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Thursday, April 18, 2013

Bites: Yu @ Crown Perth.

Chinese food is probably one of the best cuisines in the world with so many techniques and ingredients making the possibilities unlimited.  As Yu places itself in one of the most exclusive venues in town, Crown Perth, I expect not lesser than a grand statement on the plate.  Or maybe not?  I have eaten in almost every venue offered in Crown Perth and I have to say that while many restaurant had me question the cost – quality benefit, it normally still serves pretty kick ass food.


For a birthday dinner, I was invited to join my friend and her family for a meal at Yu where we had the most expensive banquet on the menu.  The Pearl banquet for $110 per head is no cheap dining affair.  But when the list of dish was read out, it felt like an impressive selection of food.  To start the meal, we first asked for tea.  And this was how the whole event unfolded.  Firstly, the stained napkins of mine which still had lipstick stains on it.  Is this even premium dining?  I wonder.  To make things worse, no one bothered refilling our tea pots and even our glasses of water were dirty.    Absolutely horrible.


The first course is a traditional Chinese soup, the shark’s fin soup.                                                                             P3090004Such soup normally uses a rich poultry broth with delicious crab meat and egg swirls with sharks fin in there.  Unfortunately, there was close to no shark’s fin, the broth was horribly watery (and taste wise) and even the egg swirls were curdled as if no one bothered to stir it in.  That for me was an ultimate failure.  It was so bad that the birthday host questioned whether was he drinking a proper soup.


The next dish was the Baked Crab Shell with Portuguese sauce.                                                                              P3090020Digging in with the gold spoon, it looked creamy and luscious.  But when you eat it, it just felt weird.  The meat did not hold its form.  It was a little cloying because of all that sauce that did not pack a punch of flavors.  At the end, most of us did not even finish this.  The highlight? Gold Spoon.


Just when all faith was lost, the Peking Duck came out.                                                                                              OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I love my Peking Duck and my uric acid on the health report shows.  For me, this was a fine example of how things should have started.  A slightly crisp skin with just the right amount of sauce and those crunch from the flavors are just spot on.  It was from this point that I felt maybe there was a chance that things might turn around.  All because I really found this to be delicious and really this is one of the highlights of Chinese food in town.  Pretty good roast and Peking duck! Especially those in Northbridge like HK BBQ and Good Fortune.


XO Scallops and Asparagus                                                                                                                                   P3090026The XO Scallops and asparagus was in no way short of being generous.  It looks rich as it was piled onto a heap of asparagus with tasty looking XO sauce.  But it was in the first bite when things went a little awry.  Most noticeably due to the false sensation of sweetness of the sauce.  It felt a little fake and I am not sure whether it was sugar or perhaps MSG?  Either way, it was a waste to see this dish fail.


Crispy Fried Fresh Tasmanian Salmon


If I was on a mission to find crunchy cardboard to soak in soy sauce, I surely would not pay 100 dollars.  Why would you waste such a beautiful fish?  Only they would know.  Why not batter it well before doing a rapid fry for a crispy batter but a spot on inside?  GOD WHY?   This was another blunder that we did not anticipate.  It was simply cooked way longer that it needs to be.  The whole night really, was starting to crumble.


P3090032The next dish was the Steamed King Prawns.  I quite enjoyed this dish.  it was simple and touched on the basics but importantly, it was done right.  The prawns were worthy of being called king prawns and its garnish was just outstanding.  The simply spring onion and garlic really complemented the flavors of the prawns.  Plus the saltiness and sweetness from the soy, I was pretty keen to eat this dish again.


After waiting for a bit, we had our dessert.  But it was not a sweet ending like we hoped.  When we ordered the banquet, we asked their permission to each have a different dessert.  Initially, they said it was ok and it can be done.  But after making us pay $2000 for dinner, they decided otherwise.  How can this even be right?  Anyways, banana fritter, vanilla ice cream and syrup.


Not much criticism here but neither was this a spectacular finish.  It was just banana.  Deep fried.  At this stage I really have nothing left to say.  It was BORING.  Is this what Chinese food becomes when it is meant to be a level up?


This really was just PREMIUM GONE BAD.  At the end of the night, I had questions.  Heaps of question.  Perhaps simple ones are such as “Why is Yu even a premium restaurant and not in the food court?”  or “How is this even fine Chinese?”.  For me, Yu clearly it did not deserve the hype and respect at all.  In fact, when we made the booking for 2 tables, we were told to make a PRIVATE booking which would incur a cost of $100 buck or more for just a room.  When we said all we needed were two tables, they mentioned that they could not guarantee that we can be seated side by side.  All this threat and after a hefty bill which was close to $2000, this was the food they served.  No wonder I was told that they were going to change with another restaurant called Silk.    Sometimes even a helpful smile or good service can make a difference, but when someone treats you like crap, it makes the meal utterly disappointing.  In fact, this was the 2nd or 3rd worst Chinese meal I have ever eaten in Australia.  Most readers would know I often leave a decently neutral review even for some really mediocre restaurants.   So when it’s a scathing review, it’s a horrible place.  To all who found Yu disappointing, please do no think this is how a good Chinese meal should be. 


For example, this was something which I had in Hong Kong @ Ming Court last year.  See it here.  Funny how I thought Ming Court was only decent before.  Now that I have eaten at Yu, I might not be so harsh anymore!



Yu Restaurant on Urbanspoon