Sunday, October 28, 2012

Spicy Ginger Cafe, Civic (ACT) by Big Fil

The reasons why I was in Canberra I won't go into.  Suffice it to say it resulted in two of the worst weeks of my life.  However, I did take the opportunity to check out a few places highly recommended by friends, as well as a couple of places down near Canberra hospital.

Ms International Jetsetter, soon off to New York to work for the UN, recommended Spicy Ginger cafe as her favourite place for dumplings in the National Capital.  With a recommendation like that, how could I refuse?  Unfortunately though I found the dumplings here mediocre at best, with even Ms IJ indicating that on the day we went they weren't up to their usual standard.

The restaurant itself is nice enough, clean, comfortable, well lit, a definite step up from your normal dumpling place.  After all, it's not just a speciality dumpling house but also appears to be a normal mid-range restaurant.  And the staff member who we spoke to after our meal, who at a guess was also the manager, was very friendly.

The dumplings though didn't cut the mustard.  Our choices were the steamed beef dumplings and the steamed combination dumplings.  Both had exactly the same problem - overly thick skins that resulted in a bit of a gluggy mess of a dumpling.  Really it was quite hard to tell what the filling was like because it was just so overpowered by the skins.  Not sure what happened as my companion who had recommended the restaurant said they weren't normally like that.

Our chicken fried with dried chillies was better but still not great.  Moist chicken but a little oilier than I'd have preferred, the major issue was the lack of heat in the dish.  Consequently we both started eating the dried chillies which had a great smoky flavour to them.  This was fine until we hit the occasional hot one which had us both reaching for the water.  Given that I have a fair tolerance for spicy food and Ms IJ is of Sri Lankan background this means that the hot ones were really little firecrackers.

A nice place to eat and I did like the staff even if it was sometimes hard to get their attention.  The food though was nothing better than average, with the caveat that apparently we didn't catch them at their best.  Would I go back?  Yes, but only because they had originally come so highly recommended.  Oh, and as usual I found the prices about 20% higher for the quality of the food compared to the bigger eastern state capitals.

Food - 6
Service - 7
Ambience -7
Price - 6

25 Childers Street
Civic ACT 2601
Tel: (02) 6162 1708

Spicy Ginger on Urbanspoon

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