Monday, 11 March 2013

Review - Red House Asian Kitchen

Red House Asian Kitchen
1389 Ferntree Gully Road

Cuisine: Asian
Taste Rating: 7.5/10   Value Rating: 7.5/10

Sat, 23 Feb 2013
Sat, 23 Mar 2013

Red House on Urbanspoon

Sat, 23 Feb 2013

Red House Asian Kitchen opened on 8 Feb 2013. It is a welcome addition to this shopping strip in Scoresby. Nearby are Cinta Raya Malaysian restaurant and Shirley's Asian Grocery, a good-sized grocery shop. There is parking at the front and the back of the restaurant, or further along the shopping strip.

Front of Red House Asian Kitchen

Red House specialises in Asian-style meats like roast duck, roast pork belly, BBQ pork, soya sauce chicken and marinated cuttlefish.  The menu also has a large variety of dishes, as well as special dishes on the wall written in Mandarin.  

Meat Menu above Counter

Ducks, Pork Belly
Photo courtesy of Daniel from Red House.

Roast Duck
Photo courtesy of Daniel from Red House.

Opening the door as we arrived for dinner, I expected the place to be quiet as it had opened just two weeks ago.  Surprise! The restaurant was bustling with wall to wall diners. While we were there, most of the diners were Asians - this is what most people use to judge the quality of an Asian restaurant. So far so good.

One of the owners, Simon was managing front of house. We were served by friendly and helpful Daniel, who I assumed is the head waiter.  We were told that the chef used to work for one of the upper end restaurants at Crown Entertainment Complex. From the A La Carte menu, we ordered Peking Duck pancakes, Lamb Spring Rolls and Special Fried Rice. From the special dishes on the wall menu, we ordered Lamb Spare Ribs Hotpot, and Yellow Chives with Calamari, Octopus and Vegetables.

The dining area is not huge. The tables are arranged in such a way that you may find yourself zig-zagging if you want to walk from one end to another. There was a good number of waiters working that night. They seemed to do a good job navigating around the tables. The service was good and quick. 

So what was the food like? The Peking Duck is made with roast duck, as is the case with most Chinese restaurants, unless you go to a restaurant that specialises in Peking Duck. Red House specialises in roast duck and I must say the duck tastes nice here - lean juicy meat, with glistening reddish caramel duck skin. For those who like duck fat, there is a sweet layer of duck fat under the skin. I don't like fat so I remove it. The pancakes were assembled in the kitchen, not at the table.

Peking Duck pancakes

The Lamb Spring Rolls were interesting - I have never come across lamb in a spring roll before. The spring roll skin was crispy. The lamb was minced and had a slightly spicy flavour, possibly of cumin. The filling was slightly oily, with a fair bit of juice. The taste was quite nice - it reminded me of lamb souvlaki!  

The Lamb Hot Pot gravy has a nice rich flavour, although it is a bit salty. The lamb is very tender, yet retains its flavour without leaching it into the gravy. It does not have a strong gamey taste, which is how I like it. The only negative for me is that there are thin layers of fat between the meat. I can't stand any fat in meat, however other people will likely find these thin layers of fat add to the character of the dish. This hotpot comes with a side bowl of chilli oil, which tastes similar to that for Shanghai dumplings.

Yellow chives with calamari, octopus strips, snow peas, carrots, celery and button mushrooms. The calamari was tender and the octopus had a nice chewy texture. The flavours are nice. Compared to the other dishes, this was a bit on the pricey side at $25.80  for the ingredients.  The overall look and feel of the dish is messy with small pieces of vegetables overshadowed by the larger pieces . The button mushrooms are out of place in a Chinese dish.

The Special Fried Rice is nice. There is a good amount of egg which I always look for in a fried rice. The prawns are larger than normal for SFR. The BBQ pork is nice. 

Overall, we were happy with the meal and the friendly service. There is a good variety of dishes on the Red House Asian Kitchen menu, better than the average restaurant in the suburbs. We would like to try the other dishes here.

Sat, 23 Mar 2013

We went for a second visit to Red House, this time for lunch. It was a larger group of 16 people. Our two tables were tucked into the back corner. The place was busy. Service was prompt and friendly. The food lived up to expectations, with positive comments from the group. We ordered double serves of each of the following main dishes, and 4 serves of the dessert red bean pancake, as photographed.

 Assorted BBQ Platter (3 choices) of 
Soya Sauce Chicken, BBQ Pork and Roast Duck. 

Assorted BBQ Platter  (another view)

This is a good way to try the roast meats at this place. The duck was nice as before. The soya sauce chicken was good too. As I don't like fatty meat, the BBQ Pork didn't appeal to me as much.

Enoki Mushrooms and Dried Scallops with Spinach.

I liked this vegetable dish.  Nice flavours, nice texture. The spinach was fresh and easy to eat. The enoki and dried scallop provided a nice contrast in texture. 

Pan-fried Pi-pa Beancurd

This minced beancurd dish is good. Nice size, tasty and not obviously oily. Watch out when you bite in as the tofu is piping hot! I don't like the Chinese sausage mixed in with the tofu mince but this is a personal preference as others like this ingredient. Pipa is a Chinese musical instrument. I like how this dish is made by using a Chinese soup spoon to shape the tofu mince into a pipa shape before steaming and frying.

King Prawns (in shell) coated with salted egg yolk.

I liked this prawn dish. The egg yolk batter is tasty. You can order this dish with or without prawn shells. Having tried this with prawn shells on, next time I might try it with prawn shells off, just to see which one I prefer.

Pork Belly with Taro in Hotpot

A nice dish enjoyed by most people at our tables. Again my dislike of fat pork meant I only tried a bit of the lean part of the pork, and more of the yam slices and the rich gravy. 

Red Bean Pancake

Red Bean Pancake (Close up)
We didn't ask how big a serve of red bean pancake was, before ordering four serves. It turned out that each serve was cut into 16 pieces! So we had plenty to share. The pancake is oily but nice. Indulge and feel guilty at the end of the meal!

Oranges to finish the meal

Complimentary oranges at the end of the meal, which is a nice touch from Chinese restaurants. It used to be more common but not many places do this nowadays.  

Front part of the dining room. Lunch is over and the other tables have been reset.