Monday, 11 August 2008

dai wan lai @ rowe st., eastwood

This is the place that, a handful of weeks ago, I had stood completely star-struck staring into the faces of Nicholas Tse's dad and sister (I mean real people) and had no idea absolutely how to react and just dumbly stood there, got all giggly and blurted out to my dad, 'OMG, that's Nicholas Tse's dad and sister' and well, turns out dad was equally just as star-struck and then it was mum; so as you can imagine, there we were, a family of 3 gawping after 2 very famous HK stars and stupidly staring into the restaurant to see what they were getting up to. Well, they were eating in my suburb (don't ask me why, I remain boggled).

A handful of weeks on and sharing my story with enough people to understand what it is like to meet HK stars in person (in particular the family of a star that I'd spent a good portion of my high school years gushing over - yes, I think I have all of Nic's CDs), dad finally gave in to trying to place out. You see, it takes awhile before my dad is convinced that a new restaurant is worth trying (he more or less starts off assuming that a place is crap until something or other recommends it).

We thought we'd make it an early dinner and arrived around 5.30pm on a Saturday night - we were told upfront that we would need to finish our dinner by 7pm. Dad tried to bargain with them but we were assured that they served up dishes quite quickly so 1.5 hrs was sufficient.

Pretty much all dishes were recommended by the waitress who looked after our table. To say the least, their menu isn't the most traditional of Chinese menus so dad was happy to take their recommendations for their most popular dishes. Here's the '3 Treasures - Pork Slices, Pork Knee, & Pork Intestine' (the latter of which I would not recommend for very good reasons - need I elaborate?).
This was almost a bit like Kebab Meat - but was actually chicken and came with a dipping sauce, fresh carrots, shallots and yellow buns which we assumed you wrap all your bits and pieces in. Quite a number of tables around us ordered this - the buns are a little oily. Lamb Cutlets - Northern Chinese Style. A winner! So crispy and probably quite fattening :PThis boy has been sick but managed to bring himself along to dinner.Pork Ribs. Quite an average dish. The carrot flowers are pretty though!This one I like. White Seafood Soup with Tofu - just sweet enough and full of fresh ingredients and flavour; comes also in a nice big bowl for a very large table that consisted mainly of boys.This one was a spicy chicken with capsicum that came in a ridiculously massive gold/bamboo pot. The dish itself is actually quite shallow so you look like you're getting a lot more (but you actually don't). I didn't like the fact that the boned chicken was so finely chopped - just felt like I was eating bone every time I grabbed a piece of chicken to eat.A sweet one which probably could've waited till the end of the meal. I actually quite liked it - it's a pumpkin flavoured sweet with red bean filling (again, in true Northern China style - quite oily and got a stamp of disapproval from J).This one is a must try! Steamed scallops with vermicelli (scallops were very, very fresh - N.B. Dai Wan Lai specialise in seafood or so they say). A rather average looking dish when you first look at it but is surprisingly full of flavour. Wouldn't mind having this again and great it wasn't oily.Dad didn't like this one (thought it was too bland cause it had a seafood filling) but I absolutely loved it! I love fresh dumplings, love how they're so mis-shaped and that the pastry that wraps the filling is so nice and soft (none of that chewy stuff).Last but not least, the fish (which I thought was rather average). Dad said the texture of the fish was meant to be like that so maybe I just didn't like the fish that dad had ordered.
As promised, dinner service was fast and all dishes were out within minutes of the first one getting to our table (the last to come was the fish). Our lovely waitress had been patient and did recommend a good cross-section of dishes for us to try and prompty refilled our tea as soon as it got empty. It's actually really nice to sit inside - one of the first and possibly 'only' Chinese restaurants I've sat in where it's been pristine clean all around and there's actually also an attention to decor. In a way, you can describe the decor as Modern but still incorporating some of your traditional Chinese furnishings which I thought made for a good mix - lighting was bright and you almost forget that you're sitting in a restaurant in Eastwood. Prices are on par with your other Chinese restaurants, service is probably better than most, all the dishes are served in unique bowls/dishes, menu is quite interesting and yes, worth trying I'd say.


Joanna said...

hey jenny! is that the place opposite the yum cha place? I tried that once, they had heaps of spicy dishes :)

Bean Sprout said...

never try lamb cutlets in Chinese style before...looks so yummy

panda said...

jo - yep it's the one opposite the yum cha. I actually don't mind spicy. but yeah my overall comment is that they have some very interesting dishes on the menu - some likeable/some I'm not so sure about

bean sprout - i was surprised about the lamb cutlets but if you ever visit this restaurant, you should definitely try this dish. How they made it tasted almost like that crispy duck dish you can get in chinese restaurants.

Bean Sprout said...

I read some of your post (forgot which one) and found out that you bought the book ''Julie & Julia'' for $2.95 It is from the shop on the way to Central Station, right? I bought it also last week..just accidently found that place...hehe

anyway, I haven't read even 1 page :P

panda said...

i'm glad you remembered my post! that bookshop actually has quite a lot of things...and it's so much better to buy a book for 2.95 rather than 19.95 at all your other bookshops!

after reading that book, i'm so tempted to buy 'mastering the art of french cooking'. anyway, let me know what you think once you've read the book :P