159 Camberwell Road, Hawthorn
03 9813 1623
- Khanom Jeep steamed chicken dumplings with Yogurt, Soy and Aioli
- Satay Chicken & Beef Skewers
- Tangy Oysters
- FILO wrapped King Prawns with Wasabi Mayonnaise
- Thai Green Curry Chicken
- Ayam Bakar Indonesian-style Grilled Chicken
- Grilled Eye Fillet with Sumatran Tamarind sauce
- Crispy Whole Snapper with Curry Sauce
- Tumis Balachan Okra with Chilli Shrimp Paste
- Roti Chanai
- Dessert Platter:
- Black Sticky Rice with Egg Custard
- Sago Pudding with Palm Sugar
- Durian, Green Tea, Coconut Ice Cream
The Tangy Oysters were presented with much flare. Literally. While the flame in the middle may be just for show, the oysters certainly tasted the part. They were extraordinarily soft and tender due to having been half-cooked. The juices were filled with the fresh sweetness of the oyster and combined with the ginger and garlic, this made for a rather sweet and tangy soup that was absolutely divine. Flavour balance was spot on and this was hands down the best oyster I’ve had all my life.
The FILO wrapped prawn was another standout of the evening. The fine strands of the wrapping was flaky, with a light crunch that provides an airy feeling. This completely juxtaposed your typical tempura prawn and certainly cannot be compared to one, where the batter is usually dense and oily. The prawn was also cooked to perfection, and the fresh protein itself remained juicy, flavourful and surprisingly meaty. The wasabi sauce was the cherry on top, where the wasabi flavour was outward yet not overpowering. Combined with the prawn and FILO wrap, the flavours worked so well together and just immediately begged for a second bite.
The Khanom Jeep (chicken dumplings), while seemingly mediocre at first sight, actually turned out to be rather spectacular. The skin was paper thin and exceedingly soft. The savoury chicken meat was contrasted by the sweetness of the sauce that it was cooked in. All juxtaposed by the slight sourness of yogurt on top, the flavour profile was unparalleled.
The Satay Chicken and Beef Skewers were another highlight of the evening. Both meats were very tender, with great meat flavour and was cooked to perfection. This softness of the meat was contrasted by the slight crunch of the charred outer, which resulted from being cooked on charcoal. It was already a heavenly experience when eaten individually. However once you smear on some (a fuckload of) that delicious satay sauce which was flavourful and contained actual crunchy peanuts, this simply was the best satay I’ve ever tasted.
While most people aren’t big fans of Okra, myself included, it was done exceptionally well. The slimy texture of the okra inner was contrasted well by the slight crunch of the outer skin. The chilli shrimp paste really brought the dish to a whole new level. Think XO sauce, but even bolder, stronger flavours and added texture. The flavours worked really well together and made the okra a lot more palatable.
The Indonesian style Grilled Chicken was perhaps some of the most succulent and flavoursome grilled chicken I’ve ever had. The protein itself was exceedingly tender, made even better by the crunch of bits of charred chicken skin. Simply perfect!
The Dessert Platter was a feast in itself. Durian, coconut and green tea ice cream were all deliciously bold in flavour and diverse in texture, containing actual chunks of ingredients within. My favourite though must be the black sticky rice with egg custard, which was just so soft and melted in your mouth. The combination of the black rice and custard made for the perfect flavours and texture. I just couldn’t stop myself getting more! Too bad the dessert platter was served last…
The Thai Green Curry was pleasant overall, but was much, much too mild to be called a Thai curry. It didn’t have a strong punch of spicyness one finds in an authentic Thai curry and was actually rather sweet. However the chicken and greens inside were cooked rather well, remaining soft, tender and fresh while inheriting the aromatic flavours of the curry. Combined with the dense roti Chanai, this too proved to be rather delicious. ( I personally am more used to a fluffier and less dense roti from Malaysia)
The Rib Eye was also cooked to perfection without being undercooked nor overly chewy. However I feel the Sumataran tamarind sauce did not do it justice and distracted away from the freshness and taste of the beef. I would’ve much preferred the beef by itself honestly.
I unfortunately didn’t get a very good tasting of the Crispy Whole Snapper. While fried nicely and the curry sauce was absolutely delicious, the fish itself had little meat and too much bone, which made for a difficult feed for this penguin…
Overall a rather extraordinary meal with interesting and unique mixture of flavours and textures. The combination of ingredients and flavours that might seem odd actually worked surprisingly well most of the time and resulted in an amazing combination of taste that can’t be had elsewhere.
Was the meal perfect? No. But damn was it pretty fucking amazing when they got it right!
Would Penguin Eat Again?
Absolutely! I would go out on a limb and say this is probably the best Asian Fusion I’ve ever had. I am super thankful for being invited to celebrate their One Chef Hat celebration!
Definitely keen to try their Sunday Hawker Festival which should serve up delicious, authentic Malaysian food.