Modern South-East Asian kitchen & Bar
20 Old Coach Road,
South Australia 5173
DINNER : Thursday, Friday and Saturday 5.00 pm until late
LUNCH : Sunday 12 noon – 4.00 pm
CHEF : TRINH RICHARDS
FRONT OF HOUSE : MIKE RICHARDS
OWNERS : MIKE AND TRINH RICHARDS
AO 29 SEPTEMBER 23
ENDAME POENIX TAIL TARO PUFF, FERMENTED BEAN CURD
It has taken a long time to get to The Little Rickshaw, and, not without the encouragement of their regular diners ecstatically singing their praises. Basically, housed in a rusty old calvanised iron shed with carpets on the ground it is a delightfully quirky informal environment. Staff may look casual but don’t be fooled they are professionals and clearly love working at Little Rickshaw.
As a rule, I dislike ‘chef’s menu’. Too often in ten dishes there are at least three that are not fully complete and still need work or simply haven’t been thought through. In the early days of my cooking career someone correctly and rather aggressively told me, “your customers are not your guinea pigs!” Trinh’s food is simply exquisite, and every dish was perfection, perfectly balanced. There were no overlapping flavours from dish to dish and chilli is used with a restrained and deft hand.
We had lunch on a Sunday, a leisurely second sitting. There were two add-ons to the set menu Smoky Bay oyster, chilli, daikon mignonette $5 [each] and Steamed barramundi, tom kho, tempura enoki, coriander oil $19 [2 people]. We added the Smoky Bay oyster but chose not to have the barramundi. One of our number does not eat oysters so just two were ordered. Gobbled, we could have eaten another dozen each they were so good, but as it was just the beginning of the meal we wisely chose not to order more. One does not leave The Little Rickshaw hungry.
Next Albrolhos Island scallop, kosho butter, xo, spring onion root tuille. The Albrolhos Island scallops, although a frozen product, are the best one can currently find in Australia. A quality product using modern freezing technology and very expensive. I love the use of butter, in a French way with Asian flavours and this was sublime. Also, gorgeously plated…not loaded with unnecessary ingredients…perfect!
The Edamame phoenix tail taro puff, fermented bean curd…again a triumph that has set me in search of a recipe for the taro puff as I have no clue how to make it. Gorgeous crunch on the outside with a complex slightly starchy filling…they vanished with appreciative purrs.
The endless list of impeccable dishes just went on. Lemongrass chicken sparerib, spicy tamarind sauce precisely portioned for three. Again, very tasty sticky tamarind sauce had a smattering of unroasted sesame seeds and clung perfectly to what was basically a ballotine.
SMOKY BAY OYSTER, CHILLI, DAIKON MIGNONETTE
GORGEOUS CRUNCH ON THE OUTSIDE WITH A COMPLEX SLIGHTLY STARCHY FILLING
ALBROLHOS ISLAND SCALLOP, KOSHO BUTTER, XO, SPRING ONION ROOT TUILLE
LEMON GRASS CHICKEN SPARERIB
KIM CHI & PORK JOWL FRIED RICE, KIM CHI MAYO
so, so fabulous!!!!!
Prawn & chicken dumpling, crispy garlic, chilli infused dark soy vinaigrette [no picture too busy eating]…so good!
Kim chi & pork jowl fried rice, kim chi mayo came topped with crispy rice noodles and chives and had wonderful textural differences…and of course the flavours were tremendous.
Green papaya & mint salad, cherry tomatoes, spiced pepitas, nuoc cham…perfect mixture of soft and crunch herby and dressed with the salty, slightly sweet, slightly hot and vinegary nuoc cham.
Not listed on our printed menu of the day, the peeled off corn is a bit of a thing around town and whilst it was good I think it would be so much better made with local summer corn rather than anything that is available at the moment. We also tried two Wagyu brisket dishes presented as experiments from the kitchen, both were good, but we especially loved the Brisket with betel leaf, mango salsa and lotus.
I have nightmare memories of the first time that I served jackfruit. A jackfruit curry that came back uneaten to the kitchen almost as quickly as it had gone to the table. It was like block of wood in a curry sauce and next morning a knock on my kitchen door and a lovely regular customer offered to show me how to cook it, politely saying “Miss Oliver, this is not how you serve jackfruit!” LOL!!
Only a fool would have refused. The idea that jackfruit could be a sorbet was unfathomable to me, but there it was a flawless quenelle of Jackfruit and spiced rum sorbet. The Kaffir lime mousse came in a paper-thin basket and continued the Asian love of crunchy and creamy but lacked a strong kaffir lime flavour that could be achieved with more rind. Pure nitpicking.
By the final finish we were stuffed to the gills. Brioche doughnuts, miso glaze, cured egg yolk ice cream, duck fat snow. I expected the ice cream to have more of a golden colour and be a bit salty, but to be fair by this time I was utterly and happily replete and could only manage a single doughnut and a teaspoon of ice cream. One of our number had no hesitation in picking up the plate demolishing the remaining four doughnuts and licking plate clean from her finger…LOL!!
We love The Little Rickshaw!
BRIOCHE DOUGHNUTS, MISO GLAZE, CURED EGG YOLK ICE CREAM, DUCK FAT SNOW
At $85 AUD for their menu The Little Rickshaw is generously underpriced, especially when compared to some of the more upmarket city offerings. There was no squabbling about portions, and even those we had to divide ourselves were more or less clearly marked.
I suspect in winter you might need to wear your fur coat or ski gear to keep comfortably warm and on a very hot day beach wear and a cold towel but it will be worth it.
They have an excellent website, and their FAQ section is something that many more establishments should consider I am sure it saves a lot of time.
There has been some quiet grumbling from locals and early adopters of The Little Rickshaw about the set price menu. Not about the price because they are all happy to pay, but because they miss being able to enjoy a plateful of their favourites. I can understand, but equally I understand why the decision has been taken by so many establishments since COVID. We all want to keep our favourite restaurants in business and don’t believe they should work like dogs to not earn a little more than they pay their employees. Plus, at the moment, all restaurants stay open at enormous financial risk and in fear of another interest rate rise that will further impact on discretionary spending. Whilst none of us would consider taking up a place in a restaurant ordering an entrée and glass of water there are unfortunately some who do, and the fact is that no restaurant cannot afford this type of diner.
Bookings are essential and we suggest a second sitting in any restaurant is always the more relaxed.
BASICALLY A RUSTY CORRUGATED IRON SHED WITH CARPETS ON THE FLOOR…SEATING, GLASSWARE AND ACCOUTREMENTS ARE CLASSY.
AND WE DRANK
The BD’3C proved to be such an excellent match for Trinh’s faultlessly balanced food. Although with zero dosage there should have been very little residual sweetness on the end palate we found it had sufficient to embrace Trinh’s food and mild spiciness. Perfectly balanced with an excellent long finish that embraced the food, instead of changing tack and ordering something different for the second bottle we ordered another….read more scroll down on the link.
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