I’m not entirely sure how I happened upon Chilli Orange. I think I was poking around urbanspoon one day and saw a review for it and noticed that it had some really positive feedback so I booked it in for a Thursday date night for the lovely GG and myself.
It really isn’t too far from home and I must have driven past it plenty of times in its last 6 months of operation but just hadn’t noticed it before. We arrived a touch after 6.30pm for our reservation and were given our choice of a few tables. I liked the fit out. Plenty of exposed old wooden beams, a funky collection of tables and chairs, along with a few feature leather numbers and some interesting lamps, which provided some warm albeit dim lighting.
We ordered a glass of wine each and turned our attention to the menu. I suppose you’d describe the food as Asian fusion. It’s split into shared dishes on the first page and then larger mains and desserts on the second. There were just so many things on that first page that we were keen to try that we decided we’d just order from that and leave the mains for another visit.
So we locked in the:
- Seared rare beef tenderloin served with tatsoi, tossed with chilli orange and black bean sauce dressing ($16.90)
- Roasted duck on pancake served with hoi sin dipping sauce ($14.90)
- Soft shell crab tempura served with wasabi mayo ($15.90)
- Salt and pepper squid served with sweet chilli sauce ($14.00)
- Linley Valley free range crispy pork belly garnished with green apple($16.90)
They arrived as they were ready in a gradual stream which started with the Roasted duck on pancake served with hoi sin dipping sauce. They had told us that we would get three in a serve, but given that we had other dishes lined up we figure it would be fine for someone to get two of these and then the other could get more of something else. The duck was cooked perfectly and the simple ingredients within the pancake were just delicious! The slight heat from the red chilli, the refreshing crunch from the cucumber and tying it all together the sweet hoi sin sauce. Yum! I was very fortunate that I was allowed two of these. Really enjoyed them and it was a solid intro to the culinary talents of Chilli Orange.
And speaking of Chilli Orange that had been what drew me to order the Seared rare beef tenderloin served with tatsoi, tossed with chilli orange and black bean sauce dressing, primarily because it came with a chilli orange dressing. Had to try their namesake So glad we did! Apologies for the dark photo but I can assure you this salad was amazing! The thin slices of seared beef just melted in your mouth and all the flavours were really interesting together. A citrusy sweetness from the orange with an underlying warmth from the chilli. Yum! Add a few decorative slices of radish and some greens for a refreshing finish and you’ve got yourself a winning salad!
Two dishes arrived together next, Soft shell crab tempura served with wasabi mayo and Linley Valley free range crispy pork belly garnished with green apple. The soft shell crab was lightly battered and well paired with the zingy wasabi mayo and came on a bed of mixed greens. It was really lovely and GG, the bigger soft shell crab appreciator of our pair was a fan.
I loved the presentation of the pork belly! The dainty julienned slices of both green and red apple was a wonderful addition. Both decorative and providing some lovely sweetness. The watercress scattered on top of this added a pleasing contrasting pepperiness. The pork was very well cook, its fatty goodness was well rendered and the meat just melted. Yum!
The final dish to arrive was the Salt and pepper squid served with sweet chilli sauce. Lovely tender squid pieces with a flavoursome batter and a tasty sweet chilli sauce on the side. While we both enjoyed this dish I probably wish it had arrived closer to the start only because it was the only one that didn’t arrive with greens on the side and after the battered coating it would have been quite nice to finish with some greenery. Just to cut through this deep fried goodness.
After five dishes we were both feeling quite comfortable with just enough room to sample desserts. Only a short list but we each decided on something different so we could try two between us – for me it was the Ginger crème brulee with almond cake and honey cream ($16.00) and for GG the Green tea crème caramel with black sesame tuile and vanilla ice cream ($16.00).
Both desserts sounded interesting and I was keen to see how all these flavours would work together. I thought mine looked just lovely with its elegant tuille swirl. I cautiously tapped my spoon onto of my brulee and was pleased to hear the sugar coating crack. Brulee perfection. I enjoyed the ginger infusion in the brulee. The delicate almond cake and the decadent honey cream was an added bonus to the dish. All in all, I thought it worked a treat.
Across the table GG was all talk with how he thought his dessert had ‘won’. I had a spoonful of the green tea crème caramel and it was nice, as was the sesame tuille, which added both crunch and some cool colour to the dish, but I preferred mine. Biased I suppose
I so enjoyed my first visit to Chilli Orange. The prices were on the upmarket Asian fusion side but I thought all the dishes were entirely well prepared, so fresh and flavoursome. I will definitely be heading back soon!
Go Chilli Orange – a neighbourhood gem