24/262 Warrigal Road, Warrigal Square, Eight Mile Plains
My family is not the most traditional of Chinese but we try to follow along with the celebratory occasions like Chinese New Year to get the family together and enjoy some good food. My grandparents proposed going out to eat this year. We were apprehensive about how busy the Asian restaurants would be on the actual Chinse New Year weekend so we brought our gathering forward by a week. My parents had reported a good meal at Little Nyonya and I was curious about the restaurant because I'd never it tried before so that's what we decided on.
Marc and I arrived first, which is a huge rarity for us. We were taken to the round table that my dad booked and I noticed that the restaurant was already nearly packed. It is a medium-sized restaurant with stylized old-fashioned Chinese teak furnishings and paintings. I quite liked the decor.
Little Nyonya is part of the Little Singapore chain. There is a menu with many Malaysian style dishes that echo what is found at Little Singapore. Most of these came with rice and were more suited to lunch. A separate menu sheet listed some Little Nyonya speciality dishes that sounded more appropriate for dinner and for shared eating. Pretty much everything we ordered was from this second menu. There was also a beverage list of bubble teas and other flavored drinks, as well as a book of wine, beer and spirits available.
My parents chose the Peking duck 2 course special because they had tried it before and liked it. I was surprised that Peking duck was on offer at a Malaysian restaurant but it's one of my favorite dishes on the planet so I was hardly going to complain. It is rarely done well in Australia though so I had my doubts.
Peking duck meat and skin
The first course that was presented was the traditional Peking duck wraps, complete with the sweet and tangy shallot sauce, sliced scallions, sliced cucumber and the duck meat itself. Each slice of meat was shaved to include a part of skin.
My duck wrap
These duck wraps were very good. The skin was glass-like crispy and the meat was flavorsome and tender. I liked the attention to detail in that only the white of scallions was sliced. The sauce was well-balanced and authentic, unlike many other restaurants that use pretend bottled 'Peking' sauce.
Singapore chili crab
Next came our other main feature of the feast, the Singapore chili crab. This was something I had been looking forward to because it's another of my favorite dishes. Two favorites in one night! What a lucky girl. We all found this to be disappointing though. The crab itself was small and didn't contain a lot of meat. The sauce was mostly just sweet and lacked the complexity of flavor that makes a successful Singapore chili crab. Everyone in my family agreed that it was far inferior to the last version of this dish they'd tried, which was from Kingsleys.
Crispy stir-fried duck noodles
We then got the second course of duck, which was a crispy stir-fried noodle. The noodles were so crunchy, it was as though they were deep fried into a pancake shape. For all I know, they may have been actually deep fried but I didn't care because it was so delicious. The duck meat had been stir-fried with bean sprouts and carrots and poured over the top. It was really hard to stick to my low-carb dietary plan with this dish.
Next, several dishes were brought out at once. One was the roast pork, served with some pickled vegetables. I've had bad roast pork recently but this one was done well. The skin was crunchy and the fatty portion of the cut wasn't excessive.
Stir-fried green beans with savory mince
The green beans would have claim as my favorite dish of the night if I hadn't also loved the Peking duck wrap and duck noodles so much. It may be strange to pronounce beans as anything remarkable but these were cooked really well. The skin was blistered and soaked in flavor from the sauce yet somehow, they still retained their green colouring. They were topped with a savory mince and dried fish mixture that made this dish very delectable.
Butter black pepper beef
The butter peppred beef was extremely tender. I personally was not a huge fan of this dish because I don't love black pepper as a dominating element but that's just me. I really liked the crispy flakes around the side, though we couldn't agree on what they were. At first I thought they were corn flakes but they tasted more like deep-fried wonton wrappers.
Sweet and sour pork spare ribs
The sweet and sour pork spare ribs were more to my liking. I generally order a sweet and sour when I succumb to Chinese takeaway. On the bone, the pork is much tastier. I could happily munch away at a plateful of this stuff.
Tofu with seafood sauce
The final dish was the tofu. My parents had raved about it claiming they were so impressed when they tried it before. I failed to see just how good tofu could be but I was swayed by the dish when I tried it. It was a special tofu with an eggy taste, silky texture and a crinkly, spongey exterior. Tofu often lacks in flavor but this had absorbed the flavor of the sauce it was immersed in. I heard my dad explain that the sauce was meant to be based from dried scallops.
We all really enjoyed our feast at Little Nyonya. The dishes were consistently good, with the exception of the Singapore chili crab, which was our only disappointment of the night. I thought the duck dishes were great but also loved the beans. The service was reasonably fast and attentive. Others must agree with us because the restaurant was full the entire time we were there.