Recently I have been really really busy. OMG. So much so that I think I needed 48 hours a day. But that aside, I am happy that J’s office is finally almost ready! Woohoo we have moved into the vibrant CBD area. Can’t tell you how happy I am whenever I think of what to eat during lunch or dinner. The food selection nearby is crazy. Just yesterday, we took a 10 minutes walk away from J’s office and found ourselves at Xiao Ya Tou, a Modern Asian restaurant and bar just a stone throw from Duxton Hill open space public carpark.
Walking into Xiao Ya Tou is like walking through the time machine and being teleported into the past. From colourful chinese lanterns to rainbow oil-paper umbrellas and retro posters, somehow old school yet with a bit of modern touch here and there.
Crispy Otak Rolls ($12) was a great way to start a meal. The spicy fish paste with that thin crispy skin is good on its own and pairs very well with any beer.
If you are a fan of ceviche, don’t forget to order the Asian Style Cured Ceviche ($15). Served with the crispy fish skin, I bet this is highly addictive. But I think the ceviche can do better with a tad more of the acidity and seasoning.
Crab Egg Foo Yong ($13) stole my heart when it was served to the table with its presentation. Strangely it reminded me of the yummilious pan fried omelette serves on the the street of Bangkok. Although it was fluffy, I thought that the chinese sausage has outshined the rest of the ingredients and after a while this feel a bit too oily.
For those who can’t do without your vegetables, there are quite a few selection here. I have tried the Spicy Brussels Sprout ($14) and Green Beans ($12). Among the two of them, I found myself reaching out more for the Green Beans. The chorizo xo sauce with crispy garlic and soy truffle dressing made it so delicious that it was one of the dishes that was polished clean in no time.
One cannot miss the XYT Ayam Percik ($24) when you are at Xiao Ya Tou. The spring chicken is chargrilled to moist and juicy before serving it with a spiced coconut cream sauce which tasted a tad similar to tom yum curry. Yummers!
While Twice cooked Angus Short Ribs is priced at $36, it guaranteed you pieces of melt-in-your-mouth beef slices that any resistance is futile.
Oh do not reach out to the Drunken Flower Clams ($23) if you feeling homesick. It was unanimously agreed that it tasted just as good as how your mama would serve out of her kitchen. I love how it reminded me of the rice wine ginger chicken that my mum would cook but instead of chicken pieces, this is with juicy and succulent flower clams.
If there is one dish that this little lass (Xiao Ya Tou) has perfected, it is the Local Barramundi ($38). More than often, I found myself looking at a fish dish which is a tad overcooked. But not only was the barramundi cooked just right, the sweet and sour sauce made it very appetising. Hell yes to this!
Huh? Hokkien Mee at a restaurant & bar!? Well well, don’t judge XYT Hokkien Mee ($16) before you try it. Besides being served with more premium ingredients than your regular hokkien mee, it has the wok hei that any good Hokkien mee should have. So flavourful and delicious that it was one of the highlights for all of us around the table.
We ended the meal with Coconut Tau Huay ($6), coconut pudding served with tapioca pearls, salted butter cookie crumbles and ginger nut ice cream. While there is nothing to shout about for the coconut tau huay, I love the ginger nut ice cream which is slightly gingery and not too sweet.
Although Xiao Ya Tou (which means little lass in Chinese) is a restaurant and bar, it has taken me by surprise with its elevated renditions of local Tze Char dishes. There are more hits than misses and it is definitely a place worth more than just a try. Some of my favourite dishes are the Local Barramundi, Twice cooked Angus Short Ribs, XYT Ayam Percik , Drunken Flower Clams, Green Beans and Crispy Otak Rolls. Oh yes, how can I forget XYT Hokkien Mee. The portion is good to be shared between 2 small eaters and much better than several Hokkien Mee that I have tried!
This post is brought to you in collaboration with Chope.