Red Lantern on Riley, Surry Hills
Farewells are always sad and I am not great at saying goodbye. There are usually tears involved and lots of it. Even though this was a sad farewell, it wasn’t forever and the fact that I knew I would be back in Sydney later this year made it a little bit bearable. So for those that don’t know, ‘The Mother’, Dragon and I have moved to Hong Kong. However, like I said earlier, I will be coming to Australia a few times a year so will definitely catch up again with most of you.
Red lantern on Riley Street is the second restaurant opened by Luke Nguyen, his first being on Crown Street which I have yet to try. The entrance is discrete, no large advertising neon signs and inside, dark wood furniture, swish décor and very elegant really.
We started with Goi Ga ($22) – master stock poached burrawon chicken, jelly fish and cabbage salad. The dish does contain nuts but we asked for it without as ever since I was pregnant and had dragon I am now allergic to nuts!! Crazy! Anyhow, this was a very light and refreshing dish, lots of flavours and the chicken was succulent.
I LOVE salt and pepper squid so couldn’t resist but get the Muc rang Muoi ($23) – lightly battered chili salted squid with fresh lemon and white pepper dipping sauce. The batter was tempura like, very light and crispy and the squid soft, tender and incredibly delicious.
The Banh Tom ($16) – Aunty 5’s rice cakes with tiger prawns, caramelized pork, pork floss and shallot oil was amazingly good! The rice cakes were crunchy and tasty. I especially loved the caramelized pork and pork floss.
We had the special of the day, which are pork ribs with pineapple and lotus roots. The pork ribs were cooked to perfection, tender and fell right off the bone.
Next, Vit Quay ($38) – roasted burrawong pekin duck with spiced orange sauce, fennel and watercress salad. The duck was succulent and meat-y and the salad was incredibly refreshing!
We thought we would try the Cari De ($33) – goat curry cooked in turmeric and coconut milk and I was pleasantly surprised! The goat meat tender and the curry was delicious and not over powering.
You can never go wrong with Ca Hap (market price) – steamed barramundi with bean thread noodles, shitake, soy bean and tamari. The barramundi was fresh, and I loved the combination of noodles which was vermicelli, shitake and soy bean.
Forgot to take a picture of muong xao chao ($16) – water spinach wok tossed with fermented bean curd sauce. It is a popular dish in country towns and Buddhist temples and one of my favourites if its done properly. The fermented tofu was delicious, not too salty and very subtle.
Now, dessert, C couldn’t help but order the Rau Kem flan ($15) – coconut crème caramel made with free range eggs and coconut milk. I didn’t have any of this but he seemed to have enjoyed it.
C2, and I thought we would share the banana fritters, chuoi chien ($15) – organic banana fritters crumbed in coconut rice, palm sugar caramel and tapioca sauce served with vanilla ice cream and oh my, the banana fritters were soft and had a crunchy exterior, the crumbed coconut rice was subtle in flavour. The palm sugar caramel I adored and the tapioca was a wonderful complement.
T had the Com nep voi trai cay chung ($15) – black sticky rice with seasonal poached fruit, it was such a stunning dish. Served with poached pear, pomegranate it was a relatively heavy dessert, don’t think I could have finished it all but a couple of mouthfuls was definitely enough.
Service wonderful, one of the waitresses did forget that I had a nut allergy, and happily replaced the dish without nuts. The desserts were also complementary which I thought was very thoughtful and nice! I thought all the dishes were executed well, and were incredibly tasty. Would definitely come back to try their other dishes.
It was great catching up with you all and I am sure I will see you all again soon. If you are ever passing through or visiting Hong Kong, let me know, more than happy to have a meal or two!
GA’s ratings: 8 / 10
Red Lantern on Riley
60 Riley Street
Surry Hills 2010
Ph: +61 2 9698 4355