Monday, March 19, 2012

Red Lantern - Surry Hills .... Restaurant Review

Last night I finally was able to catch up with my sister in law to be again after a busy week of normal late shifts with two night shifts tacked on... So buggered. After a quick 4hrs sleep today, I drove myself into the city, picked up S and we headed to the Red Lantern in Surry Hills, run by Luke Nguyen.
The front of the Red Lantern (Credit to Daily Telegraph)

Oh my god this place is amazing! We sat outside in the little front part of the restaurant beside the footpath which had a clear plastic and wood facade which sheltered us from the street, it also had some beautiful leafy green plants around the plastic which was beautiful. It started to rain and the raindrops where rolling down the facade quite dreamily. 

Looking up from where we were sitting inside the restaurant (my photo)

We checked out the menu and decided to try the tasting plate which was a selection of dishes. It was called Hanoi Hunger and was $72 with  per person and desert was an extra $10 per person.

Good food guide review (my photo)
Tasting plate menu (my photo)
Our waiter was very attentive, asking what type of water we wanted and whether we wanted any drinks. I ordered a coke as I was driving but would of dearly loved to try one of their cocktails that they had. And S ordered a margarita which she said was amazing. But be warned their cocktails are expensive. There was a bit of a shock when the margharitas totalled $70 odd at the end and that was only for three of them. But i was informed that they were worth it as this was S's restaurant that she had always wanted to go to....

A couple on the table beside us asked S what she was drinking and it was rather hilarious as the waiter appeared slightly miffed that S was selling the drinks to them rather than him doing the work.. Rather funny to observe ... haha.

So we started to have our food served and the first section which was similar to an entree I would say arrived. And it was amazing!

Char-grilled Chicken Skewers, Angus Beef Salad and Prawn Spring Rolls (my photo)

In the above photo we had: 

Thit  Ga Nuong Chao - Char grilled Burrawong skewers marinated in preserved bean curd and lemon grass. 

Go Bo Xao - Wok seared Black Angus Beef with tamarind, beetroot, diakon and carrot.

Go Cuon - Soft Rice Paper rolled with prawns, pork, vermicelli, perilla leaves and garlic chives.

Then this next fantastic dish came out as shown in the below photo: 

Yummy salt and pepper squid (my photo)

This was Muc Rang Moui: Lightly battered chilli salted squid served with a fresh lemon and white pepper dressing. AND IT WAS AMAZING!!! By far some of the best salt and pepper squid that I've had in a while.

Our next courses were great as well. They would of been considered the main I guess. I didn't catch the names of them as I had managed to chop off the rest of the tasting plate menu with my photographic skills but they were good. Out of the whole lot, there were only two dishes that I weren't keen on. One that was quite spicy and one that was duck but had heaps of bones in. Not very elegant when spitting out bones into your napkin I can tell you ... haha.

The different main courses (my photo)

We got through this lot and then decided that we might have something sweet and thought we'd try the dessert part of the menu for an extra $10 which was rather interesting. My photo of it isn't very good as the light was starting to get quite dim where we were sitting. So if you can make it out, you've got fantastic eagle eyes. 

Dessert ( a bit hard to see)
Dessert was a sticky date pudding wrapped in a palm leaf, the middle pot was a creme caramel which was amazing and the third dish was a sesame dumpling with sesame ice cream - rather insane texture, but it worked well The sticky date had a roasted coconut on top of a dollop of ice cream which just blew the mind with taste. So overall, even though the photo wasn't great. The Dessert certainly rocked.

And below is S's Margarita .....

Another dark photo but you get the general idea (my photo)

So overall I'd give this restaurant a definite thumbs up. It reminded both S and I of our travels to Vietnam and we worked out that we'd actually been to the same restaurant in Hue, Vietnam, where we were served rice paper with lettuce, prawns and a few other ingredients and had to put them together ourselves, by a deaf and blind guy who entertained the restaurant flipping bottle tops off glass bottles six or more at a time. Very interesting. The walls of this restaurant in Hue were decorated by names and signatures and drawings of past diners and it was great just looking around the walls. 

So yes I would recommend this restaurant to anyone who has travelled to Vietnam and wants to travel back in time on a taste explosion. Not only does it excite the taste buds but it makes you want to go back and explore the fantastic place where these lovely Vietnamese people have come from and learnt how to cook this amazing food!


  1. the food looks yum! i love viet food (i'm part viet lol)

    1. yeah it was pretty amazing. Love the food!!

  2. Looks yummy! I will have to give it a try..

    1. It was definitely. Its just a great place to go. I'm going to slowly work my way through the good food guide, so will try and review a few more places too :)