Monday, October 31, 2011

Lao Tuo Jia (Malvern) 10/2011

This name translates proximately as Old Joe's place, Joe being an older member of the family that run this surprising little restaurant. It's clean and neat with a few different coloured sheets stuck on the wall with menu items in English and Chinese.Tables are bare, furnished with paper napkins and comfortable chairs. A TV plays Chinese programs in one corner of the room.
We had to ask for chopsticks but tea came without needing to be asked for. The lady who served us was happy to describe the differences in the dishes and their ingredients.
It is striking that there are many lamb dishes which is unusual in Chinese restaurants. LTJ specialises in Xinjiang style cuisine from the North of China where it is very cold and the fatty meat is very desirable. We started with a couple of entrees. Half a dozen steam buns were the best that Sandra has ever eaten any where. The pastry was light and they were filled with plenty of mince. Wow! but that was not all.A dozen dumplings proved to be exceptional. Well seasoned they contained a little extremely tasty soup. They leave the attempts at Shanghai dumplings that we have had at many other restaurants for dead.Our next course, minced lamb with long noodles and vegetables. This came with a small pair of scissors to cut the noodles to lengths that suit you. These are made in house and are truly first class. Another astonishingly tasty dish and a good big serve too.Our next main was eggplant with minced lamb. Another very tasty dish but a bit to oily for my taste. I also found the eggplant skin a little tough. Fortunately they do take away as we were unable, with the best will in the world, to finish the whole meal.Licensed for BYO wine, they do not serve their own wines.
Of it's type this is a great little suburban restaurant. Very inexpensive, it's a gem, they even take credit cards.
Score: 14.25/20

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