THE RYDGES POST

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Drink/Dine,Humour ian 3/16/2014

In the best tradition of MKR today we have a Rydges Darwin Kitchen Rules cook off between two top restaurants, Loong Fong Chinese Restaurant at Rydges Airport Hotel and the Essence Grill at Rydges Airport Resort. And having a little fantasy here… let’s invite Manu and Pete to judge!

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Ding Dong.

It’s the doorbell. No time for panic because preparation is complete. The Executive Chef at Essence, Sonya Hoffman, has her frypans at the ready and Conie Huang & Peter Jetlai at Loong Fong have their woks poised!

With the heavily sponsored car parked, the dapper diners straighten their matching suits, say ‘bonjour’ and ‘g’day’ to their waitress who smiles and shows them to their table.

Curiously they sit on the same side of the table. Cosy indeed, but lousy for conversation. That’s okay, however, these chaps are used to dining without talking – they have developed a secret code where raised eyebrows and quirky grins speak volumes.

The waitress moves the cutlery to accommodate the seating arrangement and entrées are served…

Pete has chosen the Five Spiced Quail and stipulated hold the chopsticks. It can be hard to pick up specks of spice

Manu has gone all Filipino and chosen Pork Adobo with Asian greens, shittake mushroom and atchara. Her stipulates to the waitress that she hold her charming smile. Ahhh, you have to love those smooth-talking Froggies…

Pete and Manu eat. Slowly. In silence. With their mouths closed, as their mothers taught them.

Pete’s left eyebrow arches like a sprayed caterpillar. He is obviously very impressed. Either that or he has wind. Manu’s brow furrows and he nods sagely. He’s also impressed. Either that or he has detected that Pete has wind.

The mains are served. From the Loong Fong menu Pete has gone for the Seafood Combination Special - prawn, scallop, wild barra and squid stir fried with seasonal vegetables and stipulated hold the knife. Unless the barra has progressed from ‘wild’ to ‘really angry’ the knife will be superfluous.

Manu has ordered the Lemon Honey Marinated South Australian Lamb Rump

served medium, with sweet potato mash, wilted spinach and blackcurrant jus. He stipulates Hold the Line, which is a song by Toto.

They again eat in silence, leaving not a skerrick on the plate. In fact, the plates are so clean they nearly sport that little animated sparkly thing that goes ‘ding’.

Pete and Manu’s eyes meet. The moment must be seized. They nod, give a simultaneous wry smile, spring to their feet, rip open their shirts and do a lap of the table, performing an overactive impression of flappy birds.

“Perfection!” Pete announces, climbing onto his chair. “Oui! Parfekshon!” Manu agrees. “Ten out of ten!” shouts Pete. Manu agrees, “Oui! Dix out of dix!!!”

Well! Were Sonya, Connie and Peter surprised at the judges’ reaction?! Not at all. Apparently it happens all the time…

For the full Loong Fong menu from Rydges Airport Hotel, click here.

And for the menu at Rydges Airport Resort’s Essence, click here.

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