Saturday, November 28, 2009

Lucky Chan Seafood Restaurant, Melbourne

I stumbled across this restaurant accidentally.  It happened a while back on my way to South Melbourne market one Sunday lunch time.  It was extremely busy and they advertised Sunday 'Yum Cha'.  Yum Cha, being two words which never fails to grab my attention.  I had made a mental note to visit this place in the future.

Tonight my long overdue visit had finally come.  It was raining hard and seeing as this place is close to where I live, Lucky Chan's seemed like the obvious choice.

My companion and I made our way through the Crown complex and then quickly dashed the short distance to the restaurant.  We had made a six-thirty reservation since it was a Saturday night.  Having only opened about half an hour earlier, the place wasn't full.

The interior is tastefully decorated with the traditional dark wood with red and gold accents. Tables are covered in crisp white linen which always gives a place a more upmarket feel in my opinion.

We were seated by the window and made our usual order of a pot of Chinese tea.  It arrived promptly in a blue floral patterned porcelain teapot with two Chinese tea cups.  Each table gets a complimentary plate of crispy pink prawn crackers to delve into whilst deciding on what to order.

The food menu is broken up into entrées, soups, seafood, poultry, pork, beef, noodles, rice and vegetable dishes.

The seafood selection also includes 'fresh from the tank' options which come with a selection of delicious Chinese sauces to choose from.  However, for those with an aversion to eating seafood 'fresh from the tank', this won't be an option.

We ordered 'Fried Stuffed Scallops with Minced Prawn in Spicy Chilli Salt', 'Honey Glazed bbq Pork' and 'Chinese Broccoli with Garlic'.  The latter wasn't on the menu, so it was something that I personally ordered. 

The Chinese broccoli with garlic was the first dish to arrive.  These gorgeous greens looked deliciously green with tiny golden shreds of garlic on top.  The plate consisted of just the sweet crunchy stalks and tasted perfectly 'al dente'.

The bbq pork was the next to arrive.  It didn't look too fatty at all (which in my book, earned this place brownie points) as I loathe getting fatty pieces of bbq pork - definitely not good as I hate spending most of my time trimming off the fat.  It was sweet, tender and mmm, mmm, mmm...

The fried stuffed scallops looked like deep fried fish cakes.  They reminded me of them too.  As I bit into one, there was the most tender, juicy piece of scallop wrapped inside a deep fried minced prawn dumpling cake.  It tasted wonderful, or at least we both thought so as we murmered with delight in unison.  They weren't greasy at all and there were plenty for the both of us.

Sharing just one bowl of rice as we normally do, we didn't even manage to eat all the rice.  The protein and vegetables were just so good on their own. 

We wanted dessert and we didn't want to go anywhere else in the rain.  So on viewing the dessert menu, my companion chose the banana fritters with vanilla ice-cream.  Whilst I went for the 'Mashed taro with Sago in sweet Coconut milk'.

Sago is a starch (like tapioca) extracted from the pith of the sago palm.  Like tapioca 'pearls', sago also comes in 'pearls' - small round pearl-like balls. 

My mashed taro with Sago dessert came in a bowl.  The Sago pearls were tiny and taste pretty much like tapioca pearls.  They both have a jelly-like consistency.  The sweet coconut milk had been heated through which made for a delicious warm dessert.  It wasn't too sweet and I could taste little bits of the mashed taro in spoonfuls.  It doesn't look particularly appetizing, but it was really delicious! 

The banana fritters with ice-cream came with two halves of a strawberry which gave it a colourful display.   The fritters were hot and again, not greasy at all considering they had been deep fried.  The syrup was warm and sweet, and the ice-cream tasted like vanilla - unlike some cheap versions that you can get in the lower end Chinese restaurants.

Service here was quick and attentive.  The staff were seemingly polite for a Chinese restaurant. In fact, I would go so far as to say, they were one of the most polite Chinese restaurant staff that I have ever encountered in all my thirty odd years of dining in Chinese restaurants.  If you get a polite and smiling Chinese waiter, then you are really quite lucky...

Onto value for money.  With our seafood dish costing $40 and the bbq pork at $27, this place isn't exactly cheap.  It may be a little on the steep side, but for the occasional treat, it seems worth it. 

In terms of taste, I really enjoyed our dishes.  I would love to eat here more often and be able to sample everything on their menu in order to make a more in-depth evaluation.  Unfortunately, my pockets won't stretch that far. 

Lucky Chan Seafood Restaurant
Crown Entertainment Complex, Level Ground, Shop 42, 8 Whiteman Street, Southbank, VIC 3006
Tel: +61 (0)3 9696 3966

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