Located along Melbourne Street in North Adelaide, Old House Chinese Restaurant specialises in serving a good range of Chinese dishes. It is very popular so you may want to reserve a table if you plan to eat there during the peak dinner hours. However service was very efficient, with our dishes arriving quite quickly. 'Old House' may seem like an odd name for a restaurant but in Mandarin - 'lao fang zi' is an affectionate term for an old family home, which in turn brings back memories of meals shared with family members and friends.
Old House's Crispy Pork Loin Steak with Abalone Sauce is somewhat similar to the Japanese dish Tonkatsu, with the obvious exception of abalone sauce taking the place of the sweet sauce. The pork loin steak had a crispy, golden brown coating that contrasted wonderfully with the perfectly cooked meat with the abalone sauce giving the dish a distinct savoury flavour.
Crispy Pork Loin Steak with Abalone Sauce (Photographed by Jonathan Phoon)
While a bit difficult to eat due to the many bones, the chicken in the Braised Chicken with Crispy Twisted Rolls were cooked just right with the sauce the chicken was braised in enhancing its flavour. True to its name, the dish came with crispy rolls that are best enjoyed rolled in the sauce before eating them.
Braised Chicken with Crispy Twisted Rolls (Photographed by Jonathan Phoon)
A good choice for those wanting a vegetable dish that is a bit different, the potato, capsicum and eggplant in the Stir-Fried Potato, Capsicum & Eggplant all had the right amount of bite to them. The sauce the vegetables were stir-fried was absolutely delicious, it heightened the flavour of the vegetables and had a hint of chilli flavour.
Stir-Fried Potato, Capsicum & Eggplant (Photographed by Jonathan Phoon)
The pork ribs in their Crispy Garlic Pork Ribs Served with Crispy Coconut Milk were cooked perfectly with the right amount of garlic flavour. The most interesting part of the dish is the "fritters" of coconut milk which was fried to golden brown and had soft sweet insides, making them the perfect partners for the crispy savoury pork ribs.
Crispy Garlic Pork Ribs Served with Crispy Coconut Milk (Photographed by Jonathan Phoon)
Crispy Coconut Milk (Photographed by Jonathan Phoon)
Perhaps one of their "normal" dishes, Old House's Kung Pao Chicken is prepared in the traditional Sichuan style. The diced chicken was tossed with vegetables, peanuts and Sichuan peppercorns, which gave the dish a slight tongue numbing sensation. The chicken was tender and the vegetables had the right amount of bite to them.
Kung Pao Chicken (Photographed by Jonathan Phoon)
In addition to their hot dishes, Old House Chinese Restaurant also has various cold dishes that are great as entrees or as part of a main meal. The Beef Gravy with Chilli and Sour Sauce had slices of beef with a bit of a chewy texture with the chilli and sour sauce giving the dish a delectable spicy flavour. Hidden beneath the beef are slices of cucumber whose refreshing taste helped to offset the slightly salty taste of the sauce used in the dish.
Beef Gravy with Chilli and Sour Sauce (Photographed by Jonathan Phoon)
For those who prefer something a bit more refreshing, Old House's Uyghur Beef Salad is a good choice. Like the previous dish, the beef also had a chewy texture but this dish is more refreshing because of the selection of vegetables. The sauce used to dress the salad brought out the flavour of the ingredients while giving the dish a bit of heat.
Uyghur Beef Salad (Photographed by Jonathan Phoon)
Despite its unassuming appearance, the Steamed Eggplant with Garlic Sauce was very delicious with the eggplant having the texture we desired. The garlic sauce used in the dish helped to give it its garlicy flavour but it's not too strong so we can still taste the eggplant.
Steamed Eggplant with Garlic Sauce (Photographed by Jonathan Phoon)
The restaurant had a casual ambience with the tables spaced a surprising good distance apart from each other for a small restaurant. We had no problem getting a table during our first visit on a Sunday evening before 6pm. The place was pretty quiet then so we didn't think we had to bother with a reservation for our second visit, which was on a weekday. To our surprise, the place was packed and the staff had to do a bit of reshuffling to give us a table. We enjoyed 25% off our total bill by using our Entertainment Book gold cards.