Saturday, June 22, 2013

Dolan Uyghur, Melbourne CBD by Big Fil

So, what is Uyghur food?  Well, while it comes from Xinjiang province in China it’s not like most of the Chinese food you find around town.  The Uyghur aren’t Han Chinese but Turkish, Muslim in belief, and their food shares a lot in common with central rather than east Asian cuisines.  There are a few Uyghur style places starting to pop up around town, including Dolan Uyghur Food Heaven on Little Lonsdale Street in the city.

While it had apparently been open for a few weeks and was located near work, the first we heard of this place was when Ruby Grapefruit noticed a blog post.  Given it's less than five minutes walk from work plans were made for a quick lunchtime visit.

Of the three of us on the day, I was the only one who'd tried Uyghur food before.  I certainly can’t proclaim any expertise but for me it has always been about three things – the handmade noodles, the skewers and the lamb.  These are what I head for every time and were pretty much the first things we looked at when we saw the menu.

First dish to hit the table was the handmade noodles with vegetables and chicken.  While I did note down the proper names of the dishes, unfortunately my writing has proved illegible – not even I can read it.  Anyway, we all liked this dish but different aspects of it.  Both Snooze and I loved the noodles, dense and with lots of texture (or bite).  The sauce itself I found a little sweet – with both Snooze and Ruby not fond of overly spicy dishes we'd looked for some of the milder options.  Ruby Grapefruit on the other hand found the noodles denser and heavier than she liked, but loved the sauce.  Confirmation I guess that everyone’s tastes are a little different, although we did all find the chicken a little dry.

Next up, the lamb pie.  It’s a little different to the typical Australian pie, flatter with the pastry just a little flaky on top and soggy on the bottom where the juices from the lamb have soaked through.  What it is though is full of flavour, good strong lamb flavours that stick to your bones.

 Best dish for the day for me and for most visits to Uyghur restaurants, the lamb skewers.  The lamb is quite heavily spiced (although not always chilli hot), the meat a little fatty to ensure it remains moist during cooking.  Usually cooked on flattened metal skewers to stop the meat sliding when being turned, one thing you have to be very careful about is only holding the end of the skewers.  Pick it up near the middle and the third degree burns you will suffer will quickly make you wish you hadn’t.

Final dish was the Turkish bread topped with tender lamb ribs.  This I liked despite the bread not being straight from the oven fresh.  The lamb was tender, again slightly fatty but fall off the bone tender, the juices mixing into the sauce and soaking into the bread.  I think the others were struggling a bit by this stage as the serves were quite generous, but I was determined to take no prisoners (lamb ribs are one of my favourite things in the world).

Don’t expect anything subtle or complex about the food and you’ll be well satisfied.  It’s tasty, it’s filling, it’s comforting, it’s good.

Food – 7.5
Ambience -7
Service – 7
Price – 7

166 Little Lonsdale Street
Melbourne VIC 3000
Tel: (03) 9041 8802

Dolan Uyghur Food Heaven on Urbanspoon

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