Back when I wrote my November Unblogged Files, I included pretty much everything food-related that I'd experienced that month, and asked if there was anything you guys were particularly interested and wanted to know more about. So... due to popular demand, may I present to you my post on the "Beyond the Bund" bloggers' dinner at David's Restaurant in Prahran!
4 Cecil Place
Prahran, VIC 3181
Ph: (03) 9529-5199
As part of Good Food Month, David's Restaurant hosted a "Beyond the Bund" event - a five course dinner showcasing regional Chinese cuisines a little further afield than their usual Shanghai, and I was invited to a attend at a complimentary bloggers' table. Y'all know I love my regional Chinese food (Dainty Sichuan, Spice Temple, Fuchsia Dunlop etc etc), so I was definitely keen!
|Blue Pyrenees Sparkling|
|Lion Head - Pork & chestnut meatball in chicken broth (Jiang Su)|
Blue Pyrenees Sparkling
When the first course was brought out, I must admit I thought it was very plain looking - almost a little too plain for an upmarket restaurant. However, it actually turned out to be my favourite dish of the night - the clear broth was wonderfully rich, and I loved the meaty pork meatball, with its little crunchy pops of water chestnuts. It was really comforting without being heavy. Win!
|Crunchy prawn clusters with a melted butter centre (Shanghai)|
The crunchy prawn clusters were a fun dish: inside the crunchy balls was a smooth prawn filling, which itself contained a melted butter centre. Melted butter! Fabulous. I was quite literally daydreaming about these balls (heh) at work the next day!
|Crispy flash fried whiting smoked on caramelised leek (Zhejiang)|
Plantangenet Riesling, Mount Barker WA
The fried whiting reminded me a lot of Malaysian Chinese flavours and again, felt very home style to me - the smoked whiting was fried bones-and-all, with a slightly sweet sauce providing contrast. I liked it a lot.
|Crispy Beef with orange peel (Hunan)|
Mitchell GSM Grenache Sangiovese Mourvedre, Clare Valley
|Crispy beef with orange peel|
Looking at all that fresh orange peel in the serving tray, I was worried this course might be too stridently orange flavoured, but it just lended a gentle citrus fragrance to the dish. The beef was tender and the sauce had a nice level of chilli spice - lovely.
|Sichuan wok fried Chinese cabbage with dry chillies (Sichuan)|
Premium Iron Buddha Tea
The final course was a vegetable dish of stir-fried cabbage with dried chillies and, if I remember correctly, some Sichuan peppercorns. It was spicy, but not overly so, and a nice way to round off the meal.
We also ordered a few desserts to share across the table.
|Coconut dream - coconut and rum sago pudding with vanilla ice-cream - $12|
I didn't personally try the coconut dream (it was on the other end of the table!) but I wanted to share a picture with you because it looked so pretty!
|Banana street fritters with ice-cream - $9|
Banana fritters are awesome. Fact. I would have preferred vanilla ice-cream instead of chocolate, but the banana pieces themselves had a nice crisp batter and weren't greasy at all, so they get the thumbs up from me.
|Soft-centred, white chocolate dumplings with peanut and coconut praline and ice-cream - $9|
I'd wanted to try David's white chocolate dumplings for ages, and I loved them! (I'd seen them on the menu at one of his other ventures, Oriental Tea House, when I went there for yum cha with colleagues, but no one else wanted dessert that day and I didn't want to look like a greedy guts in front of them, haha). The dumplings were warm, with a soft glutinous rice flour dough (think Malaysian muar chee rather than chewy Japanese mochi) encasing a melty white chocolate centre. Fusion food doesn't always work, but this one totally did for me!
|Osmanthus and red bean black sticky rice pudding - $9|
This sticky rice pudding was rather floral and quite intense, with dried fruit, almonds and candied peel mixed through the sticky rice, and a red bean centre. It was rather like a Chinese take on Christmas pudding, come to think of it. I was curious to try it (so thank-you to Claire for ordering it!), and I did enjoy it, but don't think I would order it myself - it was very filling, and when you combine that with very richness flavours, it was difficult to manage more than a couple of spoonfuls.
The dinner was priced at $65 for five savoury courses with matching drinks (desserts extra), which I felt was good value - I enjoyed the food, I was happily full by the end, and this included three glasses of wine, a beer and a tea. Whilst the food that we enjoyed this evening isn't on the regular menu (apart from the desserts), I was sufficiently impressed by the quality of the food and the ambiance to say that I'd happily come back on a normal evening and try out David's modern take on Shanghai cuisine on my own coin.
Sarah attended the Beyond the Bund dinner as a guest of David's Restaurant