Red Lantern – Dinner – Surry Hills

A special occasion – a family member’s birthday and after watching some of Luke Nguyen’s tv show, I thought Red Lantern would be the perfect place for a birthday celebration.

I’ve actually walked past Red Lantern a few times and not known it was there. I had it in the back of my mind that it was further down the street.

Anyways, here we were and we wanted to try the degustation/tasting menu. There are 2 to choose from ($60 & $75) and we went for the pricier option (it was a special occasion after all).

I also decided to go for the wine pairing, which may explain why some of the food pics were a bit blurry (oops – sorry y’all). The wine pairing was so-so, some of it went really well with the food, others not so well.

Goi Cuon – Rice paper rolls

Vermicelli noodles, prawns, pork with various asian herbs inside. This was good but there’s only so much you can improve on something like this so I found that the taste & quality was comparable to something you’d find in cabramatta. If you weren’t doing the tasting menu, I would recommend cabramatta as better value for money.

Muc Rang Muoi – chilli salted squid

Perfectly cooked squid – it’s sad to say I’m actually quite used to tougher, slightly overcooked squid but there was none of this here. 🙂 This dish was wonderful and the wine pairing for this worked really well, definitely brought out the flavours.

Banh Bap Chien Tom – prawn & corn fritter

So simple, yet so tasty – this was one of my fave dishes of the night.

Goi Du Du – Vietnamese salad with shredded green papaya, prawns & pork

A typical Viet salad, very nicely done with a tangy dressing – would have liked if there had been more chilli in it, but that’s just me.

Goi Vit – duck & banana blossom salad with pickled veggies & Viet herb

This was really lovely, I was quite fond of the duck, it was a bit light on the banana blossom though.

Ca Sot Dua Ca – poached fish in prawn, tomato & coconut broth

Not being a fan of fish, this didn’t really appeal to me. I did try it though and the fish was not dry and the broth was lovely.

Cua Xao Xot XO – stir-fry crab, veggies & glass noodles with XO sauce

Really good flavours, but I’m used to spicier XO sauces – what can I say, I likes me chillies

Bo Luc Lac – sirloin with garlic, sesame & black pepper

I remember the episode in Luke Nguyen’s show where he made this and explained the meaning of luc lac – which is basically, the movement (shaking) of the pan while cooking.

The meat was very succulent & juicy with the meat nicely seared on the outside and was the fave of the birthday boy.

Suon Nuong – chargrilled pork marinated in lemongrass & honey

This was also one of the favs of the night. Tender & not overly sweet, lovely caramelised outside. When I normally get a meat marinated with lemongrass, the lemongrass is usually overpowering which has led to me having a slight aversion to the taste. This was well-flavoured and greatly appreciated.

Cai Xanh Xao – some requisite greenery

Dessert trio – Banh Cam Mang Cau, Che Chuoi Chung & Chuoi Chien

From the left was black sesame ice cream with a sesame dumpling filled with custard apple, the middle contained tapioca pudding with banana and cassava and on the right are coconut crumbed banana fritters with vanilla ice cream. Enjoyed by most of the table but as I’m not so fond of asian desserts, they were good, but they weren’t chocolate. 😉

I was actually disappointed that there was no coconut creme caramel as part of the dessert platter.

Of course, to me, that just meant I had to order it separately.

Kem Flan (Coconut creme caramel) – $15

Wow! It was absolutely divine – by far the best dessert of the night and one of my top dishes at Red Lantern. In fact, it was so good that when the birthday boy got home, he started googling recipes for how to make it.

Of course we haven’t yet perfected the recipe but once we do, I’ll blog about it.

All in all, a very good meal. And yes, I do believe it far surpasses anything I’ve tried in Cabramatta so far – it is worth paying that bit more for premium service & quality.

Anyway, now for the lowdown…

The good – Chilli squid, kem flan, chargrilled pork and service

The mediocre – the wine pairing (for me) was a hit & miss, part divine, part average;

The bad – can I count about a month prior when I rocked up sans reservations & the last table was taken right before me? Nah, then nothing to complain about here 😀

Would I go back? Yep, if just for the kem flan 😀

Details:

Red Lantern Vietnamese Restaurant

545 Crown Street Surry Hills NSW 2010

Phone: (02) 9698-4355 (bookings highly recommended)

http://www.redlantern.com.au/

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