To me, a good Chinese meal involves sitting on a round table (optional) with a couple of friends or family members with a table of dishes and eating everything with rice. It is basically a typical Saturday or Sunday night dinner with my family especially growing up with a father who for a lack of a better description is a china man when it comes to food (no offence to dad who is probably reading this).
Over the months in Australia, our meals at home have essentially been individual portions or one pot wonders. When we do eat outside, there is only so much two fellows can order.
So I rounded up the friends and I declared, let's eat Chinese!
And so we did without the fuss I expected.
Stir Fry Cafe sounds everything like a dodgy shop that sells perceived Chinese food. Although I was assured by my friend that is would be "chinese" enough. Stepping into the small little shop lot in a quiet and dark area of Jindalee, it reminded me of our eating adventures back in Malaysia where we drive into the middle of nowhere just for a meal.
We were handed two menus, an English and a Chinese one. To those who can read Chinese, all I can say is please order from that one. There are some overlapping dishes but there are clearly some items only written in Chinese, the more authentic ones too.
Low Sui Ngap or basically Ducked cooked in a soy based broth. A generous portion with tender pieces of duck. This was good especially with lots of white rice.
Another delight to behold, the Mui Choy Kau Yoke, pork belly with preserved vegetables. Juicy pieces of pork with plenty layers of fat (usually steamed) together with sweet and salty preserved vegetables.
The Beef Brisket Pot. I understand the more delicious version is the Lamb Hot Pot and I can't wait to get back for some. You can see that the above dishes have the theme of braise and stew, driven by the fact that particular night it was freezing to the bone (I would have never expected to say that since I was drummed into memory by my friend that Queensland was anything but cold). This I believe is also one of those dishes that features on both menu.
However the excitement seemed to have ended just there, when this order of Kung Pao Chicken appeared. We know better than not to order something that could possibly be bastardized but since the waitress recommended it, we ordered and were sorely disappointed. No sight of the dried chili and sticky sweet sauce but we got was a watered down version with a mix of vegetables that weren't meant to be there in the first place.
I also don't remember the Mapo Tau Foo being very spicy like the original version is meant to be. What we got was a watered down sauce but thankfully the tau foo remain smooth and silky.
The disappointment continues with the Yu Heung Kei Chi or braised egg plant. The norm is that pieces of eggplant are flash fried and braised with a sauce that is a mix of salty and spicy. This looked like it was braised like there was no tomorrow.
If you read the introduction of the menu, you will learn to know that they is only one chef and no one can be a master of all dishes. I guess the only way is to approach this through trial and error and I am happy to know that I have already gotten three dishes right.
Now to re-visit and get a few more dishes in the bag.
Price are reasonable at around AUD20 per pax.
Address and contact details:
Verdict: 3.5 stars out of 5stars. Reminds me alot like home cooking and there is nothing like gathering in a group and eating a chinese dinner.