Thursday, June 14, 2007

The Ginger Room, Wycombe Rd, Neutral Bay

The Ginger Room, Wycombe Rd, Neutral Bay
Thursday 14 June, 2007

If my memory serves me correctly this dining space was known as Temple until recently. A quick makeover by the crew who bought us Blue Ginger in Balmain and chef/ author Les Huynh and presto....The Ginger Room has arrived.
Located just off Military Rd on the corner block of Wycombe Rd, The Ginger Room is a simple, inviting restaurant. Upon entry there is a small ramp, large bucket for umbrellas (tonight was wet, wild & windy so everyone had their massive golf umbrellas out) a large communal table down the centre and a handful of tables on either side. Large mirrors dominate one wall and also house the nightly specials handwritten in a thick white texta. It's a little hard to read but you can make out the dishes.....just.
The exposed, open kitchen at the rear of the restaurant is a hive of activity and out wafts the wonderful aroma of coriander, chilli and garlic. We were seated at one end of the large communal table and as three of us had arrived early we decided to kick off with some Vietnamese chicken rice paper rolls. These came served on a rectangular dish with two dipping sauces and we polished these off like ducks to water.
A quick chat to our lovely waitress revealed that The Ginger Room has been open for 2 months and chef/ author Les Huynh is selling copies of his cookbooks, 'Blue Ginger' and 'Takeaway' if we are interested. When the entire gang of 8 had arrived we left the ordering to one of our dinner buddies who delivered the goods:
- Vietnamese chicken rice paper rolls
- Steamed vegetable dumplings with chilli black vinegar sauce
- Chicken wontons with plum sauce
- Braised chicken with chilli and coriander
- Salt & pepper tofu
- Salt & pepper squid
- Asian greens with garlic & oyster sauce
- Spicy beef with green beans and hosin sauce

We were incredibly impressed with the food - for our chatty group of 8 there wasn't much talking as each dish was passed around along with recommendations such as, 'you have to try this one', 'make sure you get some of this' etc. My favourites were the Braised chicken - it had all the freshness of your typical Vietnamese dish along with plenty of chilli, light amber fish sauce and crisp, tender chicken pieces and the Salt & pepper tofu - it was perfectly cooked, crisp with the lip smacking slat & pepper on the outside and melt in your mouth good on the inside. Delicious.

I've been on the lookout for a great Vietnamese restaurant for ages since my disappointing experiences at Trans and Phuong. The Ginger Room is worth visiting.

The Ginger Room - 165 Wycombe Rd, Neutral Bay - (02) 9904 0688


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