Thursday, July 7, 2011

Licking the plates clean at Jimmy Liks

There is something utterly intimate about sharing an umbrella – protecting someone or being protected; both getting wet by rain or just one getting very wet; or snuggling close under a too-small fold-up one that’s bound to overturn at the slightest gust of wind.

East Side Peach cocktail at Eau De Vie, Darlinghurst Road, Darlinghurst
That intimacy continued on a quiet night at Eau de Vie – in from the rain and cold, and cuddling up to the impressive menu of cocktails and spirits.

My East Side Peach cocktail featured Ketel One Citroen vodka with the main selling point: poached peaches; shaken with bruised mint, pink grapefruit and lime juices.

Peaches were undeniably the starring ingredient in the dainty coupe glass, making the cocktail a little too easy to drink.

Gin on ice ball at Eau de Vie
Spirit enthusiasts will love the bottle-crammed shelves and thorough knowledge of the bartenders. In this instance gin, served over an ice sphere.

The shared umbrella came out again when hungry stomachs beckoned for food, resulting in a trudge through the heavy shower up Victoria Street to Jimmy Liks. And boy, I’m not sure if I’ve ever come across a more intimate restaurant.

One side is the narrow bar; while the other side is the slightly less narrow dining area of several communal tables. The space is dark and moody with plenty of glam touches amid the bench seats.

Smoked eel betel leaf with shrimp galangal and chilli (left) and chicken betel leaf
smoked eggplant chilli and eschalot relish (right) at Jimmy Liks,
Victoria Street, Darlinghurst
Pleasantly, I think we took longer to decide our selections than it took for the first dish to arrive. There were two options for the irresistible betel leaves.

Chicken was (I now realise) not the right protein as its slightly rough texture detracted somewhat from the experience. The chilli hit was also bigger than expected.

The smoked eel on the other hand was spot on: smooth and sweet, mingling well with the sour and spice hits of the other ingredients.

Blue eye cod and coriander dumplings in garlic chive and ginger broth
Another must-order in my eyes, an entrée special of fish-filled dumplings. The dumpling filling was firm, not mushy like some minced fish can be, with my favourite style of slightly chewy (or al dente) dumpling skins.

The broth was magical – sweet and full of body with soy and ginger notes dominating. In fact, I’m still a little undecided as to which was better – the dumpling or the broth.

Chilli salted school prawns with Thai basil and red nahm jim
With another special of school prawns – I’ll say it again – it’s hard to go wrong with whole fried school prawns. These have a pale complexion and are freckled with chilli, but are hot (in heat), crunchy and entirely moreish with the sour nahm jim dipping sauce.

Mussaman curry of veal shank with peanut, betel leaf and ar-jard dipping sauce
A gigantic serve, making me very glad to have only ordered one main between two of us. Hunks of fall-apart veal snuggled up next to big chunks of potato which had probably been absorbing flavours of the curry for hours.

Whole spices were also abundant – a cinnamon quill, star anise, coriander seeds – adding to the fragrance as well as visual appeal. And there, with the curry main  mostly cleaned up, we declared desserts impossible even though the banana fritters had been calling us from the very start of the meal.

Rotund after the meal and heading back out to the rain, the small umbrella was admittedly even more intimate than before - but not all in a bad way.

Eau de Vie on Urbanspoon

Jimmy Liks on Urbanspoon


Anonymous said...

Love the ice sphere. The Mussaman curry looks spectacular.

joey@FoodiePop said...

Ooo, I love smoked eel. And now I have Rihanna's 'Umbrella' in my head! Thanks!

chocolatesuze said...

i want magical broth!

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

It has been way too long since we visited here! Ahhh the memories!

mademoiselle délicieuse said...

I'm not a big fan of gin but I'm entirely drawn in by that ice ball!

And yes, much is told about your relationship with people through observing their body language when huddle under a communal umbrella =)

Vivian - vxdollface said...

omg gin on ice ball! i want!! that broth sound delicious too!

sugarpuffi said...

i hate sharing umbrellas not only do i have to lean over and get wet but i do too have the dilemma on who to protect. I usually opt for the 'we both get a little wet but im wetter' option unless its my bf then he have to full protect me haha!

so enough about umbrellas, its nice to see cocktails in ur posts again :D i was getting a tad worried there haha!

Flights Search said...

Mussaman curry of veal shank with peanut. It looks so good right now i'm so hungry looking at the picture's. If i can get the guaranteed lowest airfares to Australia i will visit it.

Tina said...

Hi lateraleating - Yes, just the thing for a cold night too!

Hi joey - I am deeply apologetic...

Hi suze - In life, all we really want is magical broth...

Hi Lorraine - Good memories, I trust?

Hi mademoiselle délicieuse - Gin definitely grows on you ;)

Hi Vivian - Sometimes, it's just the simple things that are so satisfying.. :)

Hi sugarpuffi - No need for concern ;)

Ramen Raff said...

OMG mussaman curry veal shanks. I want some now!


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