Monday, December 28, 2009

Hakka Tea House

25 Railway Pde North
Glen Waverley, 3150 VIC
Ph: (03) 9802 2770

Hakka Tea House is located in the ever expanding Glen Waverley shopping strip of restaurants. It does Hakka food as the name suggests. It hasn't been opened long but word of mouth spreads very quickly and it is constantly packed out. People know good food and value when they see it.

The interior is decked out like a lot of other Chinese restaurants, no fuss single coloured walls with those typical coloured papers with the menu written in Chinese. If there's one place where you can get restaurant descrimination, it's at a Chinese restaurant as I have previously written about. If you're not Asian and can't read the specials, too bad, they won't bother explaining them to you.

Three visits to Hakka has resulted in a trial of a lot of the food and it's all pretty good. Previous dishes of Sticky rice duck and eggplant hotpot have been standouts. Half a roast duck is covered in sticky rice which is then baked again, served with a gravy type sauce. A hotpot of eggplant with mince is spicy and addictive. Other dishes of Black Pepper Steak, Braised Pork Belly and Honey Beef have also been good.

On this occasion, we had a Pork Belly Taro Hotpot, Szechuan Beef and Seafood Hotpot. The Pork Belly was my favourite, being gelatinous and soft. Layered alternately with the pork was slices of taro.

The Szechuan Beef was good in terms of flavour, but suffered the same fate as most beef dishes in Chinese restaurants. The beef had been soaked in way too much bicarb soda to soften it, giving it that strange taste that I can really notice. It was much more evident the next day when I ate the leftovers since the sauce had diluted and stench of the soda really shone through.

The Seafood hotpot was a nice mixture of prawns, calamari, scallops, fish over a tofu base. I like the touches of spicy chilli and the bamboo shoots.

Service here is what you expect, brisk and efficient. To non Asians it may seem rude, but I'm so used to it that it doesn't bother me. If you're unaccustomed, you may take it badly when in the middle of taking your order, the waiter turns around to talk to someone else. It is what it is.

The food as I mentioned earlier is fairly good. The prices are very good, with mains costing between $14-$22 for most. The servings are also very large. The ambience is typical of most Chinese restaurants, loud. People are talking loudly to each other, so don't come here if you want a quiet dinner.

Overall Rating: 14/20, Good Hakka food at great prices.

Scores: 1-9: Unacceptable, don't bother. 10-11: Just OK,some shortcomings. 12: Fair. 13: Getting there. 14: Recommended. 15: Good. 16: Really good. 17: Truly excellent. 18: An outstanding experience. 19-20:Approaching perfection, Victoria's best.

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