South Yarra VIC 3141
Ph: 9826 3838
Pacific Seafood BBQ is yet another Chinese restaurant, but better. I'm never too excited about Chinese food, preferring French, Japanese or Thai more, but Pacific Seafood BBQ does tick all the right boxes and make me want to go back. The problem I find with most Chinese restaurants (and it's not exclusive to Chinese restaurants) is that they become a cliche of themselves, serving the same sub standard food. They rarely innovate or change, which may be good or bad. I think the dining public has shown that they do want some change, with even the once mighty Flower Drum having to change their menu recently.
I haven't been back to Pacific Seafood BBQ in years and then within the space of 7 days, I went there twice. They haven't changed their menu much, if at all, since I was last there. Again, usually this would bore me but their saving grace is that they do the dishes well. There are no shortcuts here (as far as I can taste) by using inferior ingredients. They are famous for their Roast Meats so of course both times we got a platter. The Roast Duck is good, with a fairly crispy skin. The Roast Pork is better than most places, but nowhere near as good as the Roast Pork I make. I really don't like Char Siu, but theirs is actually quite good, with the sauce not that terrible weak flavour. The best item was the Hainan Chicken, with it's perfectly cooked smooth texture and a simple spring onion oil on it.
Other dishes that I ate over the two visits included Stir Fry Prawns, with added walnuts giving a nice extra dimension. Fried Milk may or may not be to your liking. It certainly always divides opinions at the table. I'm not sure how they managed to do it but the milk is fried in a batter and then served with condensed milk. Yep, you heard right, condensed milk. It's savoury yet sweet at the same time. I don't mind it. The Fried Pork Ribs with Red Sauce is finger lickin' good, and Taro Duck is always a favourite of mine. Basically a roast duck is covered with a layer of mashed taro and then fried to crispy goodness. If you must have vegetables (you know I'm not a fan), a Stir Fry of Greens from that day, or some Tofu Stir Fry are both simple but good.
This brings us to the highlight dishes. This Golden Chicken is just da bomb. Chicken ribs are fried (what isn't fried in a Chinese restaurant or covered in oil right?) until super crispy, then coated in salted egg. That saltiness outside mixed with the crumbly feel of the egg just makes this dish sensational.
And last but not least, you have Mud Crab with Noodles. We had the mud crab served two ways, with Ginger and Spring Onion, and a second lot (not pictured) with Chilli. Both were satisfyingly delicious. Being Asians, we didn't care about looking refined and everyone sat there slowly picking at every last piece of meat out of the crab. I think it took us about an hour to go through 4 massive mud crabs and enough noodles to feed double as many people. By the end of the crab, we were already so full but still had some many dishes of food to come. Let that be a lesson to you, 5 kg of crab with noodles is enough for 9 people to be completely full without any more food.
The service here is surprisingly very good, not just by Chinese restaurant standards, but by any restaurant standards. The staff are efficient, polite and helpful. The atmosphere is always buzzing here. The room is jam packed full of people and they even have two sittings. It's a bit annoying sometimes as we arrive on time only to find that tables are still being occupied. It's the Asian way of overbooking restaurants to maximise profit. That is my only slight negative about this restaurant. Otherwise, the Chinese food is a cut above other Chinese restaurants and I would come back for more.
Overall Rating: 15/20, Chinese food but well, with good service.
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.