Monday, October 5, 2009

Bopha Devi

Location: 27 Rakaia Way, New Quay, Docklands
Cuisine: Cambodian

At Stace's recommendation, we headed down to the Docklands to give Bopha Devi a try. Having never been to a Cambodian restaurant, I was surprised to find that the inside was quite modern and somewhat westernized.

Table settings

The bar / counter

Between the five of us, we ordered one entree, four mains and two desserts. What a feast!

Pork spare-ribs - twice cooked & coated in a caramelised palm sugar sauce

These were beautiful! The tiny morsels of pork were tender and juicy, slipping off the bone quite easily when pulled. The palm sugar sauce was tangy, sweet and very sticky. The accompanying ginger was also quite sweet and went well with the pork (but did not taste so good one it's own).

Amok - traditional steamed fish curry with coconut cream, lemongrass, turmeric, and lime-leaves, served with rice and fanning cucumbers

Close up of the curry

Our first main was the 'amok'. A delicious creamy coconut curry with soft and tender pieces of fish with not much else except the herbs and spices for seasoning. The curry was served in a very clever cup of what looked to be banana or some other leaf. The curry itself was light enough to eat on it's own, and not spicy at all.

Mee galar - steamed rice noodles lightly glistened with garlic oil and soy sauce, snuggled with shredded dried shrimps, pickled cucumber, crushed peanuts, chopped pickled radish, bean shoots and a boiled egg

Our next dish tasted a bit like pad thai from Tasty Thai but fresher and with more flavour. The noodles were a little hard to separate at the start (very well 'snuggled' said Emma), but they were cooked al dente and managed to grab onto the sauce and the flavours well. I'm not a huge fan of dried shrimp, so that was a negative for me as it was everywhere in the dish, but the pickled radish and peanuts gave the dish a bit of crunch, whilst both added their own to the flavours in the plate.

Char kroeung - wok cooked beef with lime leaves, lemongrass, turmeric, onion, bean shoots, and capsicum. Served with fresh mint, cucumber, lettuce, vermicelli, sweet fish sauce and crushed nuts

This dish was very Vietnamese-like, both in looks and in taste. The beef was wok-fired, and had a a very slight smokey chargrilled flavour. The dish was probably the least flavoured dish as the fish sauce seemed to get watered down by the water still left in the vermicelli the beef and vegetables rested on. Bad drainage skills of the chef.

Mouan ng - char grilled chicken and onion meatballs served with vermicelli, lettuce, mints, cucumber, crushed nuts and fish sauce

This was my favourite dish of the nigh, followed very closely by the curry. The chicken meatballs surprised me as I had just expected mediocre meatballs, but these were very well-constructed - crispy and smokey on the outside, and sweet and juicy inside. Again they sat on a bed of vermicelli and was served with fish sauce. This time the vermicelli had been better drained and the flavours remained in the food.

And then it was time for dessert...

Black-rice crumble topped with grated coconut caramelised with palm sugar

I had never tried black rice before and was apprehensive about ordering this dish. It turned out the that the rice was slightly puffier rice, which tasted just like normal rice, but was served with palm sugar and coconut to sweeten it. The crumble really lived up to it's name but managed to partially hold its form as we divided it up between us. The coconute was finely grated and the palm sugar was nice and sweet. The rice pieces were not as sticky as I had feared, and I actually quite enjoyed it!

Char-grilled sugar banana rolled in sweet sticky rice and grated coconut

To be honest, I found both desserts to taste quite similar - except that one had a banana. The banana in itself was not as large as the 'roll' appeared. This was because the banana was coated in layers of sticky rice and coconut. It did not survive the chopping up and crumbled on the plate more than the black rice had. Neverthe less, the flavours were amazing. The sweetness of the banana, and the coconut worked nicely with a not-so-sweet sticky rice.

The place itself is nicely set and the service is very attentive and friendly. They changed our plates and even our cutlery between courses (even though we only shared one entree between five people). The place is not very loud so is good for talking. The only let down was the fact that some of the dishes tasted sub-standard Vietnamese good, but I already know what I'll be ordering next time!

Overall Impression: 9/10
Bopha Devi on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

how to make mauritian fish curry said...

Really tasty. This is now on our family favorites list.