The corner of Hawthorn and Inkerman Rd. has been the kiss of death for restaurant after restaurant. Lone Star, Millers, Scherazade and several others have failed to thrive here but The Potsticker, still showing signs of Chinese New Year, was close to full on Tuesday night when we dropped in. It offers Cantonese style food and has a reasonable wine list or accepts BYO. Some one with a bit of flair has redesigned the interior by making bar style seating around a large rectangular elevated shallow pool surrounded by 20 seats in the middle of the room. This very decorative area, partly curtained off from the rest of the room, turns what used to be a barn like space into an attractive and practical dining area. Here decked out for New Year.This bit was left intact for the last two proprietors.Led by Eric Wong, former owner of Cina, we were shown to a seat by floor staff wearing loosely knotted narrow ties glistening with shiny metallic sequins. The menu offers several banquets as well as the regular a la carte dishes and we chose the $65 deluxe banquette.
It started with a very good sea food san chao bao, followed by a second entree of dumplings, like Shanghai dumplings these potstickers had retained a little soup within the pastry packets. Very nice. We swapped the spicy prawns for battered prawns with a sweet sour sauce served in a separate bowl to keep the batter crisp. The sauce had a good balance between sweet and tart, a very good dish though could have done with a little more. Two pieces of duck breast, presented as Peking duck followed. The pancakes were not quite as fine as they might have been, but better than most and the duck was not thinly sliced. I suspect it was just roast duck rather than the traditional Peking duck. We enjoyed it regardless. Continuing to avoid the hot dishes we swapped the chicken on the menu for chicken with cashews. This was a simple, standard, Cantonese dish, served with fried rice. Mongolian beef with bok choy was the last main course before the dessert. Comparisons, the saying goes, are odious but I have to say the generally much more expensive restaurant that we ate at a couple of days ago served a much less aesthetically pleasing rendition of this dish though they both tasted good. Dessert was a slightly over gelatinized mango pudding. We returned a few days later and had some more very good dishes. Substantial crabs claws ($8) were good starters. A plate of mixed mushrooms ($20) was excellent although the tofu was over baked and a bit tough. Silken tofu would have been better. A whole barramundi ($30) was quite small but a very fine fish with gentle white flesh which we all enjoyed. Sweet and sour prawns were exactly like those we had at the banquet. If they continue to serve good food at reasonable prices The Potsticker has lasting properties at this normally unpopular site.