Step into the Chinese kitchen

9 01 2010

Chinese food can be a bit ‘hit and miss’.  So much so that those who serve it well are worthy of mention.  One diamond in the rough is Brisbane restaurant China Kitchen.  South-east Queensland locals might be more familiar with this one under its former name, The Bamboo Shoot but the new identity is only the tip of the iceberg in this restaurant’s re-birth.

Situated in Toowong’s High Street, this award-winning Chinese restaurant has undergone a bit of a facelift.  Gone is the tired carpet, dark decor and the fish tank that welcomed your arrival.  In its place is a warm and modern space with table settings to suit any number of diners.  The colour red features heavily throughout, which is nothing but inviting and gets you in the mood to sample some flavoursome Chinese-Sechuan food. 

The restaurant was buzzing when we arrived, and a number of tables had large salad bowl-sized pots steaming with what I can only describe as oil or broth.  There is much to be tried on the menu, including Braised Intestines with Brown Sauce and Sauteed Sliced Beef in Sechaun Style, but if you’re not into the chili or spices stick with the traditional Chinese cuisine. 

Breaking out into a sweat is not my idea of an enjoyable dining experience, so I went with anglicised Chinese dishes such as the Chinese Chicken Almond with Vegetables, the Chinese Barbecue Pork and the Braised Steak with Black Bean.  Steamed rice was extra, but I recommend it.  Each dish had its own individual flavour, which perhaps is a standout point when it comes to Chinese dining.

For traditionalists, there are a number of Duck dishes, including the Peking and Eight Treasures, but the ‘exclusive’ price points for each made them somewhat uninviting.

The restaurant has a small wine list, featuring commercial labels as well as those with bottled exclusively for China Kitchen.  Diners might be interested in taking advantage of the restaurant’s BYO policy, and maybe it’s because I need to eat out more often, but I thought $9.80 corkage per person was a bit extreme.

For those with a sweet tooth, and who aren’t nursing ‘food babies’ by the end of the night, dessert involved pumpkin, sweet potato and taro dishes (intriguing), and those ice cream favourites; lychee and ice cream, deep fried ice cream and ice cream on its own.

My experience was enjoyable, and I’d encourage others to give it a go.

Overall rating: 3 out of 5

China Kitchen details:
 Address – 58 High Street, Toowong, QLD
 Food – Chinese and Sechuan
 Drink – Licensed and BYO
 Prices – Entrees start at $5.50, Mains range from $15.90 to $26.50, and Desserts start at $6.90.

China Kitchen is open 12.00pm – 2.30pm Thursday to Sunday and 5.00pm till late 7 days a week.

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