Monday, February 23, 2009

Jindalee Oriental

Jindalee Oriental
34 Goggs Rd, Jindalee

I think the names of Asian restaurants in the West side very confusing. Charlie and I had already gone to or passed 2 that we thought were 'Jindalee Oriental' before finding a third (and correct) one by chance.

This restaurant is located next to the McDonald in the homemaker center. It is slightly more 'restaurant' than 'eatery' but the prices are reasonably cheap.

When we went there, it was a weeknight but the restaurant was more than 1/2 filled. Someone had booked out a large table for a function so the atmosphere was decently chatty and vibrant. This is something I like when eating Chinese-style food. Sitting in a deathly quiet restaurant with staff peering at me really freaks me out so I always take note if a place still manages to pull customers during the week.


The menu was written all in English. I have no hesitation in saying that this Chinese/Malaysian restaurant is targeting a Western clientele. That's fine by me because I don't have a problem with dishes like 'sweet and sour pork' and I can't read Chinese. I understand what Authentic Chinese is but that doesn't stop me from enjoying pan-Asian cuisine with a bit of Aussie in there.

Looking through the menu, it was predominantly Chinese with a page of Malaysian dishes. I was a bit miffed because two things I ordered were sold out/out of stock and we had to reconsider. One was this awesome-sounding Malaysian taro dessert. The other was the coconut prawns but at the waitress's recommendations, I chose curry puffs instead.

Besides the puffs, we also ordered a hot and sour tofu soup, a beef brisket dish and a Malaysian lamb curry. Dessert was a banana fritter to share.

Curry puffs

The curry puffs exceeded expectation. Having just come back from Shanghai, my perceived standard of Australian 'yum cha style' food amounted to supermarket/frozen.

I can't vouch for how these puffs were made but they tasted different and fresher than the supermarket variety and were very nice to eat.

Hot and sour soup

Charlie loved the hot and sour soup but I thought it was 'OK' and started thinking about how I could make it myself. My mother makes the BEST hot and sour soup so to me, everything else pales.

Braised beef brisket with Chinese 5 spice

The beef brisket came out next. We were both very pleased at how large the serving was (being bargain hunters that we are). The flavors were good and more complex than the food court variety. I thought the meat was a little too dry. The lobok in the dish was watery and not so great but I finished off all the green vegetables just fine.

Kari Kambing, lamb pieces in a creamy coconut curry

Our lamb curry was different to what I expected. The description included the term 'coconut' so I would have liked something creamier and saucier with more coconut. The potato was unfortunately, uncooked. When I told Charlie, he didn't believe me but took a bite for himself and instantly decided to send the dish back. Our waitress was lovely about it - extremely apologetic and had no hesitations returning the dish to the kitchen.
When it came back, some pieces were good and some were still on the stiff side but we were full so couldn't be bothered to pursue it. Instead, the remainder of the lamb was packed in a takeaway container which (when reheated) made a perfect meal for the next day.

Banana fritter with vanilla ice-cream and chocolate sauce

There's not too much to say about the banana fritter. It was delicious and hit the spot but wasn't innovative or superior to any other such dessert I've tried in the past.

Waiting times were a bit longer than I would like. One thing I had problems with was the temperature of the hot dishes. I'm a bit fanatical about dishes being piping hot when they come out. If the dishes feel cooled at all, I start being skeptical about the cooking method (reheating, anyone?) and management (dishes sitting on bench for too long).

Charlie argues that he 'can't eat' hot dishes and prefers them to be at a more palatable temperature. Each to their own I guess but I'm very firm on my preference here.

The waitress who served us was extremely courteous and empathetical when we told her the potatoes were undercooked. She also chatted with us at the checkout and recommended their lunch time specials. Even though I'm let down that the dishes weren't hot, I'm open to trying Jindalee Orientals' lunch specials. The prices are VERY becoming (especially for dine-in) and simply because the girl bothered to be friendly! These things make a difference.

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