June 18, 2010
Master So Kitchen
Last night we felt like Chinese food.
It was a yucky cold night and for once we had no children in tow. Big J and I decided on Master So Kitchen at Kippax. It's a lovely place in Holt, West Belconnen. Open everyday but Mondays for lunch and dinner dine in and take away. There's lots of free parking out front and a couple of tables, but inside is much nicer.
The interior is a pretty pale green with printed window shades and wooden features including a nook, that all presents a fresh, relaxing atmosphere. On one side of the room are stand alone tables, while on the other there is a wrap around bench seat facing the tables.
It was a frantically busy Friday night and at 7pm the restaurant was nearly full to capacity.Takeaway orders were coming thick and fast, but this didn't cause any disruption to table service, and our meals came out hot and prompt.
We were seated straight away by the friendly staff, and even remembered from our last visit in a group 2 months ago. This was a nice touch and made us feel very comfortable..... until I began to wonder what it was about us that was so memorable.... didn't we tip enough? Did we make a big mess? I know we had a good time, so no complaints... Hmmmm.
The menu is full and interesting, stating that it's a mixture of modern Chinese, Malaysian and Thai cuisine. Now normally that would put me off ,thinking "lets just try and get one thing right at time," but the menu is clearly divided and the kitchen has stuck to the usual favourites of each to keep everyone happy.
When I asked about gluten-free options, the waiter got me a highlighted menu right away. It was nice to not need to go into long-winded explanations, or hear "I'll have to check with the chef"
The choices available to me were great. Even things I normally have to steer clear from. I immediately ordered them all. Well, not quite, but it was tempting. They even have a gluten-free selection of yum cha on the weekends.
BigJ and I decided on steamed Har Gau dumplings (I know, gluten-free dumplings!) and they were delicious. The prawn still had some resistance to it and the wrapping was nice and soft. They were presented in a little steamer basket with some hot chilli paste and were very cute.
For mains we Honey Prawn Fritters (again, yay!) and Lamb with Lemongrass and Chilli. We only ever order steamed rice when we go out as I like to taste my food properly without any competition.
The lamb was nice, coming out on a cast iron sizzle plate. It had plenty of flavour, and slices of hot chilli, but was starting to stick and burn to the mega hot dish.
Now the prawns. The best Honey Prawns I have eaten, ever.
Like toffee apples, just hot. The crispness of the batter but firm and juicy underneath And prawny. With less apple. The honey coating was fantastic. It was thick and clung heaviliy to the prawns, but somehow it wasn't cloying or overpowering. I know, how is that possible? The batter wasn't too thick and was nice and crunchy. You might wonder if you could still taste the prawns through all this yumminess? Well, yes, you could. They were firm and not mushy as in many a failed dish. You got a layer of crispness as you bit through each piece.
A lucky fluke? I hope not. I may just have to sample regularly to maintain strict quality control. My judgement may well be clouded by the fact that it's been so long since I've eaten this sort of thing. However, remember this is about what I like and not everyone will agree with my taste.
As we were finishing up, the owner, Gem, began cruising the room. She chatted to regulars and introduced herself to newcomers. Gem's usually front of house while her husband is head chef. Tonight being busy, she has been helping out in the kitchen. She is very sweet and made time for everybody although the place was still pumping.
The prices of Master So Kitchen are very reasonable for this quality of food. It may not be the most snazzy restaurant in town, but our dishes were fresh tasting and not heavy or greasy. Big J and I were certainly full and didn't really need to finish the lot.... but of course we did! We had a great night, didn't break the bank, and will certainly return.
So readers, what is your favourite InTolerant restaurant?