It's not often that Hungry Pete and I have a markedly different view on a place. It did happen a few times on this trip though, twice where I liked a place he didn't, once where he liked a place I didn't. One that I liked but he didn't was Ky Chow.
Now I thought Ky Chow was a bit better than the run of the mill Gouger Street Chinese restaurant. While it was pretty full, resulting in an outside table (which I actually thought was great as the sun started to go down) and service which left a bit to be desired, I thought the food and prices were quite reasonable. Maybe not the best Chinese food I've had in town but one of the better ones. It also included a few interesting dishes on the menu to try on a return visit.
Hungry Pete on the other hand thought the food was generally mediocre, with a couple of dishes he didn't like at all. For example, the salt and pepper bean curd. Neither of us thought this was perfect, as it was a bit oily and the skin being a bit crisper would have given it a more interesting texture. But I was surprised by just how much he disliked it, subjecting it to the 'I can do better than this at home test'.
Red was keen to try the Nanjing salted duck, as it is apparently an authentic specialty of that region of China. It looked a bit different to what I was expecting, white and the skin looking slightly 'wet'. Taste wise as you'd expect a bit salty, but with the meat tender, moist and not greasy as duck often is. A bit different and an interesting way to prepare the duck, but I think I prefer it crispy skinned and juicy. Red also thought it didn't taste very authentic.
The stir fried prawns and snow peas were very nicely cooked, the snow peas crisp and the prawns flavoursome and a decent size. This was probably the most popular dish on the night across the three of us.
The dish which we differed the most was on the Chinese fruit Hawthorn ribs. I am a bit of a sucker for sweet pork and thought the dish was fine, if maybe a little sweet even for me. Hungry Pete on the other hand didn't like it at all, not liking the flavours and finding it overdone (which I can't say I noticed myself).
With unusually strong differences of opinion about the food, the one thing we agreed on was that the service wasn't really up to scratch. During a period you know you are going to be busy you want to make sure your staff are organised and communicating to each other but that's not the impression we were left with. People left waiting in the queue for ten minutes before being asked how many in their party when there are empty tables, sitting around waiting for menus to be brought out when they could have been carried out when we were shown to our table. The effort appeared to be there but not the co-ordination. Also, for a moderately upmarket looking place no soap or toilet paper in the bathroom is a big service no-no as far as I am concerned, cleanliness is not optional for any part of a restaurant. Would probably forgive them the once, but if I returned and it had the same problem that would be the last visit for me.
I'd give it another go but would try to find a time they weren't so overwhelmed, but I don't think Pete or Red would return.
Food - 7
Ambience - 8
Service - 5.5
Price - 7
27 Gouger Street
Adelaide SA 5000
Tel: (08) 8221 5411