Review: Lunch at Pan Asian

Review: Lunch at Pan Asian

Pan Asian recently opened its doors to the lunch crowd on Chapel St and seeing as I had a lunch time appointment in the area, I was quite keen to try it out.

If you have never been to Pan Asian then it’s about time you changed that. The exterior of the place looks somewhat daunting, with its tinted glass and if you peep in, the fancy looking interior makes one feel that this is an amazingly fancy place with prices way higher than the wallet could handle. But that couldn’t be further from the truth.

My dining companions were kind and generous enough to allow me to photograph their lunches so I’ll try to show the varied range of lunch items up for offer in this short review.

The Chinese Crispy Pork Belly Baguette with apple and cucumber, and light hoisin dressing ($12) was Violet‘s order. It does make you think immediately of Earl Canteen’s version of the Pork Belly, since Earl seems to have redefine Pork Belly Baguettes, but this was somewhat different. I wasn’t too fond of the baguette, but I do generally dislike baguettes as I find them a tad too hard and too chewy.

The Pork Belly did have a nice crisp skin but the flavours in the meat was the stand out of the dish. The burst of flavours, so refreshing and yet so interestingly asian played on the tongue. Unfortunately, it is then washed away by that baguette. Did I mention, I don’t like baguettes? Violet on the other hand, found it lovely. She loved the baguette and loved every bit of it, but it was rather huge for just one of her. But at 12 dollars? A bargain.

Sarah ordered Thai street style beef salad with cherry tomatoes and spanish onion ($12) and while I didn’t get to taste this, I was quite taken by the vibrant colours that just brought the dish to life.

Jimmy’s choice of the Chicken curry with rice had me wondering why it was only a mere $10. That’s bargain like you wouldn’t believe, especially on Chapel st.

Here’s my own lunch of Hainan poached chicken with ginger shallot salsa and fragrant lemongrass chilli sauce and rice ($11). Beautifully poached chicken, every bit as greasy as you’d want your Hainan chicken to be, with the only disappointment being the rice not being the same Hainan rice I was hoping it’d be. But the absolutely amazing lemongrass chilli sauce had me craving for more, and every day that I am there, I pester, nay, beg the kitchen for the recipe. At $11, I’d be there every single day if I could.

Pan Asian also serves the beautiful cupcakes from Sugadeaux and let me tell you, they are divine. I was quite lucky recently to have received cupcakes from the beautiful Sugadeux for winning her twitter competition and I was in cupcake heaven. You haven’t tasted an amazing cupcake, till you have tasted a Sugadeux cupcake, let me tell you that.

The dessert platter shown above was given to us as a complimentary gift from the owners of Pan Asian.

All in all, an amazing experience. Don’t like the stern exterior and fancy interior turn you away. Take a step in and embrace the vibrant colours that dance on the walls of Pan Asian, and ask the owner, Li, to tell you the stories of the beautiful girls who adorn those drawings. Take a look at the chandelier and marvel at the fact that it’s mostly made out of mixing bowls of various sizes and salt and pepper shakers. One thing to note however, that you shouldn’t be heading over to Pan Asian looking for authentic Malaysian/Singapore/ Thai food. The food is asian inspired and resonates strongly with the asian flavours and textures, but it isn’t authentic in the strictest sense of the word, but I often think that the ‘authentic’ debate is a slippery slope to nowhere anyways. But this is hardly important.

What is most important, is to enjoy your lunch. This is Chapel St, after all.

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Pan Asian

(03) 9533 7022
267 Chapel Street
Prahran, 3181
Web: Pan Asian

Review: Ripe Cafe in Sassafras, Dandenong.

Review: Ripe Cafe in Sassafras, Dandenong.

Everybody rushes to Miss Marple’s because let’s face it. An english cottage in a quaint little town is much more appealing to have tea in than the tiny not-so-shiny shops next to it.

As a result, many will overlook the treasures and the amazing gems that these tiny shops hide within them. Like Ripe cafe, who is literally just a few steps away from the always-crowded Miss Marple’s. But those in the know will know that Ripe is the cafe to be at. And not its imposing and often way-too-crowded neighbour.

Entering Ripe, one is greeted by jars and jars of jam, conserve, chutney and other local produce. The dining hall doesn’t sit many, but the roaring fire in the midst of the room makes the entire room warm and welcoming. It made us feel immediately at ease, especially with the rather heavy fog creeping onto us.

Settling down in front of the crackling fire, I wriggled my toes happily as I spotted the lemon tart grinning widely at me through their display counter. I knew what I was having for tea!

My afternoon tea mates were the usual housemate tag-along, Violet and Jimmy America. Lovely company, beautiful settings, roaring fire and a lemon tart to cuddle. What more could a girl ask for on a Sunday afternoon?

Jimmy and Violet ordered a sandwich. I’m afraid to say that I have forgotten which sandwich it was. My focus of the afternoon was most delightfully focused on the lemon tart that I was already eating with my eyes, so have a delightfully blurred photo for this nameless sandwich.

I didn’t taste it, so I can’t vouch for it. But I do believe Jimmy and Violet both enjoyed it.

But let’s move on to my dish. Lemon tart.

I should explain the obsession: at the time we visited Ripe, I was craving Lemon Tart. Major Craving.

I tried to hunt down lemon tarts in my area, but was terribly disheartened after tasting a particularly tasteless and unsatisfactory Lemon Tart at Chadstone. I could have made my own, but I didn’t feel inspired to make it. I just wanted to eat it.

So how did the lemon tart at Ripe fare? It was amazing. Every bit as sweet and as tart as I wanted it to be. It was a foodgasm in my mouth and I was in 7th heaven. Lemon Tart? Oh yeah, baby.

That hit the spot so well, it cured the craving immediately and I haven’t craved lemon tart since. And if I did, I know where I’d be going for my hit. Oh Ripe.

*wipes drool off keyboard*

The housemate ordered an Apple and Rhubarb Crumble. Unfortunately, this was after my crumble adventure, so this crumble really fell flat. It just didn’t pack a punch like our crumble did.

So we won some, and we lost some. But I’ve heard that their Baguettes are to-die-for, so I’ll most definitely be back to try it out again. Besides, who can say no to warm lazy Sunday afternoons and the most delightful teas?

Ripe – Australian Produce

(03) 9755 2100
Mount Dandenong
376-378 Mount Dandenong Rd
Sassafras, 3787

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