Rambutan – Darlinghurst

August 14, 2011

Stud and I aren’t lovers of Thai food. Actually, that’s not true. When we eat it, we like it, but when every second restaurant in Sydney became Thai, I felt compelled to boycott. That said, we are going to Thailand for our honeymoon and I actually can’t wait to try everything while we are there. We just don’t go out to Thai much. Japanese is our cuisine of choice but this night, we were off to a friends birthday who is obsessed with Thai and I was excited to find it was Rambutan we were going to. I had heard good things and was really looking forward to trying what they had to offer.

Again, as a big group, we went with the banquet which was pretty good value at $55 per person.

First out was the Miang of smoked trout and grilled chilli eggplant relish. This dish baffled a few of us. It came out on a leaf – pardon my ignorance, but I don’t know what leaf. I know it wasn’t a herb. Were we meant to eat the leaf? I tore off a tiny piece and tasted it before trying the trout. It tasted like a leaf – like from a non edible tree. I chose not to eat it but a friend of mine was adamant that we are meant to eat it and even asked the other table. Their consensus was to eat it so when there was one left and I was kindly offered it by the others, I tried it with the leaf. I can say that once everything was in my mouth, the leaf wasn’t as offensive. It didn’t really add much to the dish other than a vessel from plate to mouth but it didn’t make it taste tree like either.

The Vegetarian curry puffs w traditional Thai peanut Ad-jar sauce was really nice and light. I’m not a massive loved or curry puffs and can be quite picky with them as some places are just plain stodge with a bit of herb thrown in but these were soft little pillows that I was happy to devour.

When I saw the Thai steamed dumpling w chicken prawn sweet corn and plum sauce I was pretty excited. Any kind of dumpling and I’m in! These were the highlight of the entrees. Cooked perfectly, packed with flavour and so juicy. Our table’s consensus was that they were a winner.

A lover of sang choi bow, I was pretty happy when the Lahb kai of chicken, lemongrass & mint in iceberg leaf w spicy sour dressing was placed on the table. I have to say though, although it was nice, it was a little dry and not as flavourful as I was expecting. Packed a punch with the chilli, but that’s really all I got.

Maaaaaain tiiiiiiiiiiiime!!! Slightly different to the entrees which were brought out individually, the mains were brought out all at the same time – Wok fried King prawns w pong gari coconut cream baby corn and spring onion, Stir fried roasted pumpkin w egg tofu garlic stems and chilli, Crispy duck w sweet rambutan, eshallot, garlic & tamarind sauce and Braised wagyu beef w flat noodle Vietnamese mint & black vinegar sauce. With sides of Steamed Asian Greens w oyster sauce & mushroom soy and Steamed jasmine rice. Now usually when we have a banquet, they bring out a larger than normal serve so that everyone gets a descent (but not offensive) serving of each. It seemed that Rambutan only brought out a single serve of each dish so it made it a little hard to be polite and eat as much as you want lol.

The wok fried prawn dish was nice and the rice was perfect for mopping up the coconut sauce but only one prawn makes Studd sad :(

The stir fried pumpkin was amazing. So packed with flavour that I went back a couple of times for more helpings. I went for more but Stud reminded me there were vegetarians at the table so I should leave it for them haha.

The duck was really well cooked but again, with one serving between about 5 or 6 people, its hard to get a decent bit in. Great crispy skin and juicy sweet meat though.

The wagyu beef was the standout main for me. It just melted in my mouth and was really tasty.

I, as usual, had viewed the menu online prior to leaving the house and had noticed the desserts (who doesn’t?). Pearl Sago & tropical fruit w lychee liquor & jackfruit ice cream and Rambutan’s selection of ice cream and sorbet. I couldn’t wait for the sago! I have it every time we go to yum cha and have prepared it a couple of times at home. So I was pretty disappointed to see that it came in a shot glass. Wha? A mouthful? And our selection of ice cream was a scoop each of green tea, lime sorbet and black sesame – for all 6 of us. Three scoops between six people? Wha?

The sago was actually really delicious although I didn’t see the need for a pomegranate seed. They also gave us dessert sized spoon to we all had to use our fingers to get the rest of it out the shot glass. Not very becoming.

The black sesame ice cream, to Rambutan’s credit, was the best I have had. Only by the few sprinklings of sesame seeds on the top would you know that its black sesame by looking at it as it wasn’t grey like most but when you eat it, BANG sesaaameeeee. YUM! The green tea ice cream was also really nice and the sorbet very refreshing but I pretty much devoured the black sesame all to myself.

All in all, a good meal at Rambutan and we were full by the end of it, but I still had enough room to finish a scoop of two more of ice cream and perhaps some more dumplings ;)

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