Saturday, 23 June 2012

Dumpling King - Moonta Street, Central Markets

Many years ago Dumpling King was the scene of a food epiphany for me. Their dumplings became the standard against which all other dumplings are judged. I've had many a dumpling since then - some better but many much worse. Regardless, Dumpling King will always have a place in my heart and when a friend suggested we eat there for lunch I immediately agreed.

Although they were obviously busy we were quickly ushered to tabled (this is almost always possible if you are happy to share) and immediately ordered sweet and sour soup, fried chicken and prawn dumplings and steamed greens with oyster sauce.


The sweet and sour is a very textural soup - thick and almost glutenous liquid; creamy, firm tofu; crunchy black fungus and bamboo shoots; and soft egg. It also has enough heat and acid to get the saliva going and excite the taste buds for the dumplings to come.


Crispy, chewy dough filled with minced chicken and prawns that pop these dumplings are grease bombs with insane flavour - especially after you hit your dumps with some chilli onion jam, black vinegar and soy sauce. I could literally feel the fat running down my chin while eating these. When your family motto is 'adipem est saporem' this isn't a problem.


I'd recommend your order some greens with your dumplings. There's nothing particularly special about them but you need something to take the edge off the grease-bombs.

Although I've heard a lot of people complain about the service I've never had a problem with it - it's chaotic, not bad. So long as you're happy to go with the flow and demand whatever you need (usually more of the FREE tea or a couple of little bowls if you're sharing a meal) you'll be fine. Plus, the food is good and the price is right.

Dumpling King on Urbanspoon

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Viva Espresso - Ham Sandwich, Pirie St

A friend of mine recently raved about the sandwich at Viva Espresso - and particularly about the multi-grain bread. This is fortunate because Viva Espresso wasn't really on my lunch radar (and it probably should have been). We made a date and had lunch there today.


I reckon this is one of Adelaide's great sandwiches. Great quality ham; sweet crunchy pickles; tangy Dijon mustard, sharp cheddar cheese; cucumber; tomato; and a selection of lettuce leaves. A thoughtful and well balanced sandwich indeed.

You know that bread you get when you go to really good Baker's Delight? Not the flavourless doughy stuff but the kind with the thin almost crackling crust and soft fluffy interior. Well, two thick multigrain slabs of that sandwiched the filling. Probably not baked on site but pretty damn good.

I also ordered a regular serve of pommes frites. These were the best chips I've had for a while - crunchy on the outside and cloud-fluffy inside. Make sure you have a couple of friends to share them with because even the regular serve is massive.


Unfortunately I only realised that empty ramekin half-concealed behind the massive cone of pommes frites was for the sauce bar - yes, I said SAUCE BAR. Mayo, tomato sauce, bbq sauce - you name, it's all there for your chip dipping pleasure.

Viva Espresso is a little on the pricy side but the serves are generous and the quality excellent. And despite the fact they were wall to wall with customers the service was friendly and efficient.

Viva Espresso on Urbanspoon

Dozo Sushi Expess - Katsu Pork Roll, Pirie St

Just a quick blog one this time. I went back to Dozo Sushi Express (see my other reviews here and here to try the katsu pork roll.


I was hoping for some mega crunch and more thoughtful fillings but I was to be disappointed. Same roll, same tomato, same cucumber, and because the sauce penetrated every bite and soggy-ed up and overpowered the katsu - the pork tasted practically identical to the chicken I had last time.


These rolls should be excellent so I'll return to Dozo to try another but I feel as though I'm destined to be underwhelmed.

Dozo Sushi Express - Tempura Chicken Roll, Pirie Street

Last week I promised myself that I'd return to Dozo Sushi Express to try out a mysterious menu item - the Japanese sandwich. Ordering the the tempura chicken sandwich I hoped that I'd end up with some mega-crispy chicken on soft white bread - something to rival the oyster po' boys and southern fried chicken sandwiches of the United States. I didn't quite get that but I did end up with a pretty tasty roll.

Let me start with the most defining element - the sauce. Teriyaki sauce and Japanese mayonnaise were applied liberally and amalgamated to penetrate every mouthful with its rich, savoury creaminess. The bun (light, soft and white as hoped incidentally) barely stood up to it and would most likely have drowned if I weren't such a fast-eating guts. The sauce also turned the once crispy chicken soggy. Don't get me wrong - sauce soaked batter is delicious but didn't provide the crunch I had hoped for. The cucumber and (out-of-season and therefore a little mealy) tomato were seemingly added as an afterthought.


This was a good roll but it could have been - and I think wanted to be - so much more. Had the integrity of the crunchy chicken remained intact and had the other fillings been give some more thought and attention (some pickles to cut through the richness for example) this have been truly excellent roll. Instead, it was just another sandwich at $7.50 price point. That being said, Dozo offers some interesting fillings (like potato salad or katsu pork) that have piqued my curiosity so I'll no doubt return to test these.