In honour of the New Year and the resumption of our journey, we decided that 2013 should kick off with a bang. This meant temporarily bypassing the next restaurant on our list, (coincidentally this happened to be ‘Vegan Hut’) in favour of a more tried and tested option; Pacific Seafood BBQ House. A long-standing Mecca for fresh seafood and barbequed meat lovers, Pacific House is something of an institution on the street even spawning a second establishment for those on the other side of the river (210 Toorak Rd, South Yarra). As soon as we found a table we were presented with three bowls of ‘house soup’, while Yask rebuked the murky broth, Marge and Dizz took a couple of spoonfuls before resigning it to the edge of the table. While not as unpleasant as it appeared, it offered little in the way of taste and was proving an unnecessary distraction to the task at hand, ordering.
With the promise of freshly made New Year’s resolutions still ringing in our ears we poured over the extensive menu searching for options that would both satisfy our hunger as well as our newfound healthy lifestyles. Ultimately we decided on a whole deep fried flounder, mixed bbq meats, san choi bow, a Szechuan chicken hot pot and some water spinach. We also resolved to try new things, so we’ll call it a break even!
The san choi bow arrived first with Yask somewhat ironically taking the vegetarian route while Marge and Dizz opted for chicken. Despite all initially appearing to be a bit dry and devoid of the customary dollop of plum sauce they proved to be deceptively full of flavour and were quickly devoured. Coming to Pacific House and not sampling their barbecued meats would be like going to KFC and not getting the Colonel’s fried chicken, so we also ordered a mixed plate of duck and pork. Despite its lofty reputation, mixed proved to be the perfect word to describe the dish. Some pieces were crispy skinned and succulent while others were fatty and gristly, the temperature also varied significantly between the two meats. All in all, the good pieces more than cancelled out the poor ones, so it must be said that at the end of the day the dish was still more hit than miss.
If it’s remiss of anyone to come to Pacific House and not get the bbq it’s downright disrespectful to dine there and not get any seafood. With the lobster significantly out of our price range and crab on the wrong side of our reward for effort equation we decided that a whole flounder would serve as the centrepiece for our meal. In regards to taste we weren’t disappointed, the fish came encrusted in the same sort of batter normally associated with salt and pepper squid with plenty of chilli and fried shallots to complement the sweet, sweet flesh. If we were to mount one criticism against the fish it would be that perhaps there was too little flesh to go around. Sure flounders are a thin fish and we can accept that, but this one was borderline bulimic. As if anticipating our main course’s eating disorder we had also ordered a side of water spinach with garlic and a Szechuan chicken hot pot. The chicken which was recommended by our waitress was well spiced and tasty and although it briefly set our taste buds alight it fell a bit short of burning itself into our memories. Finally, the water spinach which was admittedly a second choice to the unavailable snow pea shoots that originally took our fancy eventually proved to be an adequate replacement and provided a fresh foil against the fried fish and the spice of the chicken.
So although our New Year’s resolutions were now in tatters, having been picked apart and destroyed in the same manner as the flounder carcass that remained as an embarrassing reminder of our indiscretions on the table, the year was at least off to a good start!
Value 3/5 ($113)
Movie - Abandoned in favour of the new Buck Hunter outside the Box Office
1st: Yask, 2nd: Marge, 3rd: Dizz.
(Please note that while Marge did come second, he did win his first series. One more than Dizz has won)