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Iron Chef Chinese Seafood Restaurant

Utter the words “Iron Chef” and I can’t but help to think of that cooking game show that fills me with mixed emotions of awe & wonder (the Japanese production with English voice overs), revulsion (Iron Chef USA, the one with William Shatner), and more recently, curiosity (the currently in production Iron Chef Australia).

I felt the same set of mixed emotions when I came across a Chinese restaurant that shares the same name (though, I believe, otherwise unrelated). Would it be an absolute disaster, or would its cuisine reign supreme?

I was certainly curious enough to find out.

Iron Chef Chinese Seafood Restaurant is a typical upmarket Chinese restaurant in many regards.

An ostentatious display of live seafood in fish tanks? Check. The juxtaposition of fine décor (at least by Chinese restaurant standards) with cheap, generic porcelain teapots and teacups? Check.

However, there are little differences as well. For instance, the Vietnamese & Thai influences along with the predominantly Cantonese fare on their menu.

There is also an open planned prep area behind glass, showing off their barbecued goods which they produce in-house. A display case to drool over as you wait for your order of Peking duck (served in two courses) or crispy skin suckling pig, among the usual selection of roasted chicken and BBQ pork.

Yum cha is available during the weekends for those that feel so inclined. This time around it was strictly a dinner affair, a la carte.

Anyhow, onto the food. Allez Cuisine!

Bang a gong, we are on!

Dinner starts off with a complimentary light meat-based broth, which is not a bad way to whet the appetite.

I’ve always been curious about the contents of such broths but never have the heart to ask, or a floor reporter to conveniently throw the question to. It feels like one of those “don’t ask, don’t tell” sorts of situation where I feel I’m better off not knowing.

For what it’s worth, it tasted like a light chicken and/or pork broth with a subtle sweetness to it. There was also a hunk of meat that looked much like beef which was left untouched, forever to remain a mystery.

Shangtung style chicken ($19.80) – crispy skin roast chicken (half) served with a light vinaigrette sauce.

The shangtung chicken is one of the better renditions of this dish I’ve had. The chicken is moist and tender, even the breast portions which tends to succumb to dryness. The skin has a wonderful crispness to it without the greasy after taste that some versions of this dish I’ve had in the past have had.

The vinaigrette provides an accent of soy, vinegar and garlic flavours without overpowering the taste of the chicken itself.

Wok fried king prawns coated with duck egg yolk ($30.80) – Man alive! These golden nuggets are like crack.

You know that they probably won’t do great things for your health. However, once you’ve had that first springy bite of prawn sealed in a crisp deep fried batter, coated with rich, salty duck egg yolk, you’re hooked.

If I read one of the supplementary menus correctly, the duck egg yolk treatment is available for all seafood items at a premium of $10 per Kg. Hello soft shell crab coated in duck egg yolk!

Back on to the prawn dish. Though it’s quite pricey, I can certainly see myself ordering this again, if not some other seafood variant. Just so long as I can get my salty duck egg yolk fix.

One great thing about a lot of Chinese restaurants, especially the more upmarket ones, are the complimentary desserts.

However, the Iron Chef doesn’t just offer one complimentary dessert but three – a sweet, bean soup which is served warm, some slices of fruit (watermelon in this case), and some small pastries.

Though they do have a number of dessert items such as durian pudding, pan fried red bean cakes and the Iron Chef’s steamed volcano bun (whatever that is) on the menu, with the generous amount of complimentary desserts provided, I almost wonder whether there would be room for anything else.

All in all, a good meal that, at the very least, upholds the goodwill that comes with the Iron Chef name.

Iron Chef Chinese Seafood Restaurant
84 Broomfield St, Cabramatta
(02) 9723 6228
Mon-Fri: 10am-3pm, 5:30pm-10:30pm
Sat-Sun: 9am-3:30pm, 5:30pm-11pm

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{ 20 comments… add one }
  • Sara @ Belly Rumbles September 27, 2010, 11:17 am

    Bang a gong indeed, those wok fried prawns look delicious. The sweet bean soup looks interesting.

    • Simon September 28, 2010, 10:37 pm

      The sweet bean soup tastes interested too, especially if you’re not use to beans in your dessert.

  • billy@a table for two September 27, 2010, 11:20 am

    The shantung chicken looks really good with the glistening crispy skin. I love to dip them in the sour plum salt powder. Does the prawn worth the price tag? I always skeptic when prawns come shell-less…

    • Simon September 28, 2010, 10:41 pm

      The prawns are pricey, as I’ve stated. Would have much preferred to pay around $10 less but I didn’t feel hugely ripped off all the same.

      I tend to get skeptical when the prawns come tailless. In this case, the prawn tails were in tact (for whatever that’s worth).

  • Simon Food Favourites September 27, 2010, 11:28 am

    i’m always on the look out for a good Shangtung chicken. where’s the best you’ve had in Sydney? this one looks pretty good though :-)

    • Simon September 28, 2010, 10:46 pm

      Hard to say. For what you pay, the one at Kensington Chinese is pretty good. More impact with the flavour than this one, but the chicken at Iron Chef is superior in my mind.

      Only one way to find out I guess :)

  • Shanks September 27, 2010, 1:19 pm

    Salty duck egg yolk fix sounds like my kind of crack.

    • Simon September 28, 2010, 10:47 pm

      It’s starting to be mine as well. I blame a certain blogger that will remain nameless.

  • Karen | C&C September 27, 2010, 1:21 pm

    I’ve heard from Howard just how good this place is and I’ve still yet to check it out. Must do chinese T/A soon :)

    • Simon September 28, 2010, 10:49 pm

      Make sure to bring a reasonable amount of funds. The food was good but it’s also isn’t cheap by any means.

  • Cate September 27, 2010, 5:18 pm

    That Shantung chicken looks good – that is always one of my favourites.

    • Simon September 28, 2010, 10:50 pm

      It was good, especially the chicken part. Can’t wait to see how good the rest of their BBQ meats line up is :)

  • mademoiselle délicieuse September 27, 2010, 6:23 pm

    The broth varies from place to place and season to season. Often either chicken or pork based and sometimes a mixture of both being in a master broth, there is often dried white fungus, black-eyed beans, goji berries, Chinese almonds, dried longan…the list goes on and on!

    • Simon September 28, 2010, 10:52 pm

      Thanks Ohta-san :)

      Glad to hear that the chicken/pork flavour thing wasn’t just my imagination. Good to know.

  • thang @ noodlies September 27, 2010, 7:24 pm

    My sister always insist on getting the free soup that comes in that crazy bowl! The Peking Duck is top class and extremely reasonable.

    • Simon September 28, 2010, 10:57 pm

      The two-course Peking Duck is something I want to try out there sometime. Thought the duck pancakes they served during last year’s Cabramatta Moon Festival were great!

  • fangirlyness September 27, 2010, 10:28 pm

    The duck egg batter sounds incredible. I keep thinking I’ve had it before, but if it’s as good as you say then I should remember.

    I LOVE SHANTUNG CHICKEN. Surprisingly, ‘Happy Chef’ in Newtown does a decent version! I like their sauce (it’s quite tart) and they serve it with a very gently flavoured broth with choy sum stalks.


    • Simon September 28, 2010, 11:00 pm

      If you love shantung chicken, I think you’ll be quite happy with this version. There’s also a place in Ashfield that does salted duck egg yolk if you wanted to give it a go.

      Yet to have the pleasure of Happy Chef in Newtown. Might have to give it a go someday if you think the shantung chicken is good there.

  • Forager @ The Gourmet Forager October 1, 2010, 5:26 pm

    I’m a frequent visitor here in the weekend yum cha periods – and boy they can get insanely busy. We got told it was a 2.5 hour wait last time we were there! At least you know the turnover is good!

    • Simon October 4, 2010, 10:23 pm

      Whoa! I presume you didn’t wait the 2.5 hours…

      Another endorsement. Will certainly have to try it out sometime.

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