Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Now, now children

Kids, especially siblings, will fight over anything. I'm not sure whether it's greed, a sense of power and ownership, or just fun to be mean. I think mediation and compromise are also the best ways about a conflict - or perhaps that's not applicable to under 10s. A little give, a little take - and sometimes, you might both get what you want.

Mr. B's is the current venue where the old Mandarin Club used to be (not the new one that went bust on Dixon Street - the old one). I have young memories of that iteration being a dowdy dive that I was a bit scared to walk by, although I think it is reputed with a more colourful past.

It's now a bar, restaurant and club in one that's the best of many worlds: the bars are for the alcoholically inclined, with a very decent bar menu too; the restaurant, iima, has both a Japanese and a Thai section of the menu; and if you're still up for a boogie after the food and boozing, you're catered to on Friday and Saturday nights too. Everyone wins (pokies not included).

Soft shell crab roll from iima, corner of Goulburn and Pitt Streets, Haymarket
So we're at iima one Friday night after being unable to decide between Japanese and Thai - I love a neat solution. From the Japanese section, we order some sushi varieties including the irresistable inside out roll. It's virtually bursting with crunchily battered and fried soft shell crab legs, and even the other non-end bits have plump pieces of crab flesh, blanketed within a leafy green and some mayonnaise, and rolled within just enough rice. I adore the random plopping of flying fish roe over the top too.

Aburi ocean trout nigiri
The gorgeous long plated aburi sushi is made with ocean trout rather than the more common salmon version, but with the same exciting bronzed look. Drizzled with a dark, sweet sauce and a touch of mayonnaise, these delightful morsels don't last long at all - I recommend at least a couple of plates between five diners.

Som Dtum - green papaya salad
The green papaya salad is light relief for everyone, as it's a requested chilli-free version. The towering, nest-like sald of shredded green papaya, mixed leaves, chewy green beans, squashed cherry tomatoes, peanuts in a zesty dressing of lime and dried shrimpiness. I could pick on green papaya all day long.

Ohr Suuan - Oyster omelette
On to the Thai part of the menu, the curious sounding oyster dish was definitely unlike anything I've seen on a menu. Part pancake, part omelette and simply jammed full of big, juicy oysters. The flavouring was subtle enough to let the oysters shine through, and enhanced with a bowl of sweet chilli sauce. It was pleasingly different with a soft touch to combat some of the spicier dishes.

Gaeng Dang Gai - Red curry chicken with winter melon gourd
I choose a chicken curry for the chilly night and the chilli feeling. This red curry has a bearably slow burn; that is, it's quite mild at first, with the coconut cream flavour coming through. A few mouthfuls in, the heat turns on and by the end of the bowl, you're perspiring but just can't stop because the flavours are so fresh and well rounded.

The vegetable addition of winter melon is ingenious as its sponge-like texture makes it perfect for soothing the tongue while also soaking up the flavoursome curry sauce for more heat. Steamed rice is obviously a must - and try, like I did, not to make away with the adorable wooden ladle spoon.

We lingered a while in the restaurant section post meal with a bottle of wine and the football playing on the flat screens on the wall beside us. Sometimes trying to give everyone what they want turns out to giving nobody what they really want but iima manages it fairly well - now that gives you nothing to fight about.

Iima on Urbanspoon


Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

That oyster omelette looks fantastic! I might bring an oyster loving friend here! :D

Tina said...

Hi Lorraine - I think even non-oyster lovers enjoyed this dish! (Not sure if they're fresh though...)


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