Thursday, July 1, 2010

Eating Out: Taste East 224 Whitehorse Road Balwyn 3103

Mum decided between here and Yuki's in Malvern for her birthday dinner. Chose this place as it was a lot closer.
You walk in and you know you're in a higher class chinese restaurant. Except for the chinese handwritten sign at the front that says hiring a dishwasher...I should apply =) Anyways it is a relatively small restaurant, one waiter and one waitress. Took a while to receive a menu but excusable. One thing I found annoying was how loud the coffee machine was, using it to fill up teapots constantly really starts to get to you throughout the night.

佛跳墙 Buddha jumps wall (literal translation) $30 per bowl
This is the reason why mum wanted to come here. And I must say it didn't live up to the amazingly high expectations I had. When I heard it was $30 a bowl I thought it must be super super perfect. It wasn't bad but there a lot of things that can be improved on so that the customer feels like the $30 was worth it. Lets start with abalone, flavourless and not chewy enough. If you gave me that in a blind tasting, I wouldn't have guessed abalone. Shark fin was quite large but too crunchy, needed to be cooked a bit more. Sea cucumber was average, it doesn't have much flavour normally. The many special black chicken (like the chicken skin is naturally black) pieces were good however had so many bones I really couldn't be bothered with it. There was a piece of white calamari looking thing that mum ate, not sure what it was. The pork was so stringy I'm not sure whether they should have served it as all the flavour went into the soup. Now comes the actual soup part, not intense enough in my opinion. Soups like this usually have a very rich flavour but I guess it was good that it wasn't too rich. To be honest, for $30 it's just not worth it.
Garlic and black pepper duck $23.80
Dish of the night. It smelt really garlicky and fragrant. The skin was oohhhh sooo crispy!!!! like peking duck skin. A good layer of fat under the skin added that oily goodness =P The duck had massive chunks of meat and little bone so it was really nice. Juicy and gamey and drool worthy. And this was actually quite worth the money unlike that soup. 
Stir Fried Vegetable with Bamboo Pith $20
A very good dish, maybe not outstanding but very good except for the price. The serving size was amazingly small, although good ingredients were used. The sauce was quite intense and coated each vegetable nicely. Bamboo pith has a really cool texture, crunchy but soft and squelchy? 
Stir Fried Garlic Beef $25.80
Quite a good dish. Decent serving size. Good flavours, lots of garlic although it was borderline raw. 3 minor issues with this dish. 1. the beef has been tenderised and as a result had a funny texture. 2. it was way too oily, had a pool of oil on the bottom of the dish. 3. $25.80 is a little too pricey for a plate of beef.

Food: 8/10 One of the better cantonese restaurants. One thing I really liked was how everything was seasoned just right, many chinese restaurants put way too much salt into their dishes, here it is just right, almost slightly underseasoned. The way I like it
Environment: 8/10 Good atmosphere. There daily specials menu board is sooooooooo coool. Only bad point was the noisy coffee machine.
Service: 7/10 The main waiter was very good and experienced. The waitress did not speak much and was a tad clumsy when cleaning up other table's dishes. Scared she was going to smash something. 

Verdict? It is definitely the higher class of chinese dining. Good quality food. Only concern is the price, I can't really say it is worth it but you do get some very good food.

Taste East on Urbanspoon

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