Sunday, 11 September 2011

The Red Teapot: Authentic Asian Cuisine

Red Teapot on Urbanspoon
As much as I praise, love, devote myself to eating, I don't seem to have much fate with restaurants. It is quite a tragic, unrequitted love story.
They are either closed, and if they're not closed, then they are closed before the time they are meant to close. WHYYYYYYYYYYYY!

After much hassle we got to Tak Chee on William Street and was greeted welcomingly by its CLOSED sign. This is the second time I've been rejected by this little eatery! I just don't seem to want to remember it is closed for business on Mondays.

Wandering sadly back up the street without a destination, a little red shop caught our attention.
Its appearance is subtle, humble, and nestled quietly in between its neighbouring stores.
And this little red shop, is called The Red Teapot: Authentic Asian Cuisine.

Empty upon arrival, our presence seemed to attract more diners. What can I say. Must be my foodie aura ;)
My stomach ended up telling me to order the following:

Beef Brisket and Rice in Claypot
In theory, this sounded really good. In reality however, it was just ok. I'm not sure if it were their actual intentions to make the taste of everything a little burnt. There was evidently a huge burnt rice base at the bottom of the "claypot", which sadly was a metal pot. No fun :(

So the rice really did have a sharp, slightly burnt aroma and taste with several pieces of blackened grains of rice, as well as several bits of black unidentifiable objects. Seriously! They didn't disintegrate even when we used our fingers to try and discover what they were, cause they were just unchewable.
Sorta like... burnt tar.

The beef was a bit chewy to be beef brisket. It lacked the lines of soft fat and the level of tenderness that beef brisket is usually cooked till. Maybe a littleee undercooked, but rice was a littleee overcooked. A little burnt flavour, not to my liking, but maybe to yours.

Beef Brisket Claypot - Close up
Original serving. Usually claypot dishes are typically served in, but cooked in one as well. As such it really seals in the warmth and the flavours. Ahh good enough.

Beef Fried Ho Fun
Another beef choice, in the form of a traditional Asian style dish. Dark colour stained strips of ho fun (thick rice noodles), fried til fragrant along with beef, bean sprouts, vegetables, spring onions, onions, egg, garnished with a sprinkling of sesame seeds.

A lot richer and deeper flavours than its counterpart, which includes egg sauce poured through. This was just like fried kuay teow, which usually includes more variety.

Coconut Curry Laksa
This is a dish I must order for the first time, in any restaurant that serves it. There are always variations in the ingredients included, but they always have the same reddish characteristic. Red Teapot's version included a combination of meats of prawns, Chinese barbeque pork, chicken breast strips, fish cake and tofu.

I thought it looked a bit watery in comparison to other laksas, which aren't as deep red in colour on the surface. Infused with coconut milk, laksas are usually soo creamy and tasty. The darker tinge of red was explained when I tried the laksa.

Coconut Curry Laksa #2
The colour of the soup base in this picture is probably a more accurate depiction of the actual laksa. The dish did in fact taste like it contained a lot less coconut milk in comparison. Thus, the flavour tasted strongly of curry, spicy and sharp, and leaned less towards the milky, creamy smell and smoothness of coconut milk based soups.

But this variation was very nice and suited to those who like their stuff hot. The hot sensation is really represented well by the fiery chilli red appearance of the soup. It really says it has the ability to burn the life out of your tastebuds, which it successfully did to mine.

The Red Teapot
Now. This is THE red teapot, at The Red Teapot. It is somewhat like the "mascot" of the store, unique and antique looking, having the impression that the store's red interior were painted to suit this particular ornament.

It came out all pretty and dainty with its own little base plate to sit on. But looks can be deceiving.
That thing weighs a tonne! I literally could not lift it when it was filled to its capacity with scalding hot Chinese Jasmine tea. Bright red and stained with historical dark patches to match its black flower decorations is a very different style of tea presentation but if it really took this much effort and trained my biceps hard just to pour tea in my cup, I would pass up on drinking it.

Damn, that thing could be a weight training piece of equipment!
So sturdy, but so fragile at the same time.

Cast Iron Red Teapot
And surprisingly, this antique looking teapot is actually for sale. Listed under beverages in the restaurant's menu, is a little line stating Cast Iron Red Teapot. With all the other familiar sounding drinks selling at familiar sounding prices, this is the line that catches your eye.
Its vague description and initially shocking price at $59, it made me wonder

Turns out you can sell this little masterpiece at that price.
It's a heavy little thing, but it does send out that unmissable vibe of fancy tea ceremony ornament type towards tea fanatics.


Red Teapot is a small, cosy eatery, holding at most probably 30 diners at full capacity. Its windows are adorned with newspaper articles, food reviews and numerous awards it has won throughout the several years it has been open. It has certainly marked its position within the food industry in Perth, distinguishing itself by really putting emphasis on the Asian tradition of their enjoyment of tea.

It was empty when we set foot inside the restaurant. That didn't stop us from enjoying everything. As such we ate in a very quiet surrounding, and slurping the noodles from our laksa seemed to be disturbingly loud. Ah well. Enjoyment overrides manners sometimes. :)

Shop design is simple and fresh. Its predominant colour is, non surprisingly, red. Red is the colour that adorns the walls, along with dark coloured shades and panels and crimson hues dominating the majority of the shop. It offers a different sort of feel and vibe to your typical non-fussed Chinese eatery, putting more focus on the style of service and environment.

Oh and, no tea refills :(

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