Red Lantern on Riley

I knew after eating at Quay, the next meal would be really hard to top but Red Lantern in Surry Hills was very memorable and left me feeling excited for the next sequential dish when I thought I wasn’t that hungry.2015/01/img_9138.jpgA modern Asian feel inside. I loved the big centre table that we sat at.2015/01/img_9139.jpgMuc Rang Muoi lightly battered chilli salted squid with fresh lemon and white pepper dipping sauce ($24.50). I didn’t really bother with the dipping sauce as it was rather sour and I thought it was better without it. A very easy to eat dish, I didn’t think I was that hungry but after a bit of pecking, it was all gone.2015/01/img_9151.jpgCuon Thit Nuong soft rice paper rolls of char grilled honey pork neck and Vietnamese herbs ($30.00 for 5 rolls). These were rather quite small and they were filled with more noodles and less herbs than I’m used to. You could still taste the subtle flavours of the pork despite the noodle to everything else ratio. These are pricey when you usually see them at other restaurants at $2-4 a pop instead of $6.2015/01/img_9150.jpgBanh Xeo crisp rice flour crepe filled with master stock pork belly and tiger prawn, served with fresh herbs and lettuce to wrap ($29.50). I’ve eaten my fair share of Vietnamese pancakes but this by far was one of my favourites! The crepe was exceptionally crispy, the pork and prawns were nice but the herbs made the real impact. Despite constant dipping in the sauce, the crepe stayed crispy and added to the crunch along with the lettuce and bean sprouts. Next time I won’t share!2015/01/img_9155.jpg

2015/01/img_9156.jpgBo Luc Lac O’Connor pasture fed English breed beef, strip loin wok tossed with black pepper, garlic, oyster sauce and sesame ($38.00). Although this seemed like a simple dish, it was made very well that it impressed me a lot. What didn’t impress me was the price tag attached.2015/01/img_9158.jpgCa Ri Chay tofu, eggplant and cherry tomato vegetarian yellow curry ($29.50). Vegetarian curry was definitely not my choice but I fell in love with the amount of depth this sauce had. It definitely made me think about the type of curry I would like to develop when I get through my New Year’s resolutions.2015/01/img_9162.jpgCa Kho New Zealand King Salmon fillet in a caramel, chilli and black pepper sauce with Chinese broccoli and sesame crackers ($39.00). Fish isn’t usually my first pick either but Mumsy loves fish and chose this dish. I really liked it. The sticky sweet caramel soy sauce always goes perfectly with salmon.2015/01/img_9160.jpgChuoi Chien Banana fritters crumbed in coconut and white rice with palm sugar caramel, tapioca sauce and vanilla bean ice cream ($16.00). My sister was the only one who wanted a dessert but she let me have a spoonful. The addition of the coconut with the banana makes me think of a cross between a deep-fried ice cream and a banana split.2015/01/img_9165.jpgWe sat at the spacious big table in the centre of the dining area while the other neighbouring booths looked a little snug and the place can get quite noisy. We had to ask for new bowls when we sat down as two of them were dirty; the staff were friendly throughout the night and were attentive with things like water and taking away plates etc.2015/01/img_9147.jpgThe bill came to around $180ish (after Entertainment book discount) between 5 diners, 3 of which just had a large lunch at Quay. Not the cheapest Asian meal but if you ignore the price tag and order the right dishes, you’ll have a wonderful night. There is a snug fitting bar at the back which would be nice to hang out at while waiting for a table.

Venue: Red Lantern on Crown

Address60 Riley St Darlinghurst, NSW

Phone: 02 9698 4355

Entertainment book: Yes! It is in the Sydney one.

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Global cafe and bar – Flavours of Ethiopia

I just had this for lunch before I caught my 3.5hr bus ride to Sydney, so I thought: before I start snoring and drooling on a strangers arm, I am going to blog about it.

I had come to Global cafe and bar a year or two ago and I’m quite impressed it is still here since they have little advertisement and are in a hard to park location but their competitive lunch specials and unique Ethiopian food must have helped them keep their doors open.

Lunch special~
Three curries with rice or injera (sour pancake) $8.00. Choose between the six choices of curries- beef, chicken, stir fried vegetables, lentils, split peas and pumpkin. I could not make up my mind between three of them so the very nice lady let me try four (that is also what she let me do last time, I’m an indecisive person) and I went half rice half injera, I was trying to taste most of the menu. I really wanted a samosa but none were available. I don’t know if lunch is just the special and dinner is al a carte.
I chose pumpkin, beef, chicken and lentils, despite having similar colours, the sauces and textures were rather different. The beef was the ‘hottest’ curry, it won’t make your eyes water (unless you never eat hot food) but there is enough kick to let you know it’s there. I found the chilli flavour balanced out the injera. The other three might have been more similar with a rich onion based sauce but definitely different textures. A rather quite filling and satisfactory lunch.

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I added a water to this meal and the whole thing only cost $10! Bargain!
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A quick and easy meal if you work in the area or plan to catch a Murrays bus.

I dedicate this post to the small screaming distressed child at the back of the bus who jolted me back to reality after almost falling asleep while writing this post.

Rama’s Fijian Indian restaurant

I haven’t been to Rama’s for years but when my friend request hot and spicy food to celebrate her birthday, I knew exactly where to take her. I don’t think that the true south side has that many great restaurants so I’m glad to have this ‘on our side’.

As we went around the table and ordered our dish with our preference of heat, we were warned that medium was quite hot here and the hot was really really hot. Perfect, that was why we were here and that’s why I had raita and mango lassi at hand.

Mango lassi a cool Indian yoghurt drink, mango flavour ($3.50). A strong mango flavour that was very thick meant that they haven’t watered down the drink to save costs.

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Complimentary pappadums– they came out as an unexpected surprise, they were hot and crispy just like a pappadum should be.

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Bhajia shredded spinach, garlic, onion and ground lentils shaped into patties then deep fried (3 pieces per serve $11, added one extra $3.75). It wasn’t that oily despite being deep fried but it tasted much better with the tamarind sauce and the yoghurt.

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Fijian pork curry cubes of pork cooked with capsicum, onion and coriander leaves in a tangy, spicy sauce (MED spicy $23.00). I really appreciated the rub marinade on the pork, it made the pork very flavoursome and the meat was very tender. This dish was spicy but not overwhelming and we all agreed, very addictive.

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Prawn masala prawns cooked with onion, garlic, tomato and fresh coriander, in a spicy tomato based sauce (MED spicy $23.50). The prawn masala had a really rich tomato onion sauce with a slight hint of chilli. I loved having the sauce mixed with rice, very delicious.

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Garlic paratha wholemeal pan fried bread with garlic ($2.70 each). The wholemeal made this bread heavy and I didn’t recognise it to be paratha (I thought they gave us the wrong bread), it didn’t have much of a garlic taste to it either.

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Prawns saabji prawns cooked with onion, garlic and tomato in a creamy spinach sauce (HOT spicy$23.50). I was quite wary of this dish with fear of it burning a hole in my head. It was hot hot but affected my tongue in different areas to the pork and it really hits the back of your throat and your sinuses. I relayed between the curry and sips of lassi, it was hot but not unbearable.

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Sides~

Dhal thick spiced lentil soup. A great accompaniment for rice ($9.25). The dahl was a happy surprise. I ordered it as a non meaty alternative and a safe haven between bites of other curries. It was a rich and flavoursome dish with the lentils forming a thick soft textured soup.

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Raita grated cucumber in spiced yoghurt. Ideal for cooling the palate ($5.00).

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It was lovely to have a variety of dishes that were all curries, all packed heat yet had such different flavours. I haven’t eaten hot curries for so long, I was quite surprised that towards the end of the meal I found the raita quite sour and the lassi stupidly sweet.

The service was very friendly just as I remembered with the now owner walking around checking with the customers if they were satisfied. We were very satisfied and unfortunately couldn’t fit in dessert.

Venue: Rama’s Fijian Indian restaurant

Address: Shop 6, Pearce Shopping Centre/Macfarland Crescent, Pearce ACT 2607

Phone: (02) 6286 1964

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