One of my favourite restaurants in Canberra has long been the Chairman and Yip and on our recent trip I was a little disconcerted to see it was no longer at its Bunda Street address – I found later it had moved to new digs in Barton – and in its place is Tasting China. Well we were there, so in we went….
Still a very elegant and inviting place –dark wood, a splash of colour around, comfortable seating, moody lighting – and the menu was appealing. A good range of dishes representing the cuisines of Canton, Sichaun and Shanghai. The wine list is well put together, with a fine selection of regions and varieties, although somewhat limited where “by the glass” is concerned. But a bottle of Geoff Merrill’s Grenache rosé suited us just fine!
To the food – we began with Zhong dumplings – gelatinous and tender dumplings filled with a mix of chopped boiled prawns and ginger, and doused with a mix of soy and garlic and chilli oil. These were simply outstanding – among the best dumplings we have eaten – the filling was juicy and aromatic, full of warm flavours and the companion sauces and oils a wonderful boost.
Our second starter, sea scallops with sugar snap peas, sesame oil and ginger sauce, was another mouth-watering experience – the scallops were plump and luscious, so very lightly cooked, a scatter of shredded ginger added warmth and spice, while the snappy peas crunched and delighted. Stunning.
Warned of the size of the mains by our waiter, we ordered only one – a very wise move – and our Sichuan Rock Ling in hot chilli oil arrived – a massive bowl of soup filled with batons of succulent fish, and well stocked with Sichuan pepper, numbing the lips and delighting the palate. A bowl of steamed rice helped soak up the soup. This was a very spicy and fitting conclusion to a brilliant lunch.
I have to say Tasting China is a more than worthy tenant of the old Chairman site – excellent food, great waiters, very good beverage list, welcoming décor – it will be on my must visit restaurants for future trips to Canberra. We loved it…. Absolutely recommended!!