Wednesday, April 17, 2013

China Plate at Kingston

Location: Shop 4, 5/11 Kennedy St, Kingston ACT 2604
Phone: (02) 6260 7555
Cuisine: Chinese

Two posts in one night. Looks like the blog drought has ended.

With some entertainment cards in hand and a need to catch up, we headed to China Plate for dinner.

We started with two entrees, mostly because E insisted they were must-haves...

Peking duck pancake
The pancakes were nice but pretty standard. The duck was a little on the dry side, but had a good overall flavour. The pancakes were a little too delicate that mine started to fall apart (although that might be a result of the chef putting together the wraps before the pancakes had time to cool down - they were piping hot). Perhaps I just have higher expectations than most. 

Shanghai dumplings (XLBs)
The XLBs. Well, I resent them being called dumplings for a start, because technically they are buns. If E hadn't been there before, I would have just dismissed that item on the menu as regular dumplings. The wrapper was a little thicker than usual. That said, the filling was tasty, and there was actually some beautiful broth inside. The gingery vinegar sauce was a nice zingy accompaniment. 

But it was the mains that really impressed. Five people, four mains. It's your typical n - 1 rule.

cumin seeds spicy flavoured lamb
The lamb was beautifully cooked, with some crispy edges from the heat of the wok. There was a good hit of cumin, although the spice level a little milder than I'm used to for a Sichuan dish.

honey pepper beef ribs
Who could say no to beef ribs. Cooked on the bone to keep the meat tender, the bite sized pieces of beef rib were smothered in a sweet and peppery sticky sauce that just left you wanting more. 

eggplant with spicy salt
This one was a little controversial. Some enjoyed it, others found it a little insubstantial. I personally found it tasted like deep-fried air. Tasty deep-fried air, but still just air. Chunkier pieces of eggplant might have resolved that issue.

chicken green curry
The green curry was yet another great dish. The curry itself was creamy, with a nice hit of chilli. The chicken had been tenderised prior to cooking which kept it soft and tender, and the vegies were cooked to al dente.

three kinds of mushroom with seasonal vegetables
This was a simple but tasty. Shitaki, enoki and ling-gi mushrooms stir fried with bok choy and covered in a flavoursome gravy.

And lastly, we decided to order one deep fried ice-cream with chocolate topping to share between four.

deep-fried ice-cream with chocolate sauce
I've had this a couple of times in different restaurants, and actually really enjoyed this one. The batter on the outside was thin and crispy with almost a biscuit-like texture. It provided a nice textured contrast to the ice-cream. A nice sweet finish to the meal.

Overall Impression: 9/10
China Plate @ Kingston on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Shorty's Canberra

Location: 29 Garema Place, Canberra City
Cuisine: Pub, Modern Australian, Fusion

Recently opened, Shorty's is a welcome and refreshing addition to the cluster of restaurants in Civic. Unlike its neighbouring cafes with standard menus and the 'same old stuff', Shorty's is a trendy pub with an exciting menu, an extensive drinks list and just a general 'feel-good' vibe about it. 

I've been so impressed I've been twice in 3 days (and I usually don't visit the same restaurant more than once a week if I can help it)!

My first visit was a casual Sunday lunch. The specials board caught my eye and after a quick skim of the menu, I opted for the soft shell crab sanga. I'm pretty sure the menu didn't say it came with chips and aioli, so when the paddle board arrived with a crusty bread roll and a generous pile of crinkle cut chips with aioli, I was already impressed.

soft-shell crab sanga with crinkle cut chips and aioli
The 'sanga' was a brilliant modern take on the traditional Vietnamese banh mi. Instead of a traditional pork filling, the crusty bread roll was filled with deep fried soft-shell crab and avocado replaced the pate. And in line with tradition, the usual suspects of pickled carrots, chilli and coriander were all present. The crab was crispy and well seasoned, the avocado was smooth and creamy and offset both the fried crab and the pickled carrots beautifully. I hope this one gets added to the regular menu, because it's definitely a hit.

There's always something about crinkle cut chips that make them taste better than straight cut chips, and in this case the crinkle cut helped them hold onto 'shorty's seasoning'. I'm not quite sure what went into it, but was amazing.

Dropped in for lunch again today with some colleagues with high expectations since I had talked the place up. Shorty's didn't disappoint and the colleagues were definitely impressed. 

pulled BBQ pork burger with coleslaw & sweet mayonnaise
This time I went for the pulled BBQ pork burger. A bit of a messy eat, but definitely worth the mess. The pork was soft, tender and juicy, and smothered in a sweet and sticky BBQ sauce. The richness of the pork and the sauce was nicely balanced with a fresh crunchy coleslaw and sweet and tangy mayo.

Again, the crinkle cut chips were the perfect accompaniment. And they have James Squire apple cider on tap!

Inside can a little loud so can be difficult for conversations, but if the weather is good, opt for a table on the deck. It's a little quieter, and you can sit back and enjoy the fresh air and whatever you have chosen to entertain your taste buds with.

You don't get all that many great places in Canberra, and Shorty's is definitely a must visit for foodies and non-foodies alike (and I'll definitely be going back).

Overall Impression: 9.5/10
Shorty's on Urbanspoon