Tuesday, July 22, 2014

When East Meets East Meets East - Infuzions

Is there such a thing as too much choice? With the profusion of cuisines available in almost every suburb's dining quarter, the question about what to have for a meal when dining out becomes a battle of the strongest resolve, that is, s/he who is loudest (or has the means to pay!) inevitably gets to choose!

How wonderful then that Infuzions came along. With currently two locations, in Cammeray and Hornsby, the menu offers a wide array of Asian dishes spanning a number of the most popular cuisines, beautifully presented and flavoursome as well. There are tapas-sized dishes if you want to eat lightly or to sample more than one or two dishes or there are more substantial options if you are after a main meal or have a hearty appetite. We had a party of twelve to feed and although we ordered a large variety rather than multiples of the same dish to share, there were still many others that we didn't get to order. It must be said that when spice and heat feature in a dish, nothing has been diluted to cater to a wider palate, so if dining with young or less adventurous friends, ask before you order! 
Twice Cooked Pork Belly Pieces with Nam Jim Jiew ($9) - crispy crackling but a touch dry, it wasn't quite the melt-in-the-mouth that I wanted it to be but great to taste and so beautifully plated.
Prawn Patty Cakes ($8.90) - Prawn & Pork mince with garlic, coriander, coated in breadcrumbs and fried. These were a hit with the kids and adults alike and, in flavour and texture, were very satisfying. We ordered an extra serve.

Prawn Dumpling ($7.90) - Minced prawn meat, bamboo shoot & coriander - fairly traditional and not as large as some (which I prefer) but although the pastry could have been a little thinner, yummy to eat.
Scallop Dumpling ($7.90) Strangely, according to the menu, not a trace of scallop to be seen just "minced prawn meat, garlic, ginger & white pepper". We weren't sure if this was just lost in translation, honesty or what the foamy bits were but they didn't seem to have an impact on the taste which was still yum cha delicious.
 Prawn Betel Leaf  ($9) - Tamarind prawn and roasted coconut on a betel leaf with an Asian style sauce - this was quite delicious and we would have liked to have more of these.
Crispy Vegetable & Mushroom Dumplings ($6.90) - vermicelli, leek, onion, mushroom & ginger - a delicious morsel, as good as the best gyoza albeit a little light on the filling.

 Salt & Pepper Squid ($11.50) served with green apple som tum & plum sauce - the squid pieces could have been cut up smaller and marginally more tender and there either wasn't as much salt & pepper spice as I have come to expect or the batter didn't stick sufficiently to the squid to make it onto the plate.
Golden Tofu ($7.90) - Crispy tofu with sticky palm sugar caramel -beautifully presented and a good match for its Japanese counterpart.
Larb Salmon ($14.50) - Seared salmon, lime juice, ground rice, mint, coriander & fresh herbs - a Thai influenced dish for those who love Larb Chicken - this is a lovely alternative and it must be popular because they publish the recipe in the back of the menu!

Infuzion's Marinated Chicken  ($21.90) - served with steamed vegetables and spiced yellow rice. One of three off-the-grill items brought spectacularly to the table on its own spike, this is another dish for which I would return time and time again. The smokey chicken was moist and succulent and the accompanying crisp vegetables were colourful and unimpeded with sauce, allowing the chicken to shine. (Note: they do de-spike the chicken after delivering the dish to the table.)

Other offerings along the same vein were Roasted Red Moisture Infuzed Pork Loin and Grain Fed Sirloin Steak.
Crispy Pork Belly with Chinese Broccoli, garlic, chilli & oyster sauce ($8.50) - again slightly on the dry side but flavourful and we all need our greens!

Massaman Osso Buco ($9.90) with Kipfler potatoes & cherry tomatoes - another stand-out dish, we loved this with the accompanying jasmine rice. The meat was tender and the flavour was intense. Other curries available were Chicken Green, Red Duck, Mixed Seafood Yellow, Wagyu Beef Red and Rose Petal Fuk-Tong Massaman. More to return and try!
Pad Kee Maw with King Prawns ($9.90) - one of a selection of wok fried dishes which allow you a choice of protein from tofu, chicken, waygu beef and king prawns, this was a touch spicy to my palate but had lots of wok breath. Other choices included plain and Lobster Pad Thai, Crispy Chicken & Cashew Nut, Pad See Eew and Fried Rice.
BBQ Pad Prik Khing Lamb Cutlets ($25.90) - lamb cutlets basted with a thick dry curry paste, infused with lemongrass, garlic, galangal and served with green beans. Another favourite if you love lamb.

Pan Fried Roti ($4.50) - Not the multi-layered laced-with-oil type so healthier but alas, a little dry so perfect to scrape up the Massaman curry sauce.
BBQ Pork Buns ($6.90) - Traditionally sticky sweet sauced pork encased in fluffy steamed light bread.

Before we go, just to give you a sense of the breadth of the menu, for the first time, here are some of the dishes we didn't get to but love the sound of:  Infuzion's Oysters, Makhuea Tower (eggplant), Vietnamese Rice Paper Rolls, Peking Duck Rolls, Seared Scallops, Prawns & Wild Mushrooms, Stir Fried Wagyu Beef Black Pepper, Infuzion's Grilled Meatballs, Garlic Pepper Soft Shell Crab, Ko Chu Jang King Prawns, Salt & Pepper Duck and Oven Roasted Salmon.
Hinting at Cantonese, Thai, Vietnamese, Japanese and Korean cuisines, the only argument will be what to order once when you get there! (Did I mention they do take-away too?!)