Ever since I attended the food bloggers taste test of the Nyonya Buffet at Chilipadi
, I’d started chatting to the owners Robert and Li via Twitter. They also happen to own a modern take on Asian cusine, located at Prahran (near the Prahran Town Hall), called Pan Asian
Upon entering the restaurant, you’ll be greeted with a large mural depicting beautiful imageries of women representing the four faces of Asia. Japan, India, China and South East Asia. Designed by Eleana Sikiotis
, this is definitely a stand out feature of the restaurant. If you ask, Li will gladly tell you the story of how this came to be.
Decor aside, the wait staff are very friendly and service is reasonable (not too pushy), however, they don’t seem to know what’s going on most of the time, but they are always smiling.
I had booked a dinner for 8 and we were waiting on 2 latecomers to the party. As such, Li generously organised some complimentary starters for us. Starting with a Cold Japanese Cucumber Soup which was very interesting and refreshing.
We also had the Crunchy soft shell crab, tobbiko and cucumber salad funky sushi rolls with chilli mayonnaise and dashi soy gelatine $16.0 This was actually really really good.
The soft shell crab was very crispy (and not soggy at all unlike some other places), and the soy jelly was amazing. Such delicate flavours. I really enjoyed this dish.
Finally the remaining guests arrived and we had our dishes served right away! The Boy and I were in charge of putting in the orders, and we decided to start with the Slow braised ox cheek in a sweet and sour tamarind broth, served with a new Asian herb salad $23.0
This dish had the group comparing it to an assam (sour) curry due to the tamarind broth. I was told that the beef was really tender and that the texture was similar to a Malaysian/Indonesian rendang (dry curry)
The next dish we had was the Dongpo pork spareribs with honey & Chinese caramel shoyu, served with Asian herbs & spices and baby daikon fondant $21.0. This was the winning dish of the night. The pork was succulent yet tender. The sauce was sweet yet not sickeningly so. The herbs were paired really well with the dish. All in all, this was my favourite of the night.
The Boy and I both liked it so much that we ordered another serve of this halfway through our meal!
The next dish was the Fresh Thai green jungle curry with tiger prawns, green lip mussels, white fish, and snake beans $22.5. This is not your regular Thai green curry. It was a more modern take to it, less spicy and more sweet. Possibly catering for the non-Asian palate? Although I found it to be a bit too creamy, the Boy’s brother really liked it and finished the whole lot!
We also ordered this version of the curry in its vegetarian form $18.50 (as we had a vegetarian in our midst of course!)
Next, we had the Hainan style poached chicken breast with a ginger and shallot salsa, and a fragrant lemongrass chilli sauce $17.5. Honestly, this was a bit dry, and I think it has to do with the chicken being poached and not steamed like it usually is, in this type of style. Usually when steamed with the skin on, the chicken is very juicy and tender.
That being said, the ginger and shallot salsa along with the lemongrass chilli sauce was to die for! What the chicken lacked, the sauces more than doubled in taste. Which is, a bit ironic really, that the side sauces stealing the thunder of the main dish.
The other vegetarian dish we had was the Agedashi tofu with sansai vegetables and enoki, shitake, shimeji & oyster mushrooms, in a shitake and kombu broth $16.0 I didn’t actually get to try this dish as I being the carnivore I am had enough meat dishes going on to keep me more than happy (also an extra dish of Dong Bo pork played a part in this lack of interest in my part 😛 )
I wasn’t sure if we’d ordered enough dishes and decided to throw in an extra dish of Tea smoked duck breast with pickled watermelon rind and pistachios, served with duck liver pate & lavosh $15.5
To be honest I should have checked if anyone else besides me was a fan of liver pate… I somehow ended up the only one eating and enjoying this dish. Everyone else was quite amazed that I could pack so much duck in… how little they know of me (*Sniff*)
At the end of the night, we were all much too full to move on to desserts (which is an amazing thing, given I was part of the crowd). However, Li topped the night off by handing me some complimentary Sugadeaux
cupcakes. If you haven’t heard of Sugadeaux and you love cupcakes, you haven’t yet lived. These are the best god damn cupcakes made. Every cupcake lovingly baked. Every icing amazingly textured and flavoured with natural goodness.
I had the luck to try the Raspberry White Chocolate and Chocolate Coated Cherry cupcakes. Delicious. Especially on a lazy Sunday afternoon with a glass of iced coffee. Bliss.
*Disclaimer: All food ratings are purely based on my own experiences and how I feel about the service, food and quality
Food/ Cuisine: Modern Asian
Dining Style: Restaurant
Overall Food Rating (Based on the Dining style): 7.5/10
Restaurant ambiance: 7.5/10
Service/ Attitude: 8/10
Value for money: 8/10 (for Chapel Street, it is actually surprisingly reasonable)
267 Chapel Street
Tel:(03) 9533 7022
Email: [email protected]panasian.com.au
Pan Asian is open from
Tuesday to Sunday from 5.00pm to late
How to get there:
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