Wednesday, April 7, 2010


My return to Adelaide this year was brief, the main purpose to pick up my things and move them to Melbourne after completing 240 hours of work at Regency TAFE’s Training Restaurant kitchen.

With 6 am wake up calls, ensued by power walks to the bus stop and long days on my feet my eagerness to say goodbye was all the more fervent to the fact that I had outgrown the quiet, quaint little city that I had called home for more than two years and was excited at the prospect of a big, busting metropolitan city.

To commemorate the end of my time in Adelaide and celebrate my new beginnings in Melbourne a restaurant meal was obviously on the cards. Concubine had long been on my mind as a “must try” and so I got together my gastronomy troupe of girls and made a reservation two days in advance which was a very smart idea since it was pretty hard to secure the booking for our party of five with strict seating options, one at 6.30 and one at 8.30. I managed to secure a table for 7.00 somehow, but we had to settle on a table outside. As if that was not enough, I was called back later that evening and requested to change the time slot, this time to 8.30. I complied and the following evening upon showing up there was a mix up with a double booking and the 7.00 reservation in my name had lapsed as a no show.

Since I was persistent and explained that I had to have a table and was not going to budge from the restaurant the hostess finally accommodated us. It was a beautiful evening so as we were seated outside it was alright from that aspect, but from a peak of the chic, handpicked accents and adornments carefully displayed inside the restaurant it was obvious we were missing out on the ambience – the appeal and charm of the place.

My memory and palate was still very fresh from my latest travel escapade to Malaysia, after all it was only about a month ago and the experience was notably colourful with numerous encounters with outrageously phenomenon bold and beautiful Asian flavours – all of these had from hawker centres and street stalls, so I was interested in eating Asian the Aussie way again.

It took some time to get menus and our drink order processed and even though I had brought along a bottle of sparkling Bird in Hand Pinot Grigio and it was in plain sight the ice bucket for it to chill never came until we had asked for it three times!

After knocking back a couple of Janz - after all we were celebrating - the mood was lighter. All of us being gastro heads we had scanned the menu online and were each excited about different dishes. What ended up with was a splendid meal, one that I truly enjoyed especially for the main course and turned out to be good value for money as well.

The Peking Duck wraps were average (the Chinese shops more “authentic” version that can be found at several stops along gouger do this streets ahead better) but the tofu and snow pea Sang Choi Bao lettuce wraps were delish proving to be a real textural delight. We also sampled the Chinese Five Spice Bean Curd Rolls stuffed with pork that was tasty.

My favourite was the main course especially the Dark Soy Barossa Pork Belly that was unbelievably melt-in-the-mouth tender and so delicately spiced yet incredibly flavoursome, seriously I wanted to keep that dish all to myself and not share it. The Tamarind Duck, that to me did not sound very appealing on the menu not long ago, and was clearly not my choice, turned out to be a real treasure. The crispy deep fried skin yielded succulent and oh so delicious flesh that was tainted with that characteristically tamarind sweet-sour acidity. A unique and beautiful dish I would go back for again and again. We also sampled the salt and pepper tofu that was good as well as baby soya, bean curd, shitake mushroom with chilli.

All in all I thoroughly enjoyed our mains and would happily go back to indulge in the crispy skin, sweet-sour duck as well as the remarkably cooked pork belly. The service however was shockingly average for a place of its standing - not that they were rude but simply unobservant and lacking basic attentiveness expected from waitstaff.

132 Gouger St
Adelaide 5000 SA

Ph: +61 (08) 8212 8288

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