January 22nd, 2008

Does My Bomb Look Big In This?

Review - Bay Hong

Hong Tran exhibits such flair on the floor of this well priced new restaurant, you might forget that she was actually born in 1988 - the same year her grandfather established perennial Vietnamese cheap-eats favourite Bay Tinh. After its sale, Hong decided to keep his recipes alive by opening her own restaurant - Bay Hong.

Our meal began with perfectly cooked Salt and Pepper Calamari ($16), which was presented well with a lovely side salad - it's like a wonderful Asian coleslaw dressed with a Vietnamese mayonnaise that is amazingly light, yet creamy, and somehow reminiscent of KFC Coleslaw (except with real vegetables and flavour)!

Hong's mother, Rose Tran, is in the kitchen reproducing many of the old recipes, as well as some imaginative creations of her own - don’t miss her Egged Prawn Cake ($12), a concoction of soft quail egg wrapped in prawn paste served on a crisp piece of toast.

Orange Rolls ($8)
are surprisingly juicy, and wrapped in tasty cabbage leaves that have been marinated in stock - I haven't seen them on a menu before, and liked the novelty factor.

Golden, crunchy Potato Prawns ($10) meticulously wrapped in potato; and show off Rose's skill with fried dishes. They reminded me of a similar dish from the old owner of the site - RQ.

Lolot Beef Rolls ($18) are packed with flavour, and served with tasty homemade noodle squares which beat hands down any noodle I have ever had in a Vietnamese wrap dish.

The crisp skinned Ginger Fish (market price around $24 for 2 people) is a real highlight. I think it was a baby barramundi, and if I am correct, it was about the nicest barramundi I have ever had too!

There are twelve desserts on the menu - quite a record I thought. We found it hard to choose, so we had the Combo Dessert ($12) and enjoyed banana fritters, black sticky rice, assorted fruit and ice-cream.

Worth a look, especially if you like Bay Tinh!

Bay Hong
294 Crown St, Surry Hills
Ph: (02) 9360 8688

Bay Hong on Urbanspoon
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Does My Bomb Look Big In This?

Review - Snakebean

With all their attention now directed toward this great little Asian diner, Jeremy McNamara and Nhut Huynh have managed to reproduce many of the flavours I enjoyed at their fine dining restaurant RQ at about a third of the price!

On the night I dined, there was nothing on the menu over $11.50, but in coming months (as more of the RQ favourites are rotated through the specials menu reflecting pan-Asian flavours from their travels), expect to see prices up to $14.

Snakebean is a no frills experience with the owners forgoing cards, bookings and (in a welcome change) corkage. Thankfully one bite of the Banana Blossom Salad ($10) confirms that no sacrifices have been made with the high quality fresh produce.

The Roast Eggplant Mash with Spicy Chicken ($9.90) is a sure crowd pleaser... and again, eggplant made into mash is on my adore list (I also had it recently at Efendy.)

...and the dish really sings with a serve of Pickles ($1.50).

The Slow Cooked Beef with Carrot, Paprika and Anise ($9.90) is reminiscent of a Rendang, just with a Vietnamese flavour base (and no coconut I think).

We also what they call Sydney's best 'roadside style' papaya salad ($8.80) which my dining companion ordered hot. And he got it - rip your face off searing heat hot, which is a refreshing change!

Desserts also impress in terms of flavour and serving size, particularly the Banana, Sago and Coconut ($6.00) from the specials board.

Plus it's hard to go past Black Sticky Rice ($4.50) - and this version of the dish is particularly good, lots of great contrasting sweet and savoury flavours.

At these prices, you’d be mad not to eat here! And if you check out their website, they also deliver without a delivery fee or a hike in their very reasonable prices, to a wide range of places. They have a wide selection of vegetarian dishes too.

95 Oxford Street, Darlinghurst
Ph: (02) 9380 8808

Snakebean on Urbanspoon
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