Incepted by Goldthread’s YouTube videos on xiao long bao and claypot rice, my partner and I made our way to Eastwood’s Mr Stonepot with a view of having both. While we found out tonight that stonepot is not quite the same as claypot, we still had quite a nice time trying out somewhat novel and not quite traditional items on their menu. Service was rapid, and we were able to experience the full spectrum of having our number shouted out at the front door as well as completely silent service from our waiter – two extremes that would probably displease most Australian diners but were probably part of the restaurant’s focus on hyper-efficiency.
The pork ribs in blueberry sauce ($8.80) sounded quite fancy and promising, but ended up just being sweet and sour pork served in a tiny bowl on a much larger plate, dusted with icing sugar. The blueberry flavour was not readily apparent, and really only noticed when the dish had cooled to room temperature. Non-special.
The xiao long bao (8 for $9.80) at Mr. Stonepot are both cheap and good, though after watching the above-linked video on xiao long bao perhaps they were a bit overdoughed on the superior aspect. Nonetheless, the taste was really clear and porky, earning my partner’s prized rating of “probably the best [she’s] had recently”.
The apple flavour smoked cumin lamb ribs with rosemary and chilli and onion ($19.80), true to its name, featured all of those flavours and ingredients. The lamb ribs were actually extremely tender and well cooked, falling off the bone and consisting also of a delicious, molten layer of fat and skin surrounding the meat. Whilst the rosemary was on full display, the chilli, apple, smoke, and onion elements were only accessible through the detritus at the bottom of the dish – easily missed if one were to eat just the ribs themselves. These were quite exemplary ribs, even if the smoke flavour was a bit irritating.
The Singapore style barramundi ($19.80) was an entire barramundi cooked in the Singaporean sweet chilli style and served in a sizzling stone pot. Whilst this photo probably fails to capture it, I was very impressed by the sheer size of this dish, having paid more for single fillets of barramundi numerous times at Sydney’s cafes. Though an extremely generous serving for price, I can’t say that I was a big fan of the Singaporean sweet chilli flavour in this particular dish, and wish it were offered with a different sauce or base.
The abalone black truffle rice with abalone sauce ($7.80) was one of only two stonepot items that featured rice, ordered in a vain attempt to fulfill our desire for claypot rice. The unfortunate difference between claypot and stonepot, as we were quite to realise upon gleaming the menu, is that claypots are inherently porous, helping to add the crispy outer layer to rice. This rice, cooked in a stonepot, did not have such a crispy exterior layer. Only two pieces of abalone were present in this rice bowl, suitable for the price paid though disappointing to the mouth. The black truffle, second item of note in the dish’s title, was nowhere to be found, with only very standard mushroom slices and a whiff of what was probably truffle oil over real truffle itself identified. Despite these misgivings, this is a perfectly adequate fried rice style bowl for $8.
The couple to our right had received a bug in their order of jellyfish, and on informing their waiter received an apology and a promise that they would take the dish back to the kitchen and remove the bug. Said couple was not pleased.
The couple on our left arrived 3 minutes before the kitchen closed at 8:30PM, was told strictly that they had 3 minutes to make their choices, following which the maitre d’ returned and ripped the order form and menu out of their hands. This didn’t seem to bother them, though, as the wife of the party had come in actively eating a grocery store brought ice cream, and then continued to eat lollies as she waited and a full prepacked salad once her food came, tell her husband “I’m trying to lose weight, I have to eat salad with each meal.”
If you are into loud environments without much social distancing, abrupt service, pretty good Chinese food, and a strict adherence to the kitchen’s last order time you will love Mr Stonepot.
Mr Stonepot Eastwood
205 Rowe St, Eastwood NSW 2122
(02) 9804 8688