Fusion at Haozhan

July 5th, 2009

I’ve been naughty and haven’t been keeping track of the restaurants that I’ve been trying, so here is my attempt to catch up since I’m awake bright and early on a Sunday morning (typically unheard of).

On Thursday of the week just gone my friend Chris was made redundant, and these hard times he’s probably one of the only people that wanted to go out to celebrate the news, his settlement is going to fund a three month safari around Africa.

I wasn’t being very useful at making decisions, so Chris demanded that we were to try Haozhan on Gerrard Street, in the hustle and bustle of China Town.

I’d spotted Haozhan in the past but wasn’t sure if it was just trying to sound like Hakkasan, the incredibly expensive and well reviewed restaurant. I was pleasantly surprised to hear that Haozhan was actually opened by Chee Loong Cheong who was previously head chef at Hakkasan and even more pleasantly surprised that the prices were at least affordable!

The menu is somewhat of a fusion of different cultures, there seemed to be a lot of Chinese dishes, with a peppering of Schezuan (get it? doh), Malaysian, Thai and so on.

The staff are attentive and incredibly humble and polite, the interior was dark and modern, and most importantly on the sweaty Thursday evening, it was chilled!

We ordered a mix match of dishes from the menu to share:

  • Prawn Won Ton Soup
  • Haozhan Beef Rib Eye (red wine, black pepper, garlic, spring onion)
  • Schezuan Duck (sliced and delicious)
  • Haozhan Tofu (topped with spinach and a scallop)
  • Black Sesame Ice Cream
  • Custard Bun

The food was absolutely delicious and the presentation looked like it was a labour of love, the head chef clearly cares deeply about everything leaving the pass without a single flaw.

The Schezuan duck slices were probably my favorite because of the use of chilli to give a strong warm flavour without the urge to cough up or drain several glasses of water like you have to at some Schezuan restaurants.

The beef was tender as promised and packed with flavour, but I’d already had steak three times in the past week so it didn’t notch it’s way into the favorite spot.

The tofu was something else, and I’m still undecided if I liked it or not. The “supreme dressing” that is layered on top of the tofu above the spinach looks and tastes pretty much like lemon custard, and the tofu is very soft, which makes for an interesting experience at the very least!

Dessert followed on the trend of perfection, the black sesame ice cream was lovely even if it did leave a nice trail of black dots stuck in your teeth afterwards that you can give people crazed miles with. The custard buns were evil and naughty, smelling like fresh doughnuts, perfectly round with a crispy outer layer, coconut layer, and then slightly cooked custard so that it doesn’t gloop out.

Belly full, the waiter asked if we’d like to try some of their teas, which are apparently exquisite, and he looked so utterly disappointed when we declined.

Haozhan is definitely on the list of places to go after the next pay day, and this time I’ll have to try some of the tea as well otherwise I risk upsetting them ;)

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