Saturday, January 15, 2011

Nuffnang Bloggers' Lunch at Pan Asian


Pan Asian
267 Chapel St
Prahran Vic 3181
(03) 9533-7022

Today we had the first Nuffnang blogger meet-up for 2011, lunch at Pan Asian organised by Vanessa.  Pan Asian is the newer sister to Robert and Li's other restaurant(s), Chilli Padi, and is situated on the 'trendy' side of Chapel street near Commercial road.  Even though we were there for lunch, I think it has a rather nightclubby vibe, with its funky decor, open kitchen, dark wood panels and Asian lantern decorations.  My favourite element of the decor was the mural you see above.  How awesome is it?  It spans a whole wall of the restaurant, and with the Indian, Japanese, Chinese and South East Asian imagery, reflects Pan Asian's, well, pan-Asian culinary influences!

Lunch was a leisurely affair, with a series of tasty bites stretched out over the afternoon.  As a person who grew up in the post-Wall St, post-nouvelle cuisine nineties, I've always been a bit skeptical about fusion cooking, but I really enjoyed the different flavours and tastes that Li created.  Let's have a look...

Tomato gazpacho with lentil dahl 
I love how you can see Vanessa in the background of this picture!  Gazpacho is "tomato soup, served ice cold!" (thank-you Lisa Simpson), and this version included some earthy dahl.  At first, we couldn't figure out what the white bits were in the gazpacho - some thought noodles, some thought fish - but it was shredded egg white!  A nice, refreshing way to start a meal on a hot day.

Peking duck in fried mantou buns 
Cute!  I don't often eat mantou, but now I'm thinking I really should.  These little bites had the usual Peking duck fillings, encased in a crunchy, slightly sweet mantou bun.  Adding 'fried' to Peking duck? Great idea!  This is the type of thing I'd like to attempt making at home for parties.

Asian-style bruschetta
The Asian bruschetta tasted nice, with fresh coriander amping up the Asian factor, but it was a little too astringently onioney to be eaten in polite company, hehe.

Cauliflower samosas with pea purée
Our waiter told us these samosas came with 'pear purée', but a quick taste confirmed it was pea (I love peas!)  I also love cauliflower and fried food, so these were a winner for me.  I think I would have liked a little more cauliflower though.  It's such an underrated vegetable, but it is so good!

Tandoori chicken pizza
Again, my inner skeptic was slightly dubious about the prospect of a "tandoori chicken pizza", that regular feature of the suburban takeaway, but these turned out to be one of the more popular dishes of the afternoon.  The combination of a crispy and fluffy naan base, spiced chicken, creamy sauce and sweet chilli worked together well. It was more of an Indian-inspired canapé, rather than simply a pizza with an odd topping, as the name might suggest. Yum yum!

Deconstructed spring roll
Li's deconstructed spring roll was a mixture of vegetables encased by a deep-fried wonton skin.  I don't know if it tasted any better than a regular spring roll, but I must say they look a lot prettier!

Fish and chips with chilli mayonnaise, sansho pepper and nanami togarashi 
The last of the savouries were fish and chips, with chilli mayonnaise, sansho pepper and nanami togarashi.  We used to sell these bamboo boats at a shop where I once worked, but I'd never seen them in action, so to speak.  I think they're really cute!  Other bloggers described them as little sampans.  The fish itself was very fresh, moist and succulent, with only a thin layer of very crispy batter.  This was my favourite dish of the day.

(And yes, I know there was quite a bit of fried food, and I know I told y'all I'm eating healthy now, but in my defence I didn't finish everything on my plate, I've been going to the gym, and who are you anyway, my dietician???)

And speaking of which... for dessert we had incredibly decadent caramel brownies from the Bees Knees Brownie Company.  (Although looking at their website, I think these might be the dulce de leche brownies).
Bees Knees caramel brownies
I only had a tiny tiny piece - it was densely chocolatey, quite sweet from the caramel, but not tooth-achingly so.  Now I really wanna try making David Lebovitz' dulce de leche brownie recipe, but I don't know if it would be sensible for me to have a whole tray to myself!

And now, some people photos!

I totally love Violet's hair, and am in awe of how healthy it is.

I had a total der-brain moment taking this picture though - after I took it, I zoomed in on the curls and said to Sandra: "Wow, Violet's hair is so nice, look at the healthy ends!... Oh wait... we could just look across the table and see it in real life".  Hehe, d'oh!



Big thank-you to Robert and Li from Pan Asian for hosting lunch for us, and to Vanessa for organising the afternoon!  It was lovely to catch up with everyone, and great to see some new faces too.  If you guys blog the lunch, let me know and I can link to you!  All the best for 2011!!

This lunch has also been blogged by: 

Sarah and Sandra attended the lunch as guests of Pan Asian, with thanks to Vanessa from Nuffnang for the invitation.

Pan Asian on Urbanspoon

8 comments:

Celeste @ Berrytravels said...

HAHAHA. Guess what's in my oven? David Lebovitz Dulce de leche brownies. Muahaha.

Thanks for coming today! It was lovely to see you =)

penny aka jeroxie said...

Fab! So much feasting. Catch up next time :)

Joyce at I Take Off The Mask said...

Wow, very well documented! And so quickly posted haha. Nice one ;)

Joyce at I Take Off The Mask said...

...by the way, just shared this post at facebook! :-)

Violet said...

*_* So quick with your write up!! Hahaha next time bring your macro lens for super close up hair examining XD It was really good to see you again!

Hannah said...

Oh, what fun! Sometimes it's extra sad living in a city without food bloggers events :(

Love the look of the cauliflower samosas! Utterly gorgeous!

Calvin said...

Thanks for the linking! we are the first to blog! And Vanessa(NessBow) did too =)

my fav is duck bun and deconstracuted spring rolls! I ate something chewy in it but i do not know hwat it was. it taste like meat/fats. lol

msihua said...

Again I repeat... super duper quick with this post!!

Excellent summary of the event!