Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Written On Tea, Sandy Bay, Tasmania

Nearly every Friday night here in Melbourne, Em and I head off to our favourite asian restaurant in Victoria St, Richmond. Since we were on holidays in Hobart, we obviously weren't going to be able to pop down to Victoria St. So our little Gourmet Traveller 2011 Australian Restaurant Guide came in handy once again.

We headed back to Sandy Bay, about 20 meters from another restaurant we visited earlier in the trip Shoga. The place was called Written On Tea. It was a strange little place, half of it in one room seemed like a really nice, swanky bar or restaurant and the other room, seemed like one of the cheaper unrenovated take away places on Victoria St, Richmond. Despite us making a booking, we were still seated in the dodgier looking, colder room at the front. On the positive side, at least we were getting a real Victoria St experience, in Tasmania!

We started with the Pan Fried Pork Dumplings. They were sticky little Gyoza type parcels, however somewhere along the line, somebody forgot to pan fry our pan-fried dumplings. They were as good as any I'd had in Melbourne - minus the lack of pan frying.

These little dumplings that we had next were very similar to the Shao-long Bao that you get at Hu-Tong in Melbourne. In fact, they could have been Shao-long Bao, because they had that little bit of broth in the bottom that burns your whole face when you bite into them and they explode!
They weren't quite up to the standard of Hu-Tong, but they were definately up there. After eating all the Gyoza type dumplings it was a bit of a struggle getting through these!

Finally we ordered some Duck with Basil and steamed rice. This was probably some of the best duck I've ever eaten. It was really delicious. The duck was lovely and tender. However, the basil wasn't what I was expecting. It was Italian style Basil, rather than Thai style Basil - which I found to be a bit odd, but seemed to work ok. Maybe they just read the recipe wrong? A tasty dish all the same.

The service left a lot to be desired, whilst most of the staff were friendly enough, they definitely weren't attentive and I had to get up to go to the counter to ask if I could order our food.
The room we were seated in was pretty cold, because the front door kept being opened for people coming in to get take away. We would have preferred to have been seated in the nicer room, especially since we'd make a booking. At one stage one of the waitresses came to us and said "ok, your table is ready now", so we thought we were getting moved to the good room. But the boss lady told the waitress off and we were told that the waitress made a mistake.

The food overall was above average and would fit in very nicely in Melbourne's China town. The prices were very reasonable and if you're after a cheap night out and aren't concerned about sitting in a not so sexy restaurant, then Written On Tea is a top spot.

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