This is the first restaurant I have reviewed in Marrickville despite living here for just over a year now! I really can’t believe it and I promise to rectify that soon with lots more posts about the fabulous suburb of Marrickville.
For now, let’s chat about Lotus Asian Restaurant.
The first thing we notice as we step inside on a very windy and chilly Monday night is the warm, inviting glow from the deep orange painted walls. There are several wooden tables and chairs and a large communal table. A party of four, the only diners, are on their way out.
The fact that it’s not busy is unsurprising, as Marrickville is hardly pumping on a Monday night, and Lotus is situated on the less popular main street, Illawarra Rd, near the train station.
We linger over the menu for quite a while as it takes a fairly wide journey over South East Asia; Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore as well as China.
Finally, we decide on a harmonious mix of the different regions and settle back with a glass of my favourite wine of the moment, McGuigans Pinot Grigio, a complimentary bottle from the owners – how did they know I loved it so?
First up, a very fresh and inviting Grilled Thai Beef Salad ($12). Thin slices of rare beef sit nestled between super fresh herbs and slithers of red chilli and spanish onion. Really delicious and the perfect start to the meal.
Next was this absolutely amazing crispy braised duck with chilli tamarind sauce & steamed wombok ($16.50). It was a recommendation that ended up being the best dish of the night!
Large boneless chunks of duck are soft on the inside and super (deep-fried) crispy on the outside, then doused in a moreish sweet/sour/hot sauce. The accompanying steamed wombok is a welcome fresh respite from the other intense flavours. Later, we are told that it is their most popular dish, with people turning up specifically for it and it’s easy to see why.
Another recommendation and another winning dish. The braised prawns with chili, pumpkin, lemongrass & coconut milk ($18.50) is a Vietnamese-style curry heady with freshly made curry paste and bursting with plump, juicy prawns.
There is not too much coconut milk so the complexity of flavours are really prominent. I especially love the fragrant lemongrass and bits of seasonal pumpkin.
The Char Kway Teo $13.50 is my least favourite dish of the night. The menu promises ‘wok fried fresh rice noodles with chicken, Chinese sausages, prawns, egg & dark soy sauce’ although I couldn’t find any Chinese sausage in there, which was unfortunate as that was my reason for ordering it – I love Chinese sausage in noodles. However, the rice noodles were beautifully fresh and ‘bouncy’ and a generous portion too. In fact, all the dishes are a good size and good value for money.
At the end of the meal, our waitress comes over to find out our thoughts on the food and introduces herself. Her name is Kim Ngyuen and she is the co-owner, along with her husband Dan Cao, who is also the head chef. They live locally, like us, and we chat about the other restaurants in the area along with a bunch of other miscellaneous things, like our children (and how they don’t sleep through the night!).
Lotus is only a hop, skip and a jump from our place, so we’ll definitely be back. I’m keen to try the many other duck specialities on the menu as well as taste their freshly made curry pastes used to full effect in other dishes. If you head on down there, be sure to tell them Christie sent you!
Address: 393 Illawarra Rd, Marrickville NSW 2204
Phone: 02 9559 8895
Fig & Cherry dined as guests of Lotus Asian Restaurant with special thanks to Charlotte from C Publicity.