Red Lantern - "Be careful of the bones in the curry"
Restaurant: Red Lantern on Crown | Link Location: 545 Crown Street Surry Hills NSW 2010 Cuisine: Vietnamese Rating: 9/10 – Food was fresh and organic, service was good and efficient, but just a little squashy with seating.
Luke Nguyen’s Red Lantern on Crown St is another hard
restaurant to book, I booked 2 months in advance to celebrate Elvi’s birthday. The
restaurant makes full use of every inch of space, in order for Candice and I to
sit in our seat, our table had to be pulled out and pushed back in when we were
seated (lucky we didn’t have to use the bathroom or else it’ll be a hassle to
When choosing what to order, the accountant-to-be in me
swung in action and I calculated that ordering a la carte would be cheaper than
ordering the Tasting Menu ($65). The entrées arrived shortly after we’ve
ordered. The Muc Rang Muoi $23 (Lightly
battered chilli salted squid with fresh lemon and white pepper dipping sauce) was
a great dish to start our Vietnamese food adventure. The sauce was remarkably
appetising and the squid was what it stated in the menu, lightly battered and
tender – we couldn’t stop eating it!
Then the Goi Du Du
$24 (Twice cooked pork belly, tiger prawns, green papaya, perilla and mint)
arrived together with Ca Tiem Nuong Voi
Dau Hu $18 (Roasted eggplant with silken tofu and pickled daikon in a
preserved chilli bean curd dressing). The pork belly was tender, but it doesn’t
melt in your mouth and the prawns were fresh. The green papaya with the herbs
was refreshing and it cleanses your palate. The roasted eggplant was average
but the silken tofu was smooth.
Our last entrée to arrive was Banh Tom $16 (Aunty 5’s rice cakes with tiger prawns, caramelised
pork, pork floss and shallot oil). And they sure leave the best till the last
because these rice cakes were everyone’s favourite dish of the night! I thought
it’d be hard when I picked it up with my chopsticks, but when I bite into it, I
realized that it was only hard on the outside but REALLY soft inside. The other
elements of the dish accompanied the rice cakes perfectly, thinking about it
now makes me hungry and I can’t wait until I have it next time!
After enjoying our entrées, the mains arrived. The Ca Hap Ca Cot Dua $37 (Blue Eye
Trevalla poached in an aromatic prawn, tomato and coconut bisque) which looked
and smelt beautiful. The sauce was flavorsome, but I find the fish a little bit
The waiter served Cari
De $33 (Tender goat meat cooked in a Southern style turmeric and coconut
milk curry) together with their special of the night Salmon with sweet soya
sauce with Chinese Broccoli $34 and he said “there’s no bones in the salmon,
but be careful of the bones in the curry”. Till this point in time, we still don’t
know if he was joking or not.. bones in the curry were big, and we surely didn’t
look like kids who will choke on a big bone!
The goat was gamy – a little too gamy for Candice and of
course, there were bones in it. The curry sauce was scrumptious and it needs to
be eaten with rice which was $3 per serve. The salmon was moist and the accompanying
sweet soy sauce was a perfect match along with the crunch of the Chinese
The side Rau Muong
Xao Chao $16 (Water spinach wok tossed with fermented bean curd sauce) was
delicious. Especially because water spinach is one of my favourite vegetables
and it was cooked just the way I like it.
When we were almost finishing, our waiter asked if we wanted
dessert, which we initially did but he kindly informed us that our table has to
be handed over in 20 minutes (they have advised me that our table is only for 2
hours when I booked), so we decided to try the desserts next time we visit Red
Overall, all the food was fresh and sweet because they are
sourced organically as stated in their menu. Because I booked for 7pm, the dinner can only
be 2 hours, but if you book other times, your dinner time will not be
restricted. Our total bill comes to $295 which includes 5 cocktails, which is
cheaper than the tasting menu. Please note that it was compulsory to order the
tasting menu if the table is for 7 people or more.
I would definitely come back for the rice cakes, squid and
the salmon and I can’t wait to try other things on the menu too! I recommend
that if it’s your first time going to Red Lantern, go in a group of 5-6 people
so you can try more dishes.