Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Bamboo Room (Balaclava) 01/2012


Balaclava Rd is an area full of character with a great variety of shops catering particularly for an ethnic mix of Russians, middle Europeans and established Australians. There is a thriving coffee culture and a good variety of restaurants. Not long ago one that I especially liked, Wallah, closed. It has reopened with new tenants as a refurbished Chinese restaurant. Previously Chef Tina and front of house man, Danny, had this as a 23 seat restaurant in Collingwood. They've now finding their feet in an entirely different environment and in a much larger venue. It's a different sort of community and tastes are different too but they are serving food which has a lot to be said for it anywhere. The menu is not large but it has good variety.
We started with home-made chicken dumpling. There is a choice of chicken, beef, pork, prawn or veg (steamed or fried) black vinegar, sesame, chilli oil, garlic, coriander sauce (10pcs) $10.00. There are dumplings and dumplings. Most look good but the combination of really good pastry, well balanced and tasty flavours with the freshest of ingredients is hard to come by. Here they got it just right.
A second entree, smoked salmon tart with avocado, radish, sriracha, ginger and soy dressing (4pcs) (gf) came in pretty little gold plated pots. We had ours without the sriracha which is a hot Thai chili sauce. This made it a little bland but their freshness and textures shone through.Bamboo room crispy pork loin in sweet sour sauce, chicken breast was an option, shredded bamboo shoot, ginger, spring onion, picked carrot, coriander (gf) $21.00 was a great surprise. The sauce was light with just the right level of sweetness and tartness, the pork, in a genuinely crispy butter, a delight and it was a good size serve too. A great dish. Braised whole New Zealand flounder spring onion, garlic, ginger and soy dressing ($28.5)turned out to be a HUGE New Zealand sole. I had ordered flounder and was disappointed to be served this fish which is only like flounder in shape but the flesh is quite different, being coarser and less delicate in taste. We managed less than half of it but were pleased to take the rest home. To end on a sweet note we had green tea crepe and guava ice cream ($11.50) This interesting dessert had the crepes stuffed with bean paste which worked well. The restaurant is clean and attractive, serves are large and very tasty. Chairs comfortable so it is nice to spend time eating there however the service left something to be desired. It was exceptionally slow because everything was cooked from scratch and not pre prepared. Our waitress was pleasant but clueless. She took a seat at the table with us to explain some of the items on the menu which I can not recall ever happening before.
They are awaiting a license but accept BYO with corkage $3.
Not expensive, at 302 Balaclava Rd., this is another fine addition to the street.

Score 14.75/20

9 comments:

Johanna Anning said...

This looks like a great place to eat at! Love the look of the Dumplings...

Elliot and Sandra said...

Hi Johanna
We loved it and recommend it. Do let us know how you like it if you do go

Ed said...

I live right next door to where the Bamboo was and wish Danny was still there. He was very popular with lots of locals and friends and I regret I never dropped in.

Glad he's doing a good job on your side.

food solutions said...

ohhhhhhhhhh my god..sooo yumy :) food solutions

Elliot and Sandra said...

Hi Ed
Looks like you'll just have to cross the Yarra again!
Food Solutions
Yes it really was yummy ut I'm not sure why all the pic's came out with a yellow tint

Greg said...

Hi,

My name is Greg and I am contacting you from Urbanspoon. I noticed that you have a spoonback (the Urbanspoon image link) for Bamboo Room in the navigation column on the right hand side of your blog. Thanks for linking to us! However, in order for the spoonback system to work correctly so we can link to your blog, it is necessary that the spoonback be placed in the actual post itself. So if you can please move the spoonback in to your post for Bamboo Room then we will be able to link to your blog on Urbanspoon. Please let me know if you have any questions.

Best regards,
Greg

greg at urbanspoon dot com

wooden kitchen stool said...

Impressed :)

Tiago said...

I love regional food. Those images looks very tasty!! I love specialy middle east food and latin american food. Last summer I have rent apartments in buenos aires and tried their food and me and my wife totally loved it, not just the famous beefs of Argentina but also the empanadas and the facturas of dulce de leche are outstanding.

Elliot and Sandra said...

Hi Tiago
I don't know if you are in Australia. I f you come to Melbourne you will find a fabulous variety of restaurants offering a huge variety of cuisines. Unfortunately they are a bit more expensive than Argentina.
best wishes
Elliot