taking a bite and lingered for a few minutes. I eventually reached a point where I dreaded putting the stuff in my mouth and finally conceded, refusing to take another bite.
They also have numbing chicken, duck and wagyu beef.
Three shot chicken - beer, chilli and soy
The waitress brought everything out to the table, added the shots into the pot and heated it up on a gas stove nearby before it was ready to eat. The dish went nicely with rice, just as long as you don’t heap spoonfuls of the soup onto the remainder of your rice.
Caramel chocolate and peanut parfait.
The appearance reminded me of a circularised maxibon and it tasted like an ice-cream version of a snickers bar.
Brown sugar, banana and white chocolate Swiss roll.
Definitely the highlight of the night. Great tasting, not too sweet with a very fragrant banana flavor. It was great that the best had indeed been saved for last. Even more great was the fact that we weren’t over full and could finish it. Mmmm, I would go back JUST for this dessert!
So spice temple, not that spicy after all. We had ordered two of their most spicy dishes, the wontons and numbing pork, and they weren’t deadly spicy at all. Save for the numbing effects, but I would hardly call that spicy! Still thinking about that banana dessert…
8 Whiteman St.
Southbank, Victoria, 3006