Cloris Gourmet, one of our local restaurants, open until the wee hours of the morning. The food is cheap though not amazing, acceptable in a pinch.
Beef Chorizo Burger ($11.50) was only ok.
Spicy Southern Chicken Burger ($10.50) was also OK. A pretty similar mix of slaws. The chicken was better than the beef in my opinion.
The Lamb Hot Roll ($13.50) wasn’t what I wanted or expected. I thought it would be a roll in the way a kebab roll is a roll. I don’t understand why they would call the last two burgers burgers but this one a roll.
Chicken wings (6 for $7.50) were fine, not special, were a bit oily, wouldn’t go for them again.
It’s not quite fair to rate a restaurant you were 45 minutes late to, but that’s just what I’m about to do.
I met up with a few of my colleagues after work one Saturday afternoon. It was difficult for us to get a reservation at a universally convenient time, but we settled on a time that would have been possible for me to make with optimum handover and traffic but was ultimately suboptimal. I don’t think we needed to have bothered, however, as as I was walking up to the restaurant 45 minutes post our booking time another group walked in and was able to secure a table without a reservation – it seems that they keep a number of tables open for walk-ins, and one should keep this in mind if booking is problematic.
Belly Bao’s Fried Chicken Wings (2 for $9) were good and crispy despite having had a long time to cool down. While their flavour and internal texture was not standout, their resilience to heat loss by radiation is quite impressive and implies that they would be a good choice for delivery or takeaway where food is more at the mercy of travel time.
The crackling roast pork belly bao ($7.90) with crackling, radish, coriander and mayonnaise was fine but nothing to write home about. There was nothing particularly good or bad about the bao bread. It would be unfair for me to rate its contents given that it sat on the table uneaten for approximately half an hour prior to my arrival, but I will go ahead and say that I didn’t feel like the crackling pork was quite as crackling as advertised, nor the pork meat appropriately tender. It may be better fresh.
I am able to give an honest review of the slow braised beef short rib bao ($7.50) with kimchi, spring onion and sesame mayonnaise as the restaurant forgot to make the three that we ordered for the table until questioned. This unfortunate lapse meant that I was able to have it fresh. I found the flavour of the beef balanced and appreciated that it was not too overflavoured, which seems to be a common problem with many baos especially in restaurants in largely culturally and linguistically non-diverse areas (bad memories from Bao Now in Te Anau, New Zealand 2018 still haunt me to this day). Not a bad bao overall.
Overall a 3.5/5
Belly Bao 184 King St, Newtown NSW 2042 0402 826 907
Don’t deny it. I know you’ve missed my awfully lit photos of food in takeaway containers.
Rather than go out to eat before my first in a run of four emergency department night shifts we decided to get takeaway from Mirasa. a local Indonesian restaurant we have often seen listed in the delivery apps but had never tried. Prices are what we paid Deliveroo. They may very well be cheaper in store.
The Pangsit Goreng ($3 each) were yummy. They are deep fried wontons with an ample amount of filling, which went surprisingly well with the sweet chilli sauce.
The Sayap Isi ($4 each) were not as much to my taste. I’m finding them difficult to describe, but I felt that while the chicken meat was quite tender their outsides had more of a soft steamed or boiled quality, which is not what I would expect from the fried component of “deboned and stuffed fried chicken wings”.
I was hesitant to order the nasi goreng ($15.50), as nothing on their menu suggested that this would not be a vegetarian dish. Thankfully the nasi goreng came with chicken – I don’t think I would’ve liked it otherwise. I did enjoy the runny, soft-fried egg, and think it could have even benefited from an extra egg. The taste of this dish was good, and the box was quickly polished off the following morning.
The Nasi Hainan ($15.50) was not quite classic Hainanese chicken rice. While the chicken was reasonably accurate, the toppings and flavourings are different from what you would expect from the classic Malaysian/Singaporean dish. I understand this is more authentic to the Indonesian style of Hainanese chicken rice. The rice was adequately flavoured, and this dish was my partner’s favourite of our order.
The Sup Campur ($15.50) is a light clear soup with beef balls, wonton, and fried tofu. I really enjoyed the taste of all of these three components, however the soup itself was too light and watery and left much to be enjoyed. We basically fished out the fillings, drank half the soup, and disposed of the rest. Sorry.
I think overall my ambivalence towards Mirasa is more of a reflection of my East-Asian-centric palate, and probably not anything wrong with Mirasa itself. I personally won’t be eating their food again, but don’t think this means that you shouldn’t if you’re into Indonesian food.
Lee Chef is your friendly neighbourhood ethnically ambiguous Chinese/Vietnamese restaurant. Open until 10PM, they have, on multiple occasions, patiently remained open as we slurped up our post-shift pho and eaten our fill of authentic Asian classics.
The fried chicken wings were great. They were lightly battered and freshly fried, seasoned with 椒盐 (jiao yan), which is a traditional Chinese salt and chilli pepper seasoning. Each wing was crispy on the outside but moist on the inside – perfectly executed.
The vegetarian spring rolls were not great – in fact they teetered on the edge of actively bad. They were brought out very quickly and didn’t really feel like they had been heated all the way through. The filling inside the spring rolls were lukewarm at best, and displayed a mushy texture. We didn’t end up finishing these spring rolls – they were simply calories for punishment.
The Combination Beef Pho was wholesome and authentic. All elements were good. The protein component consisted of rare beef, beef balls, tendon, and beef rum. The soup was full of umami flavours and not too sweet or salty – just right. The side of Vietnamese mint and bean sprouts was not only adequate but generous. I am blessed to live near a restaurant that can deliver such consistently good pho.
I was less impressed by the Hainan Chicken Rice. I found the chicken too bland and tasteless and the rice a bit too hard, though I did appreciate the soup and the generous serving of chilli and ginger and shallot condiments. My partner was a much bigger fan of this dish than I was.
The combination bean curd hot pot was of quality and taste commensurate with its price. I do love myself a combination bean curd hot pot.
VERDICT Quality neighbourhood eatery Hits all the classics right in the bullseye Wouldn’t travel for it, but will keep coming back again and again this year. 4/5
Lee Chef 1/140 Church St, Parramatta NSW 2150 (02) 8677 4425
Wallabies Thai is one of our local Thai places. It offers eat-in, takeaway, and delivery service. We decided to try eating in after seeing it pop up on Ubereats one too many times.
The money bags (4 for $8.90) were enjoyable but nothing to write home about.
No major complaints from us for the mixed entree (5 for $8.90), although I remember not really liking the curry puff.
The garlic fried rice was really good. Huge amounts of garlic inside, and giant portion.
The biggest disappointment of the meal was the laksa noodle soup ($15.90). I can’t recommend it.
The following are from a more recent delivery order from Wallabies Thai.
The BBQ Chicken (Boneless) ($15.90) was quite good. The chicken was tender and juicy, and nicely flavoured. I like the addition of the vegetables which included broccoli and capsicum, as I wasn’t expecting them. These vegetables were bathed in the delicious chicken juices.
The special wing ($14.90) of chicken in thick garlic sauce was tasty however suffered from the having of wing tips. This made it a bit difficult to eat, and I always feel like it’s low yield to include the tiny, low-meat wing tip with a meal.
My partner was a big fan of the pad see ew with roasted duck ($19.90). We’re normally more of a pad kee mao family, however we ventured outside of our comfort zone and were rewarded.
I can whole heartedly recommend Wallabies Thai, for either eat-in or delivery. Their prices are excellent and their food delicious. Eat in service is also very fast. A local gem.