Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Laotian, Burmese and an ice cream sandwich in Darlo

Sitting waiting with a Bia 333, I had to check a few times that I was indeed sitting in a restaurant and not a nightclub. Yep, I was sitting near the front window at Pink Peppercorn on Oxford Street, not at a club across the road.

Yet another voucher needed using, although this was a restaurant I'd been meaning to visit for ages especially since there really aren't too many Laotian and Burmese retaurants around.

Steamed long grain jasmine and wild rice at Pink Peppercorn, Oxford Street, Darlinghurst
The yaw jeun spring rolls didn't last long enough for a picture, but I’ve always preferred more south-east Asian spring rolls to Chinese ones as they just seem to pop with more flavour and texture. These sublime “golden rolls” were filled with a bouncy mixture of chicken, crab and vermicelli noodles, seasoned with lots of garlic and dipped into sweet chilli sauce.

Rice servings at $5 each is a little on the pricey side of town, but I appreciated the effort that they put into pimping it up. The upturned cup shape held jasmine rice and long grains of black wild rice, which are firmer than normal white rice.

Ping gae – char grilled marinated lamb tenderloin on green vegetables,
mint and tamarind sauce
There was a sameness about the mains menu that made it difficult to choose among the many chicken, lamb, beef and seafood dishes. Mint, lemongrass and chilli were abundant menu ingredients, and it was tough trying to differentiate the dishes without the aid of images (OK, I sound like a child now).

We opted for three mains – the first a main of lamb tenderloin, which even could have been beef. Either way, it was cooked to medium and incredibly tender, soaking up the sweet juices of the tamarind sauce. The mint added an addictive zing to the green beans and Chinese cabbage, while the overall sweetness of the dish was a little unexpected.

Laab gai – pan fried chicken with lemongrass tossed with fresh herbs, red onion,
mild chilli, lime, roasted rice
I’m not sure we ordered the chicken laab, but it arrived at the table and we didn’t kick up a fuss as we weren’t sure which chicken dish we did order – there are several on the menu, and as mentioned, served with rather similar ingredients.

Juicy nuggets of chicken thigh featured with loads of mint and lemongrass, slivers of large red chilli which was still pretty spicy and Spanish onion. It was again on the sweet side and while decent, overall not a standout dish.

Khua goong pakthiam – Stir fried tiger prawns, pink peppercorns, garlic and green vegetables
That honour went to the stir fried prawn dish, featuring what I would have thought to be signature pink peppercorns. Peppery and garlicky, the tail-on prawns were cooked to a firm bounce; and were scattered among broccoli and snow peas, plenty of cracked black pepper and smashed pink peppercorns.

The latter were eye-openingly fragrant after their initial kick of heat, and added a great deal of character to the dish. Why they’re not used more extensively on the Pink Peppercorn menu is a mystery to me.

The loud atmosphere and pumping music at Pink Peppercorn was a lot to take after a hayfever-affected afternoon, so we thought we'd end without dessert. Little did I expect to be walking past Darlie Laundromatic on the way, let alone the sweet surprise to be found within.

Raspberry and ginger cordial with gin and soda (back) and mulberry cordial with vodka
and soda (front) from Darlie Laundromatic, Palmer Street, Darlinghurst
It was pretty busy for a weeknight, filled with local hipsters that looked like they were in for the long haul and didn't need to think about work tomorrow morning (I'm clearly just jealous).

It's impossible to bypass the home made cordials on the drinks menu - I mean, they're home made cordials. In delightful flavours like raspberry and ginger (and quite gingery too) and the special of the day, mulberry, which also featured vanilla quite heavily. Top it off with booze, soda and a novelty stirrer and what's not to love and order multiples of.

The long communal table in the front converted laundry room was pretty inviting and cosy, but we picked a seat under the clothesline, beneath tea towels that look like my aunty's souvenir collection.

Peanut butter and choc chip cookie ice cream sandwich
When I was at the bar getting my drink, it probably took me all of two seconds to notice the ice cream sandwich on the dessert menu. To my further delight, there's also a choice of cookie with which to sandwich some good ol' Streets Blue Ribbon vanilla ice cream.

I was pretty happy with my choice of peanut butter and choc chip, with discernable pockets of peanut butter amid the slightly chewy cookie and ice cream oozing out at every bite. It's by no means a neat dessert but one where you should be finished before the ice cream even starts to melt.

So there you have just a regular night in Darlinghurst, where the night takes you from clubbing to southeast Asia then into a laundry for cordial and an ice cream sandwich.

Pink Peppercorn on Urbanspoon

Darlie Laundromatic on Urbanspoon


Dumpling Girl said...

May need to duck in one night to the Darlie Laundromatic for that cookie ice cream sandwich, as I really love my cookies on the soft chewy side.

joey@FoodiePop said...

I really like Pink Peppercorn, but you're right about the dishes being similar. I also think a lot of the menu has remained the same for quite a while.

sugarpuffi said...

zomg icecream sandwich/cookie!!

Anonymous said...

Peanut butter and choc chip cookie ice cream sandwich? Not very Laotian or Burmese, no? :)

Lucas said...

$5 for rice seems exhorbitant, but that ice cream sandwich looks the bomb.

Yes, I am bringing back "the bomb" just for that ice cream sandwich.

It looks that good.

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

Hehe I would have ordered that ice cream sandwich too! In all of its dripping, beautiful glory!

Sara - Belly Rumbles said...

As I get older, hayfever or no hayfever, loud restaurants are a bit of a turn off for me. The prawns do look lovely.

The ice cream sandwich looks awesome, I need to pay the Laundry Room a visit.

john@heneedsfood said...

The last time I went to Pink Peppercorn was just after they first opened, err, about 10 years ago. And isn't Darlie Laundromatic a great little drinking hole?

Spencer said...

Looks absolutely amazing! Especially the ice cream sandwich!

Tina said...

Hi Dumpling Girl - That was a total winner; great way to end a night :)

Hi joey - I have a feeling many things in the restaurant haven't changed in a while :) Not necessarily a bad thing.

Hi sugarpuffi - Twas awesome.

Hi lateraleating - Definitely not, but went well nonetheless :)

Hi Lucas - 'Da' bomb?

Hi Lorraine - It didn't get a chance to start dripping too much, but was oozey :)

Hi Sara - The club music in the restaurant to start was interesting too... :)

Hi John - Haha, showing your age ;) Love Darlie Laundromatic; they've nailed it on the head.

Hi Spencer - It was especially good, I mean, choice of cookie? Legendary.

Rita (mademoiselle délicieuse) said...

I love ice-cream sandwiches! And for everything nostalgic which they represent.


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