Oriental Spoon (Again!)

6 Sep

Oriental Spoon
254 La Trobe St, Melbourne

There are a bunch of our friends who live around the CBD, and we all decided that we should try to catch up more often. So we started a new thing where every couple of months we get together and one couple chooses the restaurant. Howie and Silvia chose Oriental Spoon for the first restaurant.

Mum and I had lunch at Oriental Spoon not too long ago but I’ve never been at night before. Oriental spoon is a lot busier Saturday night, and we were pretty unimpressed because they accidentally gave away our reserved table, forcing us to wait an extra half hour. Then we kept getting another table’s food. The service was pretty scattered to begin with, but once we’d ordered things started to go better. The manager comped us a jug of coke for the inconvenience, which was unexpected and quite nice.

The banchan took awhile to come out – they are much speedier with it when the restaurant isn’t full. The kim chi wasn’t as good as it normally is here – it was a bit grittier than I remember.

I thought I needed to cut 2kg in 2 weeks for comps (which turned out to be incorrect since they’ve changed the weight categories and I now very easily make the 51kg category) so I ordered separately from everyone else. I got the spicy chicken bulgogi, which was advertised as “lean” chicken, but I was extremely suspicious once I saw the pool of oil it was sitting in. Lean chicken doesn’t glisten! It was delicious, tasting like a slightly less spicy version of the pork bulgogi (both of which are far superior to the beef bulgogi), and after tasting my chicken, James said it was the best dish of the night, so yay.

I’m relying on James’ impressions of the other food.

He wasn’t overly impressed with the beef and mushroom casserole (looking at it though, it seems like it would have been a great option for my dinner if only it came in single portions). I think in general neither of us really care for hot pot style dishes. They always end up tasting like watery broth.

James also thought this next dish could have done with some extra sauce or something. I felt a bit guilty because I’d recommended the fried chicken based on some blog reviews, assuming it would be like Rose Garden fried chicken.

James liked the kim chi jeon. He said it was moist rather than crisp, so I guess the texture of the first jeon I had here was an aberration.

His favourite dish was the chicken tang su yak. I took a nibble of this one and didn’t like it as much as he did – it tasted like the overly sweet lemon chicken that you get at Chinese restaurants. He liked this one because you got large chicken bits without bones. Overall I much prefer Rose Garden’s fried chicken, which has a thinner and crispier batter.

Much to my annoyance James refused to try the jap chae, which I’ve read is quite popular. (Direct quote from James: “noodles?! Pshh!”) Aside from the noodles this also looks like it could have been a contender for my healthy dinner.

He also didn’t try the stone bowl bibimbap (sorry about the super blurry photo) because he didn’t realise it was on the table.

It worked out to about $25 a head, which was pretty good value considering we have some pretty big eaters (you can see the holy trinity of hungry hippos here – James, Kieren and Damo. Sorry Howie, you don’t make the cut). Also look at the way James is holding his fork. It always makes me giggle because I think he holds it that way for maximum shoveling power.

Afterwards we went to Joan and Damo’s apartment in Southbank to check out their nearly-finished renovations, and then to Howie’ and Silvias place to play card games. Joan and Damo are in charge of choosing the restaurant for the next dinner in a couple of months, which I am looking forward to because I’ll actually be able to eat!

To help work off the food, James and I walked home from Southbank to North Melbourne. It was a bit past midnight and the city was populated with drunk clubbers. Which actually worked out well for us because eagle-eye James spotted this on the ground.

And yes, when we got home, I made James put the money on the table so I could take a photo.

It was a great ending to a great night out. =)
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