Monday, January 20, 2014

Red Opium - My Birthday Treat

My husband decided to surprise me with a dinner date to the Red Opium, one of the hottest places to eat in Perth at the moment.

Red Opium features what they call, Thai Tapas.  Now I love tapas because I get to taste several types of dishes, while not getting filled up on any particular one, and I LOVE Thai food.  I would count Thai as one of my favorite cuisines, next to Japanese.

Mr Bauer admittedly, is not a fan of Thai food, and only eats it to satisfy my craving, so this "review" would be a good balance of both of our tastes.

The first thing about Red Opium, is that it is located in the basement of the most nondescript building, but once I entered, I was swept away by the dark, red & maroon interior that made me feel like I was in Old Shanghai.

By the way, it is almost impossible to get a table at Red Opium, and we were very lucky to be seated due to my husband's perseverance and charm.. haha.  We were among the first to be seated and by the time our first dish came, the whole restaurant was filled.  Perhaps it was the dark, mysterious decor of the place, or the fact that aside from us, and a German couple, every other patron there consisted of Asian women with Caucasian men, but we soon felt like we were out of Perth and had flown right into Bangkok.

First order of the day, Cha Yen - Thai Milk Tea!
It was full bodied, with a rich tea taste that wasn't overpowered by milk.
Best thing, for $4.50, it came in a huge jug that lasted us throughout dinner!

My sweet hubby and I, waiting anxiously for our food.
Interestingly, apart from a lone Thai server, all the other servers had a distinct Singaporean accent.  
I'm guessing they were either from Singapore of Malaysia.
The service was very very good!  
We were always checked on and asked if everything was to our liking.  
This may seem like nothing, but think about it, these days, where can we go that would give us such time and attention?  I only recall such service on the Business Class flights with Singapore Airlines.

The first starter, Yin and Yang Dips absolutely blew me away!
The dip in the background is a spicy minced pork tomato dip and the one in the foreground is the creamy prawn and minced coconut dip.
Both were so fragrant and exploding with different tastes, especially the coconut one!
Mr Bauer, who usually does not enjoy many, conflicting tastes in his mouth, gave this the two thumbs up.  The only problem is that the serving size was too tiny!
I seriously need a hugeass bowl of that creamy coconut dip, pronto!

The second starter, Salmon Ceviche $17.90 is my favorite dish of all.
 I love sashimi, and words cannot describe how beautiful this tasted, 
with a mix of lemon, onions, chillies, and a generous drizzle of truffle oil, topped with caviar.  
The serving size is also respectable, I had enough to keep eating it throughout dinner!

Our third starter, is an old Thai favourite, Larb Gai (Thai Chicken Salad).
I always order this whenever we go for Thai, so I've tasted a fair number of different sorts of Larb.
I found this so-so, preferring to have a stronger blend of spices in my Larb,  
but Mr Bauer was raving about this particular Larb, saying this is the best he has ever had.

Our fourth and final starter, Son-in-Law Eggs, or double-fried eggs drizzled in sweet sauce 
are a traditional favorite.  
Apparently, they were named such because moms would cook it as a 
warning to their future son-in-law to behave or have their nuts served up next.  
I found this dish interesting, but too sweet for my taste.  Plus, I am not a fan of hard boiled eggs. 

 We ordered two mains, and the first was this deep fried fish dish.
It was pretty ordinary, and I found the taste of fish overpowered by a thick tomato taste and the deep-fried batter.  
I also did not enjoy the chunks of peanuts they threw over it.  
To me, it tastes more like something I would eat at a local, Singaporean Zhi Char (cheap, home-style cuisine) and was not worth the price.  
Mr Bauer seemed to agree, because we each too one piece, and took away the rest.

It is a good thing we did too, because the final dish that came 
demanded all of our remaining stomach space - The F-Duck.
This is a crispy-skinned, roasted duck leg sitting in a pond of thick coconut red curry filled with veggies, pineapple and lychees.  
It was divine.  Mr Bauer's favorite dish that night.
Now, the interesting thing about this dish is that, when you eat the duck, 
you go... ok, good duck.  And when you sip the red curry, you go... ok, nice red curry.

But when you have the duck TOGETHER with the red curry, something amazing happens.
It's almost like the fat from below the duck skin melts into the hot red curry and creates this buttery, creamy texture, that swirls around the crispy duck skin and envelopes the tender duck.

All the reviews you might have read, raving about The F-Duck?  True.

We truly did not have space for dessert, but we were told that the choices for that night were Mango Sticky Rice, a trio of ice-creams, or a Chef's Surprise. The dessert menu changes every night.

Red Opium is rated #8 out of 1496 restaurants in Perth

 Their website claims that the restaurant accepts cash only, 
but we were able to pay with MasterCard.

Red Opium is BYO.

Red Opium on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

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