I think we’re kind of late bloomers when it comes to eating salted egg yolk dishes with our first introduction in Singapore earlier this year in the form of salted egg yolk mud crabs–yum! Since then, the Stranger has discovered salted egg yolk prawns at ‘that’ Chinese restaurant in Chinatown, the one on Grote street in the glass window paned building directly facing Moonta Street behind the bus terminal or better yet, where Cafe Primo used to be. Red Chilli Sichuan Restaurant is its name.
We visited the restaurant one Sunday lunch, mainly cause I had yet to try these prawns that the Stranger kept talking about and it was time that I got a taste. The restaurant has an immensely tall ceiling height which instantly adds this ‘grandness’ to the large and open space, however it did make me feel ‘small’ in terms of size and scale especially when I sat in their chairs, it felt like I was a ‘little kid in a big persons chair’. The tables and chairs were larger than normal, both with a gloss finish and hard sharp edges… in fact, there was even a ‘bum’ print/dent in the chairs to soften the ‘tush’ on the hard surface!
As I was perusing through the menu, I noticed that they were a franchise and had a restaurant in Glebe, Sydney… then it hit me. It’s the same hot pot restaurant that the Tiger and I used to frequent when we resided there! That definitely got me excited for our lunch. I left the ordering up to the Stranger considering that he had frequented Red Chilli a few times already. Of course, an order of the salted egg yolk prawns, a vegetable dish of eggplant and something that the Stranger had spied on during the other visits that he’s been there, a pork dish with pancakes like peking duck style wraps. Because he didn’t know what that particular dish was called, he pointed to the picture of the dish in their menu, can’t go wrong with a picture menu right?
Whilst we waited for our food, our waiter came by and poured the Stranger his beer, that was when I asked if they did hot pot at their restaurant as they do in Sydney. Strangely enough, our waiter started laughing to herself as she paused at my question whilst still pouring the beer… cue the Stranger and I giving each other the raised eyebrow look completely dumbfounded by her reaction… once she stopped laughing and composed herself, she said that no, they don’t do hot pot at this restaurant as the steam would set off the smoke alarms or something along the lines of that. We shrugged it off and assumed she meant that there wasn’t enough ventilation inside the premises for hot pot. Fair enough.
Salted egg yolk prawns; $28.00, braised eggplant with hot garlic sauce; $16.00, stir fried pork shreds with chilli and garlic sauce; $18.00
It didn’t take too long before all our dishes came out, none of which were presented that appetisingly but hey, it’s Chinese food, we don’t expect much–that includes service too. Ha! First up, the salted egg yolk prawns, plump juicy sweet prawns in a dry coating of a gritty, grainy and rich salted egg yolk marinade. Surprisingly a really tasty feed (as you’ve probably caught on, I don’t really rate Chinese food all that much!), a touch of natural sweetness from the prawns and a slightly salty and pleasantly grainy hit. It wasn’t salty at all and went down well with a serve of rice ($2.00 per person).
The eggplant was presented steaming hot in a clay pot, large strips of tenderly braised eggplant in a sweet and sticky caramelised garlic sauce with a pack of heat from the chilli. A tasty vegetable dish although a bit too much eggplant for one sitting between the pair us and the pool of oil that it was bathing in wasn’t a pretty sight either. Best ordered when shared between a lot of people or with an eggplant fanatic. As the kitchen staff presented the pork dish on our table, the Stranger immediately recognised that it was the wrong one and informed the staff member about the mix up. This was when the subpar service went from average to horrible. Minutes later, the waiter who originally took our order, came racing back to our table and basically chastised us, and went on to say that we ordered the wrong dish, ‘it’s not my fault’, etc etc. When the Stranger pointed at the picture in the menu, she did reconfirm to say ‘this one’ *points at chinese words* with the Stranger saying, yes, the one in the picture. From what we gathered, she didn’t want to get in trouble so threw the blame at us in an offensive manner. Hmph! Suffice to say, we were not impressed. At all. The Stranger, not wanting to cause another scene just kept the unwanted dish that we didn’t even bother touching but still had to pay for. Not such a pleasant experience that day! Any other restaurant and they would have rectified the situation immediately without the commotion.
So the dishes that we did want and ordered were tasty but from the service alone, we won’t be going back. There are plenty of other Chinese restaurants in the area that serve the same kind of fan fare and at a fraction of the price they charge, but having said that, I can do without Chinese food for a long while! 😛
PS. From reading the reviews on Zomato, we weren’t the only ones to be unimpressed with Red Chilli in regards to their service.
Red Chilli Sichuan Restaurant
86 Grote Street
Adelaide SA 5000
P 08 8231 9661