Restaurant and food reviews from Perth, Australia

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Cina, Armadale (Melbourne)

In Melbourne's suburb of Armadale are a few restaurants and cafes set in typical Melbourne suburban fashion - long narrow restaurants in nicely renovated buildings.  One of these restaurants is Cina on High Street.  Cina states they serve Malaysian and North Chinese Cuisine - which are presented in separate sections of the menu.  The prices are moderate with many dishes in the $20-30 region, putting them above your eat-and-go restaurants but not as expensive as up-market fine dining.

The shopfront is not very large, but once you go inside the atmosphere comes across as relaxed yet a place you could enjoy a meal with good conversation and wine (or food and conversation if you don't drink alcohol) .  The interior is quite modern yet retains a definite Chinese character for a restaurant that serves what would otherwise be quite traditional dishes.  The wallpaper is decorated with Chinese Calligraphy, and the lighting and colours give an inviting warm feeling.  The venue, being licensed, also has a large assortment of wines displayed on shelves throughout the restaurant.

Portion of Cina's wallpaper

The decor is also modern (in an Asian way) that adds to the experience.

 Cina's cutlery presentation

 Cup of tea

Onto the food...

Peking Duck - $29 for 6 pieces

For those of you who don't know what Peking Duck is, it is a dish consisting of small thin pancakes that you usually fill with Roast Duck skin squares, cucumber, spring onion and hoisin sauce.  Cina's Peking Duck initially is brought out by the waitperson on a dish showing the separate ingredients for you to view.  After giving your approval, the wait-staff bring the dish back into the kitchen to prepare the Peking Duck serves which are brought to you on individual plates to enjoy.  Many restaurants leave the dish for you to prepare yourself, but Cina gives you the option of preparing them yourself or by the staff.

The Peking Duck servings are well prepared, with a generous amount of vegetables, and with a portion of meat on the crispy duck skin giving it a bit more substance(many restaurants serve it without the meat).  The pancakes are light and freshly prepared, and there's a good serve of the hoisin sauce for flavour.

Salt and Pepper Calamari - $23.80

This is not your typical salt and pepper squid you get from many Chinese restaurants or restaurants that do Yum Cha/Dim Sum.  The coating is quite light and see-through that seems like a light coating that verges on a dusting of a special flour mix, and it doesn't taste like it has been drenched in oil.  The frying oil used also seems relatively fresh as there isn't that mix of other infused flavours when the frying oil has been reused many times, plus the frying colours looks relatively light.  Add to that cut fresh chillies to add to the flavour plus a bed of something similar to deep fried bits of wonton skin, and this dish stands out as a proper, rather than churned out, salt and pepper squid.

Peking Pork Ribs - $17.80

Similar to the Salt and Pepper Squid, the batter is relatively light though in this dish the pork ribs are coated in a proper batter.  The sauce is a sweet and savoury sauce that turns out well on this dish without being sickly.  The dish is served with shredded onion and spring onions, and a side serving of steamed broccoli.

Coconut Jelly - $6.80

The coconut jelly was very smooth for a coconut jelly/pudding, consistent, and had the texture in between a panna cotta and the more mainstream coconut puddings.  The taste was light yet had a nice sweet coconut taste that was quite a nice refreshing end to dinner.  The dusting of icing sugar and garnish added a nice touch to this dish.

Overall, Cina is a well presented Chinese and Malaysian restaurant that serves some refined versions of 'normal' Asian dishes.  The quality of the food together with the nicely interior decorated layout provides for an experience a cut above your average Malaysian or Chinese restaurant.

1183 High Street
Armadale VIC 3143
(03) 9824 4102 

Trading Hours:
Lunch - 7 days: 12 noon to 3pm
Dinner - 7 days: 5:30pm to 10:30pm

1 comment:

Tamarind Restaurant Mt Hawthorn said...

Woow I found the Salt and Pepper Calamari unique and interesting... Hmm... That just made me crave for a calamari now.. haha but I want to try a different one like that on the picture. Wish I could visit the resto one day.