So when I started this blog I had the idea of reviewing places that I regularly go to. So stay tuned because in the next few weeks there will be a few reviews coming on of these favourite spots of mine. I actually found out about city garden through Paul who I went to dinner with on this particular night.
Now city garden do things a little different that other Chinese restaurants. When you go to other Chinese restaurants you choose the sauce and then the protein to go with that sauce. So for example with sweet and sour you can get that with chicken, prawn, beef etc. City garden does none of this and decided to have a menu the quarter the size but everything goes together and matches.
So on Friday night I was having a few drinks with my work buddies after a hard day at work. I was talking to a colleague about my blog and I explained that I would like to review some Chinese places. Almost at the same time as I said that I got a message, I glanced down at my phone and Paul had sent me a message saying “Chinese food fool!”, my response was along the lines of “when? Where? I’m in!” so after a few sms’s back and forth we arranged to meet at city garden at 10pm for a late supper.
So we get to city garden and it is packed, luckily one of the tables had just cleared so we sat down on the pavement at the doors of the restaurant. Then the owner comes over who knows Paul and said something funny. She said “hi Paul, how are you? Where is your girlfriend?” Paul replied saying “oh she is at work” after pausing for a second the owner looked at me and said “oh so you brought your boyfriend along!” After chatting a little more we had a browse through the menu and picked a pretty respectable selection of food.
The first thing that came to us was the Szechuan soup. Now much like at Japanese restaurants you judge the quality of a kitchen on its sushi rice, Szechuan soup is a litmus test of if a Chinese restaurant is authentic and city garden is the best in Perth. It came out steaming hot, so there was the initial taste of stock but not long after that the vinegar flavours came through. There were also chunks of tofu, chicken and mushroom in it. $5.80 9/10
The next thing that came along was the deep fried Shishamo; Shishamo is a fish that is shipped in from japan. The fish is about 10cms long and they just chop the head off and then batter and deep fry it. Its then served with some toasted garlic and sliced fresh chilli. The fish was delicious! It was nice and juicy, and then where the front and back fillets meet it had this layer of fat that reminded me of the fat in a nice piece of pork belly. My favourite part of the fish was the crunchy tails at the back. $18.80 8/10
So the next dish to come out was one called ‘sambal kangkung’. Now I have a few Malaysian friends and they swear by this dish. Kangkung is a chinese vegetable that has similar texture to spinach however the roots are hollow. Then the sambal sauce is a sauce made with fermented shrimp. This is another fantastic dish! Nice pungent and sour flavours matched very well with the bitter kangkung. The sauce was also fantastic with rice. The only downside is the sauce overpowered the vegetable slightly. $13.80 7/10
Now this is one dish which I didn’t love. ‘Tripe sautéed with ginger and onions’ Now I love tripe however I have only had tripe which has been stewed or is in soups. This was more of a medium rare crunchy tripe and tasted slightly too funkly for me. Maybe if it was braised for a little bit and then mixed with the sauce it might have been slightly more palatable. However it was definitely edible. $14.20 4/10
So while I was eating these dishes I saw something come past me and I had food envy where I wanted what was on the other table! I then decided that you only live once so I ordered it. What I ordered was ‘fried quail’. This was the best quail that I have had in my life. Most places will precook the quail and then coat it and deep fry it and cook it again so it becomes tasty but quite stringy and tough. However at city garden they coat the quail then deep fry it from raw. This resulted in a perfectly cooked quail that had a slight pinkness in the flesh and huge amounts of tenderness and flavour. $13.80 10/10
Overall city garden is one of my favourite restaurants in all of Perth and I think that everyone should go there. City garden serves fantastic food in a great atmosphere.City Garden Chinese Restaurant 11 Chungwah La, Northbridge 6003 (08) 9227 8145