After eating a late night dessert at Acland St. Cantina, I saw a flier for ‘The Month of the Prince’ which revolved around food and Circa, the Prince venue. It featured things like Taco Tuesday and the Cantina Crab Shack, but the thing that caught my eye was the Street Feud, a promise of many exciting Asian-fusion restaurants gathered in one convenient location at The Deck; how could I turn down the opportunity?
Tickets were only $39 (I managed to find a discounted link so got in for $30) for a dish from each of the participants: Acland St Cantina, Hanoi Hannah, Saigon Sally, Charlie Dumpling, Newmarket Hotel and Fonda.
We arrived early and managed to score seats and a table which was a very precious commodity on The Deck. Everything was set up beautifully, and surprisingly all the stores fit with room to mingle. There was a row of cute voting boxes and a trophy for the restaurant that claimed the title of “Best Sticky Finger Dish”. The sun was shining and the smell of cooking food signalled the start of eating time!
Because we were overwhelmed with the decisions, we followed the Feud Ticket order.
Newmarket Hotel: St Louis stylepork ribs with Newmarket hotel’s BBQ sauce & apple slaw
These ribs were bathed in incredibly delicious spicy-ass BBQ sauce with a kick and tang and so much flavour. The sauce really brought out the ribs, so much so that I licked those bones clean. I would have preferred if the meat fell away easier but the whole dish was so damn good. The coleslaw was just a side but the vegetables were fresh with a lot of crunch. The dressing they used was quite tangy which cut through the ribs refreshingly as you ate. The dish overall was satisfyingly messy.
Fonda represents as usual with their dish of a market fresh Rockling taco with chipotle aioli, picked carrot, onion & cabbage. On first bite the cabbage garnish almost overwhelmed the dish but on further chews the rockling really came out. More fish meat would have been nice, as the batter was quite floury but the fish was done well. The addition of guacamole and spicy aoili smashed it. Though not as punchy or heavy as the ribs, on each bite the taste was just so good and Fonda has lived up to their very high standard.
Acland St Cantina’s pulled pork Arepa, chipotle slaw & pickled pineapple was disappointing. The slaw was the best of the three, slightly sweeter due to the pineapple and creamier due to more mayo. The Arepa pocket was, quote a friend “illogically built” with the avocado stuffed in first, then the pulled pork and then the slaw making it difficult to sample all three in one bite without the pocket falling apart. The Arepa was quite tough instead of being soft; however that could be how it is traditionally made. The side of pork crackling tasted like it was out of the packet and not worth the calories for me.
Hanoi Hannah’s Bo La Lot Crispy Betel Leaf Cigars weren’t actually that crispy; I expected the betel leaf to be like dried seaweed, however it was quite soggy due to the Vietnamese fish sauce and it’s ‘green’ taste was quite strong. The meat was very juicy but not that tasty, in the vein of tasting like a sausage you buy at Safeway. The peanuts added a nice crunch at the end of the bite but didn’t change the flavour that much. The tangy sauce definitely made the dish a lot tastier, and I’d consider it a great snack but nowhere near the league of the others.
The first of desserts was the Tira Mi Sally Ice-Cream Sandwich by Saigon Sally. This looked beautiful but was way too small for my liking. The caramel bits hidden in the ice cream layer was a welcome surprise and gave a gleeful little crunch to the texture. The almond meringue on the outside was gooey and made the whole dish easy to handle, and the coffee ice-cream wasn’t too bitter (and I’m not even a fan of coffee!). The praline middle was creamy and finished off a great dessert. Loved it.
Charlie Dumpling’s Milk Chocolate dumpling with chilli sugar & raspberry sorbet was sadly the last dish of the day but I was definitely satisfied. This was an amazing dessert; the balls were filled with soft milky chocolate that exploded in your mouth. The soft shell was deep fried like pancake batter but still held everything in. The vanilla bean sauce completed the milk chocolate as did the tangy raspberry sorbet which had a slight kick to it due to the chilli sugar.
Plus we always love our fortunes told via food to cap off a wonderful day.
TL;DR My vote went to Newmarket Hotel’s ribs, but it was such a tough decision between the two desserts as well!