I'm a teacher, musician, blogger and uni student living in Sydney and always dreaming about living & experiencing a new corner of the world. Visit my blog at www.youngoldtraveller.wordpress.com.
Published November 23rd 2016
Taste the best of both worlds- Asian food and tapas
It always feels really good when you find a restaurant that gives you one of the most memorable outings you've had, and this place delivered that for me. I love the idea of tapas for everyone to share, and having developed my love Asian street food after travelling extensively in the continent, this place became the perfect blend between the two.
Located on Crows Nest's hub of Willoughby Road, Street Market has a carpark nearby, along with ample parking spaces on nearby streets. It doesn't matter how you get here, you absolutely cannot miss this place. I have to admit though, it felt a bit strange to see this street being so quiet on a Sunday night.
As the four of us walked in, we immediately noticed the carefully thought out interior. Lanterns, Chinese characters, picture collages, foreign drinks on the cellar. It was as if we had been transported to Singapore, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Manila or wherever you fancy. Although I couldn't exactly pin down which objects reminded me of which location, I was still able to admire the relaxed and cosy vibe that was produced.
Flipping through the menu was interesting in itself. At first, I thought the word 'Tapas' was just what they decided to name the restaurant. However, I was wrong. The menu had so many tapas options- hot, cold and charcoal- that we struggled to decide. In the end, we just decided to splash out and ordered a lot of things.
We had some Fresh Oysters ($12). Because I don't eat seafood, I couldn't comment on this dish. However, my companions praised their brininess, size and freshness, and fought for the one that would've been mine.
Up next was the Signature Steamed Prawn and Pork Wontons ($12). Again, I couldn't eat this dish. However, I can comment on the that the sauce was very flavoursome and would have complemented the wonton very well. The wontons also smelt very aromatic. My friends commented on the fact that there was a good balance between the prawns versus the pork. Because prawns are more expensive, many restaurants would give you an unbalanced ratio between the two, but not this dish. The fact that one of my comrades drank the sauce is a testament for its goodness.
We then had the Honey Soy Crusted Tofu ($12). Anyone who knows me well would know that I'm a huge fan of tofu. If I were vegetarian, that's all I would eat! I also adore honey. You can't not appreciate a type of food that would not have been the same if gorgeous animals hadn't done what they did to it. Honey goes well with anything, and this dish was no exception. It wasn't too sweet as the honey did not overpower the rest of the flavours. The tofu pieces were crusty on the outside, but soft and easily chewed inside. Not to mention the delicious and flavoursome sauce that I grabbed and just poured onto my rice. I had no time to look at what my friends were doing, I just kept coming back for more.
We then had a Vietnamese Style Lemongrass Pork Scotch Fillet ($15). It was very refreshing to taste some flavours that were from Southeast Asia. The tangy taste of the thin pork scotch fillet balanced well with the lemongrass. We really liked this dish.
Then, there was the Chargrilled Eggplant With Soy Miso Glaze ($8). Ok, if I ever turned vegetarian, eggplants are the only other thing I would eat. In fact, one of my closest friends is a vegetarian, and she told me once that she eats eggplants every second day. That goes to show how versatile a vegetable it is and just how good it tastes. Without shame, I quickly took a piece of it as the plate was just leaving the kind waitress' hand. I loved how the various smells and flavours were infused into the eggplant, but I could still feel the eggplant's texture, and taste what it would've been like if no sauce were added.
We also had a Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce ($6). Again, it was wonderful to have another Southeast Asian classic dish. You can't fail to woo me over with this dish! The chicken thankfully retained its essential taste and texture, which meant that we could have as much sauce as we wanted. However, at this point, I felt like I had already had my turn to be greedy, so I had to let one of my friends obliterate the peanut sauce.
And finally, the best dish that we had was the Mixed Seasonal Tapas Tasting Platter ($60). While it was an expensive dish, it is certainly worth it when considering the amount of food you'd get. If it were only two of us dining, I think this dish alone would have been sufficient. It had a wonderful array of textures, colours, tastes and smells. Everything was a new experience in itself, and it was like I had travelled to five different countries on that one plate. While my tasting palette was not sensitive enough to distinguish everything that I was eating, I eventually reconciled with the experience of the unknown. While travelling around, I didn't always know what I was eating, and I wanted to replicate that fun experience. This dish is definitely my top recommendation when you come here. Plus, you'd get reminiscence of other dishes in this dish. The Mixed Seasonal Tapas Tasting Platter is the quintessential dish from Street Market: Asian Tapas Bar & Restaurant.
I also need to mention that the service here is one of the best I've ever seen, and that is not an exaggeration. From the initial greeting, to the friendly waitresses who seemed like they genuinely wanted to know what we thought of the dishes, even to the counter girl at the end of our night out. Everything was so attentive, but also very homely and welcoming. Because we went there on a Sunday night, there wasn't a lot of people, but I wonder what the vibe would be like on a Friday or a Saturday night.
Talk about a wonderful combination! Street Market: Asian Tapas Bar & Restaurant is the best of both worlds! I highly recommend this place for their high quality food in such a welcoming setting. For any occasion, you're sure going to have a night out that you're going to remember.