Red Lantern on Crown
Restaurant: Red Lantern on Crown | http://www.redlantern.com.au/
Location: 545 Crown Street Surry Hills NSW 2010
Rating: 9/10 – Food was fresh and organic, service was good and efficient, but just a little squashy with seating.
When choosing what to order, the accountant-to-be in me swung in action and I calculated that ordering a la carte would be cheaper than ordering the Tasting Menu ($65). The entrées arrived shortly after we’ve ordered. The Muc Rang Muoi $23 (Lightly battered chilli salted squid with fresh lemon and white pepper dipping sauce) was a great dish to start our Vietnamese food adventure. The sauce was remarkably appetising and the squid was what it stated in the menu, lightly battered and tender – we couldn’t stop eating it!
Then the Goi Du Du $24 (Twice cooked pork belly, tiger prawns, green papaya, perilla and mint) arrived together with Ca Tiem Nuong Voi Dau Hu $18 (Roasted eggplant with silken tofu and pickled daikon in a preserved chilli bean curd dressing). The pork belly was tender, but it doesn’t melt in your mouth and the prawns were fresh. The green papaya with the herbs was refreshing and it cleanses your palate. The roasted eggplant was average but the silken tofu was smooth.
Our last entrée to arrive was Banh Tom $16 (Aunty 5’s rice cakes with tiger prawns, caramelised pork, pork floss and shallot oil). And they sure leave the best till the last because these rice cakes were everyone’s favourite dish of the night! I thought it’d be hard when I picked it up with my chopsticks, but when I bite into it, I realized that it was only hard on the outside but REALLY soft inside. The other elements of the dish accompanied the rice cakes perfectly, thinking about it now makes me hungry and I can’t wait until I have it next time!
After enjoying our entrées, the mains arrived. The Ca Hap Ca Cot Dua $37 (Blue Eye Trevalla poached in an aromatic prawn, tomato and coconut bisque) which looked and smelt beautiful. The sauce was flavorsome, but I find the fish a little bit tough.
The goat was gamy – a little too gamy for Candice and of course, there were bones in it. The curry sauce was scrumptious and it needs to be eaten with rice which was $3 per serve. The salmon was moist and the accompanying sweet soy sauce was a perfect match along with the crunch of the Chinese broccoli.
The side Rau Muong Xao Chao $16 (Water spinach wok tossed with fermented bean curd sauce) was delicious. Especially because water spinach is one of my favourite vegetables and it was cooked just the way I like it.
When we were almost finishing, our waiter asked if we wanted dessert, which we initially did but he kindly informed us that our table has to be handed over in 20 minutes (they have advised me that our table is only for 2 hours when I booked), so we decided to try the desserts next time we visit Red Lantern again.
Overall, all the food was fresh and sweet because they are sourced organically as stated in their menu. Because I booked for 7pm, the dinner can only be 2 hours, but if you book other times, your dinner time will not be restricted. Our total bill comes to $295 which includes 5 cocktails, which is cheaper than the tasting menu. Please note that it was compulsory to order the tasting menu if the table is for 7 people or more.
I would definitely come back for the rice cakes, squid and the salmon and I can’t wait to try other things on the menu too! I recommend that if it’s your first time going to Red Lantern, go in a group of 5-6 people so you can try more dishes.