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PCL
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a loooooooong lunch... sushi, sashimi and lots of sake... i'll try to get a cabcharge too!!

"Coffee and cigarettes... the breakfast of champions!"

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a loooooooong lunch... sushi, sashimi and lots of sake... i'll try to get a cabcharge too!!

Excellent.

While it's on my mind, if you've got the time and inclination, let me know if you want to have lunch at Rockpool B&G too. I still haven't been there yet.

Daniel Chan aka "Shinboners"
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Had dinner there about a year ago. Pricey, nothing to write home about. We could do better at home. Lethlean be damned.

"Coffee and cigarettes... the breakfast of champions!"

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  • 2 weeks later...

Went to tea house on Sunday.

Was decent food, but I didn't understand the hype.

I could tell the quality of ingredients was top notch, and the reason for the price.

However, the sauces were all wrong for some of the dishes we had.

We had:

- Lettuce thing. (some call it lettuce delight, lettuce bao, etc).

Was nothing special. Just stock standard, neither good nor bad. Nothing memorable.

- Peking Duck.

Was also stock standard and nothing to really be impressed with. Pricy tho.

- Salt and Pepper prawns.

This was actually done pretty well, and was the only dish we had that I felt that everything was done right to. There was no complaints from anyone with this dish in regards to the food. Only drawback was that I could get something 80% as good for 1/2 the price at QV.

- Sweet & Sour pork.

This was actually not even as nice as the cheaper establishments i.e. dumpling king. The pork was good, but the sauce was fail...

- Sichuan style steak.

The meat was great. Very tender and nice. Pity the sauce ruined the entire thing. The sauce was completely wrong. It's extremely hard to describe why it's wrong... but it is. Once you taste it, you'd know. These guys need to take sichuan lessons from the cheaper counter parts i.e. Dainty Sichuan foods.

- Snow Pea sprouts in Garlic sauce.

There was no garlic. It was like eating snow pea sprouts lightly tossed in hot oil + salt. Very very disappointing.

It's a pity I couldn't try the "w??? chicken?", which people say is good here. Maybe that dish might have changed my opinion? I won't be returning for it, though. Not worth the money to eat quality ingredients cooked wrong. I could do that cheaper at home, AND do it better.

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This is strange indeed.

I'll be passing on your comments to the owners of Tea House.

I was there twice in March and we were not disappointed, but then again, I've never seen a menu there, nor have I had sweet and sour pork there. We typically have great big whopping Chinese family meals there and never have we been let down.

But jkim, you seem someone accustomed to strong flavours, and one should bear in mind that Tea House is a Cantonese restaurant, and flavouring for dishes such as the snow pea sprouts (which happens to be a favourite) is quite subtle.

As for the beef, I don't touch the sauce, I just ask for some mustard.

Should have tried the roasted quails. They are the best in the business, but may be a bit bland for some :wink:

"Coffee and cigarettes... the breakfast of champions!"

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  • 2 weeks later...
But jkim, you seem someone accustomed to strong flavours, and one should bear in mind that Tea House is a Cantonese restaurant, and flavouring for dishes such as the snow pea sprouts (which happens to be a favourite) is quite subtle.

As for the beef, I don't touch the sauce, I just ask for some mustard.

I've had Chinese at various other restaurants, both pricy and not... well I think I have cantonese food at least twice a month. The snow pea sprouts is a very common dish at all establishments. However, I've found that the liberal use of garlic (visible chopped garlic) is common. It looked (and tasted) like Tea House had westernized the dish by frying only a small amount of garlic lightly in oil and then discarding the garlic as to only use the oil. Generally the chopped garlic would be served with the dish. So i'm not sure where you're coming from with that comment.

As for the beef, the dish name was "beef in Sichuan sauce", and was basically 2 very nice and tender steak fillets, covered with disgusting sauce that was done completely wrong. And also, if i were to go for a beef / mustard steak, I'd go to a steak house (i.e. meat & wine co @ southbank) or a western restaurant (i've found the steaks at the point or nr. 8 to be great) rather than a chinese restaurant. The whole point of having a beef dish at a chinese restaurant is to have it their style...

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yup okay whatever.

to each their own.

beef in sichuan sauce at tea house... never had it, but then again i've never seen a menu there.

happy eating friend.

"Coffee and cigarettes... the breakfast of champions!"

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But jkim, you seem someone accustomed to strong flavours,

I've had Chinese at various other restaurants, both pricy and not... well I think I have cantonese food at least twice a month. The snow pea sprouts is a very common dish at all establishments. However, I've found that the liberal use of garlic (visible chopped garlic) is common. It looked (and tasted) like Tea House had westernized the dish by frying only a small amount of garlic lightly in oil and then discarding the garlic as to only use the oil. Generally the chopped garlic would be served with the dish. So i'm not sure where you're coming from with that comment.

Surely your preference to have the chopped garlic in the dish supports PCL's point about you preferring strong flavours?

And just because most restaurants do the dish in a traditional way doesn't mean that the Tea House has to follow suit. If anything, I think it's a good thing that there are some Chinese restaurants "refining" their dishes. The French, Italians, Spanish, and Japanese are reknowned for their ability to refine and take their cuisines into new directions. It would be good for Chinese cuisine if we had more chefs following this lead.

Daniel Chan aka "Shinboners"
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Actually, I don't think they have 'westernised' the dish, but have probably refined it in the Cantonese manner.

"Coffee and cigarettes... the breakfast of champions!"

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But jkim, you seem someone accustomed to strong flavours,

I've had Chinese at various other restaurants, both pricy and not... well I think I have cantonese food at least twice a month. The snow pea sprouts is a very common dish at all establishments. However, I've found that the liberal use of garlic (visible chopped garlic) is common. It looked (and tasted) like Tea House had westernized the dish by frying only a small amount of garlic lightly in oil and then discarding the garlic as to only use the oil. Generally the chopped garlic would be served with the dish. So i'm not sure where you're coming from with that comment.

Surely your preference to have the chopped garlic in the dish supports PCL's point about you preferring strong flavours?

My response was actually not in response to that section you've cut but the "flavouring for dishes such as the snow pea sprouts (which happens to be a favourite) is quite subtle." part of it. To state that something "is so" would suggest that this is the rule of thumb for the particular dish, and not a house variant. Thus I have offerred, based on experiences, insight to the contrary.

As for my preference on flavours, it really depends on the dish, and how much natural flavour of the main ingredient would be desired. For example, when consuming fresh live lobster sashimi, I would not tend to use any more sauce than a hint of salt sesame and sesame oil. Something like the standard wasabi and soy combination would overpower the flavour.

BTW it's fine to have house variants. There's nothing wrong with that. Variant dishes have been known to become completely new classics throughout history. For example, the popular Bu Dae Jji Ge, was just a variant of Kim Chi Jji Ge, using cheap manufactured ingredients, but became popular so gave birth to a new name. I have nothing against variants, as long as they are acknowledge as such, or have some kind of hint what to expect. My thought on variants is that customer expectations drive half the satisfaction gained. If you were feeling in the mood for some garlic, and you ordered a particular dish based on "in garlic sauce" and it did not taste like garlic at all; or you were in the mood for some spicy dish and ordered based on "in Sichuan sauce", and it was not spicy, then of course you would be disappointed and down rate the food. If you ordered a house specialty, or some tagged variant, then you would be more receptive of newer flavours.

And PCL, I disagree with the "refined" comment, and feel you are being over-protective of the establishment for reasons unknown to me.

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I like the place a lot, so I'm protective of it.

what, you think i'm a shareholder? go ahead, ask them next time you're there, but i doubt it.

please stop making baseless comments about me. i'm getting pretty sick of this whole conversation which is kind of pointless.

"Coffee and cigarettes... the breakfast of champions!"

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I like the place a lot, so I'm protective of it.

what, you think i'm a shareholder? go ahead, ask them next time you're there, but i doubt it.

please stop making baseless comments about me. i'm getting pretty sick of this whole conversation which is kind of pointless.

I'm sorry that you feel that way. But I would like to mention that I think it is you who make baseless comments, and not I.

I said I don't understand why you are being protective. I did not hint that you are a share holder. Actually, if I am free to voice my views about you, I will (Edit: in order to avoid further misunderstandings between us). I think you are a white person, and thus unlikely to be a shareholder of the establishment. I said "for reasons unknown to me", because it seems to be one of the following:

1) You are a huge fan and can't discuss like objective/critical *customers*.

2) You are egotistical and do not honor other people's tastes. Your tastes must always be right. Other people's experiences either didn't happen or their tastes are weird if they disagree with your experiences.

3) You have something against me and just like to disagree to me.

To me, you come across as very hostile and condescending. It doesn't look like you address comments to other posters so. Maybe we got off on the wrong foot or something? Do you want to share your reasons for being so?

Edited by jkim (log)
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No need to get racial.

This is getting quite funny actually.

Go on.

"Coffee and cigarettes... the breakfast of champions!"

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No need to get racial.

How was my comment racial? That I assumed you were a white person from the way you speak, and that my assumption on Tea House is that its owners would be Chinese? Am I confusing racial with racist, and you don't mean what I think you mean?

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Nice one Dan!!

It is quite ron-rey here.

Racial = racial comment, not necessarily racist, and last I checked, Australia is an equal opportunity country where we try to look beyond race. For that reason, I'm not going to talk about race, unless strictly related to food.

finally Jkim, I don't know what you think I mean, nor do I really care given that I made it clear in my opinion, but do please continue to humor me. I find you amusing.

"Coffee and cigarettes... the breakfast of champions!"

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Here, let me try to ... not so much change the negativity, but rather divert it elsewhere:

I've been to Press Club twice now for their sunday greek-tapas-lunch thing, and both times wish I'd spent the money elsewhere.

It's that usual thing of NOT that the food's inedible or poorly done, just that it's so standard and lacking much imagination that very few of the (admittedly many courses) stand out or surprise. I suppose Press Club would counter with "the point isn't to surprise, just to be solid and greek-home-style legit", but the praise it's garnered made me expect that they'd push the food above the ordinary.

I could be missing something, as I've never come across a review or comment of anything other than the v. highest praise. Perhaps i should try the normal menu rather than the Sunday special "homestyle"/masa sitting. Like I said, it's a great setting and atmosphere, but the food always seems 'merely' solid, and disappoints as a result. Maybe it's because I'm not Greek? (although I am extremely white).

I now return you to your regularly scheduled fisticuffs.

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Kanga, the same happens with Cafe di Stasio in my experience in the past.

"Coffee and cigarettes... the breakfast of champions!"

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I could be missing something, as I've never come across a review or comment of anything other than the v. highest praise.  Perhaps i should try the normal menu rather than the Sunday special "homestyle"/masa sitting.  Like I said, it's a great setting and atmosphere, but the food always seems 'merely' solid, and disappoints as a result. Maybe it's because I'm not Greek? (although I am extremely white).

It would be an interesting comparison. But as you said yourself, the homestyle food is about comfort, whilst his normal menu would be about the WOW factor.

I'm not a big fan of Greek food (the odd souvlaki notwithstanding), so I probably wouldn't go for the Sunday lunch. But from what I've seen in the Press Club cookbook, I wouldn't mind giving their normal menu a go.

I now return you to your regularly scheduled fisticuffs.

Pass me another beer, mate.

Edited by Shinboners (log)
Daniel Chan aka "Shinboners"
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PCL, So you won't deny your hostility?

Kanga, I've had the opposite experience as you at some other places, who I felt were trying to be too original. To me, creativity comes second to taste of the food. I was highly disappointed at some places that had very good reviews (i.e. the Japanese place at the corner of Little collins?? or was it flinders lane?? and Spring; or Mercers) because I thought the food didn't really taste that great. I haven't seen any negative reviews IRT these places, not that I'd been actively looking. The positive reviews, which I saw before visiting, were the reason for me going in the first place.

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PCL, So you won't deny your hostility?

Kanga, I've had the opposite experience as you at some other places, who I felt were trying to be too original.  To me, creativity comes second to taste of the food.

It's a fine line and highly subjective. In the context of food, 'creativity' is very much bound with 'taste'... so in my opinion, they aren't really separable. "Creativity", among other things, means finding new ways to surprise (not over(or under)whelm) the tastebuds. It doesn't come before or after taste, it's one (generic) description of a taste. To me. But I do take your point about 'trying too hard to be original.'

In this particular case, given this chef's pedigree, I suppose I'm saying I was expecting more. I never went to Reserve while it was open though wish I had.

On the matter of the Sunday masa v. regular menu, I do feel I should retract my equating the two, given the Press Club's description of the sunday lunch: "Masa, the friendly word for 'eat' has been designed to nurture our Hellenic souls with good wholesome mezze food to be shared with friends and family. 12 courses $55." I can't argue that I got exactly as promised, it's just my favourite. And it's not bad value for money.

Having said all that, I probably won't go to try the 'real' restaurant now, because I wasn't overly impressed by the experience with the masa.

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Here, let me try to ... not so much change the negativity, but rather divert it elsewhere:

I've been to Press Club twice now for their sunday greek-tapas-lunch thing, and both times wish I'd spent the money elsewhere.

It's that usual thing of NOT that the food's inedible or poorly done, just that it's so standard and lacking much imagination that very few of the (admittedly many courses) stand out or surprise. I suppose Press Club would counter with "the point isn't to surprise, just to be solid and greek-home-style legit", but the praise it's garnered made me expect that they'd push the food above the ordinary. 

I could be missing something, as I've never come across a review or comment of anything other than the v. highest praise.  Perhaps i should try the normal menu rather than the Sunday special "homestyle"/masa sitting.  Like I said, it's a great setting and atmosphere, but the food always seems 'merely' solid, and disappoints as a result. Maybe it's because I'm not Greek? (although I am extremely white).

I now return you to your regularly scheduled fisticuffs.

I think that it would be worth comparing the normal to the lunch menu, after all that is the main event. But I will list what I like in The Press Club.

Generosity (both in the service and meal)

Staff

Interesting wine

Technique hidden in the food, rather the food hidden in the technique

Interesting flavor combinations

Interesting philosophy, looking towards fine dining in a cuisine that isn't normally associated with fine dining (I imagine that there are even a few threads on egullet which will talk convincingly on why there is no Greek fine dining etc).

I find it near impossible to judge a restaurant meal on the food alone, when I have tried I have never enjoyed the experience. Putting this aside, I know what you mean, some of the dishes are very simple and homey and when I eat these types of dishes I tend to thing "I could have done that at home". For me that balance between wow food and homey food was about right, and the other factors that I listed above make it a good venue for me.

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Uh, i think my thread's been hijacked by someone who's hell bent that I'm one white hostile mofo, and a discussion on the finer esoteric divisions between subjective 'taste' and 'refinement'.

Or whatever.

And in response to Jkim's final volley, I won't respond because I don't think it deserves one. Later gators. Good to see this place flourishing.

"Coffee and cigarettes... the breakfast of champions!"

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Just chiming in to ask, what do you guys think would be a good selection of fairly central must-go places to hit in Melbourne, given a flying visit of three, maybe four days?

(I'm thinking of surprising my Boy with a mystery trip for his birthday later this year. Shh, don't tell! He'll kill me if he finds out I'm planning this! :rolleyes: )

Is Nobu at the Crown worth a look? I'm fairly leery of hype. We tend to prefer places where the food is the main thing, with a nicely understated vibe.

What about Fifteen? Or Vue de Monde (it didn't seem like too much of a circus last time I was there)?

We won't really be blessed with the ability to journey too far away from the CBD, I'd imagine. Perhaps a short tram ride, or shanks' mare may be the go.

Just tentative planning, really. Any suggestions gratefully accepted over here! :biggrin:

" ..Is simplicity the best

Or simply the easiest

The narrowest path

Is always the holiest.. "

--Depeche Mode - Judas

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