Dining reviewer WENDY JOHNSON heads back to an eatery she’d enjoyed as takeaway during lockdown.
DURING this last lockdown we had takeaway from Bambusa Asian Cuisine and it reminded us that the food pumped out of the kitchen in this Manuka establishment is pretty delish.
When we heard one side of Franklin Street was being closed to traffic so dining could spill out on to the road to boost business post-lockdown, we were inspired to visit and lend some support.
The closure is part of the ACT government’s new Outdoor Activation project. It ends up that some in Manuka love the idea and some don’t. We thought it was fun and were there for the food, anyway.
Bambusa has been part of the Manuka dining scene for around a decade. The service was exceptional on our visit. A knowledgeable and friendly waiter treated us like gold.
We are massive dumpling fans and found it challenging what to choose. Eventually we settled on the Pork Xiao Long Bao ($12.50 for six pieces), which were excellent. These hand-made steam dumplings have a seasoned pork filling and hot, flavourful soup. We wanted more.
Just as packed with flavour were the boiled prawn dumplings ($19.20). You can also order them deep fried ($21.20). We lovingly dipped them in soy and a chilli sauce.
For mains we were in for something we all hadn’t tasted before and landed on the rock-salt pork loin ($23.90). The chunks of pork were moist and the rock salt was not overpowering. The thin slices of chilli sprinkled on top of the dish made sure there was enough bite and added colour.
Our other main was the Shan Tung chicken and we were curious what Bambusa’s take would be on this famous and popular dish. The slices of chicken were crispy on the outside and the meat tender. We found the dish just a tad sweet for our liking but respect there are many, many recipes for Shan Tung chicken.
For our vitamin hit we chose the baby bok choy with garlic, beautifully presented on a colourful art dish. The bok choy was vibrant and crunchy and the garlic subtle enough ($16.20).
During lockdown we scored some great dishes also, including salt and pepper white bait ($23.50), chilli garlic prawns (wonderfully plump, $37.80) and a sensational Yu Xiang eggplant, which we couldn’t fault ($19.60). All dishes travelled well, and delivery was on time.
PS: We returned the following week for another round of divine, addicting dumplings. It was a gorgeous day, but Bambusa wasn’t participating in the Outdoor Activation for some reason. We found a seat in its outdoor dining area on the sidewalk, which was lucky.
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