I had a lovely Saturday night, as a mate from work had invited me to join he and a couple of his friends for dinner at the Blue Eyed Dragon, a Taiwanese restaurant located in a converted Catholic Church hall in Pyrmont.
As you walk in, the first thing you notice are the aromas. And then you cast your eyes around the room and you can see instantly how it used to function as a church hall. At the back of the hall, they’ve located the kitchen. On the main floor, you’ll find the bulk of the restaurant. And then up on the stage, there are more tables, though that area can be closed off. Not surprisingly, as a former church hall, it’s also pretty noisy, though not unbearable so.
Aside from a couple of lunches at Din Tai Fung, I don’t recall ever having eaten Taiwanese before. I wasn’t really sure of any major culinary differences between Taiwan and nearby parts of mainland China. According to one review, however, of the cook-book by the owners of Blue Eyed Dragon, Jade and Muriel Chen
…because mainland China was, for the next 50 years, a joyless and especially pleasure-free communist state (Slow Food founder Carlo Petrini, a communist, claims Slow is nothing more than the fusion of communism and pleasure), Taiwan, as it became, was the custodian of the great traditions of Chinese gastronomy — with a few little inventions of its own.
We chose a 10-course banquet as a way to experience as much as possible without having to think too hard. There were no outstanding dishes, nothing I’d say was an absolute must, except maybe the scallops. They were excellent. Rather, the meal was consistently good throughout.
The service was also very good, and the the co-owner and floor manager, Muriel has a warmly wicked sense of humour that makes you feel quite special. We never had the feeling that, once we had finished our meal, it was time to pay and leave. We were made to feel very welcome. I’ll definitely go back there.
While my friends made their way to the casino – I’m not one for gambling aside from playing the pokies a few times a year – I made my way home, catching a cab to Oxford Street, and then walking the remainder down the chaos that currently is Bourke Street. How long does it take to build a cycle-way and fix up the footpaths? :)
The hyper-modern Christmas Tree has appeared in Taylor Square, I noted, a reminder the festive season is now well and truly here.