Monday, April 30, 2012

Dan's House, Haymarket

     It's great belonging to a community that revolves around food. We all have the understanding that food does not get touched until everyone has had their turn taking photos. We know the food might be a little cold by the time we eat it but we don't whinge or judge each other because we're all doing the same thing, we're in our natural habitat and it's great, love it! It was a previous dinner with bloggers that led to this event organised by Mr Noodlies (Thang), Heidi (mutual friend of Thang and Diana) and Diana, the owner of Dan's House.
     Dan's House is a new Chinese restaurant which focuses on 'Artistic Conceptual Cuisine'. In so many words, their aim is to modernise Chinese cuisine and inject some flair into it without loosing traditional flavours and techniques. They officially opened this week and a small group of us were invited to a preview lunch a couple of weeks ago.

     The interior is very modern and clean. A lot of silver and gold bling on white, I suppose to signify wealth and good fortune.

      There is an open kitchen where the chefs show off their noodle making skills. They also have a small bar on the second level, and a private room for exclusive hire with karaoke.

     Their signatures are the handmade noodles and authentic peking duck. We were treated to an 8 course tasting menu to try some of the highlight dishes that were to feature on their final menu.

Cold Tofu with Salmon Sashimi mixed with sweet soya sauce and wasabi.
     This dish was a lovely start to lunch. It was light, refreshing and the sauce was a hit amongst the group. Diana tells us that they serve the tofu cold to retain it's texture, it is firm to the bite yet smooth as it dissolves in your mouth and the salmon sashimi and fish roe are a perfect addition combined with the punchy sauce.

Dan's Garden Salad.
     We are told this is no ordinary salad. The vegetables are all hand picked and dressed in a distinctly Asian dressing which includes flavours such as soy and sesame oil. The fried noodle bundle adds some texture to the dish.

Crispy Duck Skin (part of the Peking Duck courses).
     The thin and crispy duck skin is actually served with a side of sugar. We are instructed to dip it in before eating. The sugar is supposed to counteract the richness of the duck skin and draw out it's sweetness.

     You can see I was a little hesitant about eating my piece of duck skin dipped in sugar ;) It was an interesting combo.

Dan's 'Superlean' Peking Duck. Peking duck slices with pancakes and condiments and a duck soup.
     All of the duck is used for this dish, it is seperated into the breast meat and the leg meat, both offering a different taste and texture.

In addition to the pancakes, the Peking duck also comes with some pocket buns.

Something a little different to the traditional pancake.

And the well loved pancake.

     To be honest I prefer a little more meat in my pancakes so this was pretty perfect to me. And the 'superlean' duck was a nice change to regular fatty duck meat. The pancakes were nice and thin and the sauces were nicely balanced.

Fried Scallops in XO sauce.
     Who doesn't love scallops in XO sauce? This dish is nice and fragrant, scallops were a decent size and not too rubbery. We kept going back for the sauce.

Pan fried Wagyu Beef on stone plate with Red Wine and Garlic sauce.
     This dish came out to the table all sizzling and smoky and full of aromas. The sauce was served table side for this dish. The sauce was tasty though I found the beef to be a little tough when I finally got around to eating it. Perhaps it was the waiting time between the chef pouring on the sauce and then all the photo taking after that, that resulted in the beef being a bit overcooked by the time it was eaten. Maybe they can serve it without the stone plate to prevent the beef from overcooking. Loved the bits of caramelised garlic.

Bloggers always love an action shot.

Pan fried Noodle Cake.
     I don't know if I liked this particular dish or not. It was a little savoury, a little sweet but it was quite plain. I did like the texture of the noodles compressed together than pan fried. Perhaps if it was eaten as a side to another dish? Or with a sauce? I think that would have completed it.

Longevity Noodles (originated from Shanxi Province, a typical birthday dish) with Zhajiang Sauce.
     We are told that the longevity noodles are actually made from one single strand of hand made noodle stretching up to 40 metres long. Whoever eats that single strand must have a long extended life ahead of them ;). Unfortunately for us, our noodles come all precut into single portions for ease of eating. The noodle was firm, and the sauce was meaty but still nice and light. It was almost like eating a Chinese spaghetti bolognaise.

'Toffee Apple' dessert.
     Always room for dessert! These are just some apple dumplings deep fried and then coated in toffee. We're instructed to not wait and quickly grab one of the dumplings and dunk it into an ice cold bowl of water to stop the toffee from cooking/hardening any further. 
     Being the bloggers we are, some of us can't help but grab the camera first. This dessert wasn't too heavy so it was easy to go back for more after one or two dumplings. I loved how the crisp toffee covered shell gave way to a soft fluffy interior with a bit of apple. I reckon I could finish off a whole serve of this by myself ;).

Chinese tea and macaron by The Dainty Baker.
     As all Chinese meals, we finish off our meal with some tea. Simon was kind enough to have bought some macarons along for us as a treat.

After lunch we get to watch the chefs in some noodle making action.

They make it look so easy to do.

     Then Thang decided to have a go. His noodle falls way short of the 40 metre mark. I feel sorry for the customer who has just had their life shortened ;)

     I must admit, when I heard 'contemporary Chinese', I was a little skeptical. The words modern, contemporary, and fusion can sometimes be bad news when it comes to food. I did enjoy all the dishes that we got to try though. It's hard to judge the restaurant as a whole since we were there before the official opening but only time will tell. I hope that they don't have too many teething problems, wonder what the rest of Sydney will think of this place. I'm keen to revisit and see them in full swing.

*Angie dined as a guest of Dan's House*

Dan's House on Urbanspoon


Simon Leong said...

i love a good action shot of the bloggers taking photos. the noodle making looks so cool. did anyone get a video of it? looks like the duck pancakes are worth having although that 'Toffee Apple' dessert looks like a hunting trap of some sort ;-)

john@heneedsfood said...

I must try Dan's sometime and it was a pity I couldn't make it to this lunch. I'd be as hesitant with dipping the duck skin into sugar as well.

Vivian - vxdollface said...

I'm so intrigued by the food here! Can't wait to take my parents :) the pan fried noodle cake looks like it's made with thin slices of radishes, there's something similar in shanghainese cuisine. And dipping the duck skin in sugar is a chinese thing :) we do it with pork crackling too!

SarahKate (Mi Casa-Su Casa) said...

Love the look on your face with the duck skin. Not sure how I'd feel about the sugar either! Otherwise, that looks like a stellar meal!

gastronomous anonymous said...

Love action blogger shots! this place looks great...
i have had the duck skin dipped in sugar in HK! i thought it tasted like lollies and loved it! hehehe
will definitely check it out!

gaby @ lateraleating said...

This place sounds interesting, like halfway between your typical Chinese eatery and fine dining (not quite there, IMO).

sara - Belly Rumbles said...

Oh those pocket buns look awesome. All the food looks great, is worth a visit for sure.