Shop 10, 17 Barrett Street, Robertson
It seems that my Korean food addiction has passed and been (temporarily, at least) replace by cravings for Chinese food. I'm Chinese-born but once I moved out of home, I lost touch with Chinese cuisine. Mum's no longer available to cook it for me and as much as I love cooking, I just find Chinese cooking too hard to grasp. Too many types of ingredients are involved, most of the delicious dishes require deep frying, and everything has to be done quickly and 'to taste'.
On the weekends when I visit my parents, I still get them to take me out for lunch at Sunnybank but in recent weeks, I've been a slack daughter and haven't had as many opportunities to catch up. I took matters into my own hands and asked Jenny to suggest a Chinese restaurant we could go to with a group of friends.
Jenny's dad recommended 3 Bamboo in Robertson. I hadn't been there before so I was eager to try it. We ended up going for dinner as a group of 7 last Friday.
The restaurant is tiny but it was absolutely packed the night we got there. I definitely recommend making a booking especially if, like us, you have a large group. The menu is quite hefty with a large range of dishes to choose from. Luckily for me (because I can't read Chinese), there were photos and English translations of each dish. Jenny and I were given free reign by the rest of the group to order whatever we wanted. We ended up choosing a 6 person banquet with an extra dish of deep-fried tofu.
The banquet had a set selection of dishes, which made it easy for us because we had to make less decisions. Everything was brought out very speedily (including one crab dish that wasn't ours but we were tempted to hang onto because it looked so delicious). I don't mind fast service but I can imagine my parents complaining that if food's brought out too quick, certain dishes start to cool down before you even get up to tasting them.
The first item was the complimentary bone broth. It was more content-laden than most complimentary restaurant broths which tend to be a mix of water and MSG. This had a bit of meaty creaminess to it.
Chicken with dipping sauce
Our first 'proper' dish was chicken with a fermented bean sauce. It was a simple Asian-style bbq chicken dish and I think the skin could have been crispier. I did quite like the dipping sauce though.
Lobster with ginger and shallot on noodles
The main even that I was really looking forward to was the lobster. I don't know if it's considered strange to have lobster cravings but I had been craving lobster all week, specifically the Chinese kind stir-fried with shallot and ginger. The 3 Bamboo version was exactly what I was thinking of with sweet, succulent chunks of lobster on top of a bed of noodles. The noodles are actually my favourite part of this type of lobster dish. They work to soak up the sauce and end up tasting amazing.
Fish in a pot (don't know what it's actually called)
There was a strange fish in metal dish that I avoided for a while, only because it was out of reach. Finally, Jenny grabbed a portion and offered to share. She freaked out when she realised it was the fish head and an eye was literally staring right at her. I ate my portion and thought it was alright but nothing special. I'm not a big fish eater (unless it's raw salmon in sashimi).
Oysters with spicy noodle topping
The oysters were sitting there untouched for a long time before I broke the seal and snatched one up. We had 7 people at our table and only 6 oysters so I think everyone was avoiding them because someone would clearly miss out. Well... that someone wasn't going to be me! Hien ended up sacrificing his share of oyster for more lobster, which IMO is a fair trade. The oysters were enormous. I liked the spicy crumble topping but question the necessity of the vermicelli on top.
Pork belly and asparagus
By the time the pork and asparagus was brought out, I was feeling quite full and losing interest. I'm not a fan of asparagus at the best of times but then I convinced myself I needed to have SOME vegetables this meal and tried a piece. It was actually much tastier than I expected and cooked well, not too crunchy or mushy.
Our additional dish, the deep-fried tofu, ended up being a let down. The flavour was OK and the tofu was very soft and tender but the coating wasn't crunchy at all. It had an egginess to it that we didn't love either.
Orange beef short ribs
The final dish of the banquet, and one that drew many confused comments, was the orange beef. The boys thought it tasted just like orange jaffa. For some, like myself and Jenny, it was a winning combination and we really liked the flavour. For others, like Marc, it was too strange having such a desserty element to a savoury dish. This was one dish I found myself going back for several times.
I was very content with my meal at 3 Bamboo. It was good value, filling and the food very much satisfied my cravings. The diners were almost all Asian so one would assume that implies the food is quite authentic. The environment is definitely authentic because it's so chaotic, crammed and noisy. I wouldn't say any individual dish was very outstanding (besides the lobster, but that's because it's lobster) but the overall impression was positive.