Opening to public on November 16, this colourful and lively restaurant is just one of the the many new places in Newstead’s rejuvenated Gasworks Plaza.
Last week, I was invited along to a dinner of like-minded foodies and treated to a banquet to last the ages.
Newstead is now home to a brand new Asian kitchen and bar where modern casual dining meets traditional Chinese food. In keeping with traditional shared dining culture, Peng You have created a tapas and small plates section in the menu.
Interestingly, the drink menu features carefully selected list of beers, wines and spirits with two unique offers – Peng You’s own brand of wine and beer brewed locally in Cleveland, and the quirky addition of wine on tap.
“We also have a number of Asian-inspired cocktails offered in jugs – classics that have a bit of a Chinese twist such as the Lemongrass Mojito, Ginger Martini and the Rising Sun which plays on the classic tequila sunrise but made on sake,” Peng You’s manager, David Hung said.
An exciting menu that speaks to the Cantonese food that I’m familiar with as well as other nods to other popular Asian cuisines such as Japanese, Malaysian and Taiwanese food.
Just look at what we ate!
First came the starters..
Running late, it was like they read my mind when they immediately offered me a beer or wine. I had to try their specially-brewed beer, appropriately called Peng You. This lager is an interesting addition to the stock standard beers (XXXX, Coronas, etc) offered by most Chinese restaurants. This fruit, light lager went down great with the complex flavours of the tapas food.
“We’re really excited to have our own Peng You cabernet, pinot gris, larger and cider on the menu. We also have a gluten-free beer option which we think will be really popular,” David said.
“Everything was made from scratch – we made our own soya sauce, pickled our own vegetables and made our own stocks, and we’re hoping to remind Brisbane that Asian food is all about quality ingredients and these traditional techniques.”
We were treated to a selection of different dumplings – we shared the classic pork and chive, a spicy Sichuan dumpling (my favourite of the 3!) as well as a green-tinged vegetarian dumpling. All steamed and pan-fried Japanese gyoza-style to give a crispy base. We had pork and vegetable spring rolls which we were instructed to wrap with an icebeg lettuce leaf and then dip into a sweet and sour dipping sauce. Luckily there was a bottle of Sriracha chilli sauce on each table for spice fiends like myself. This was odd and a bit of a novelty, I’ve never wrapped spring rolls in lettuce before and it was a bit messy, the spring rolls were fine on it’s own.
The Taiwanese are famous for their street food, in particular the Taiwanese street-style fried chicken. Again instructed to wrap these in a lettuce leaf along with the deep fried basil and fresh basil leaves. Still odd, but surprisingly this works and much easier to wrap than a whole spring roll. These were just like a tastier version of KFC’s popcorn chicken. The lettuce leaves were an attempt to provide a modern twist of cool, crisp likeness to the crispy fried foods.
The other treat was crispy marinated chicken wings – these were crispy and deliciously juicy and tender on the inside without all the grease. Fried chicken wings are amongst one of my favourite things. These were served with cooling cucumber slices, strips of apple, and mint. Contrasted fantastically with the spicy wings. A summery addition that provides a fresh, cooling contrast on a balmy night.
… then the actual main course(s)!
Look, at this point I was already approaching critical mass after sneaking the last few extra dumplings and chicken wings.
Soon after a large serving of fluffy fragrant fried rice with lup cheong (Chinese sausage) turned up on the table. There are many versions of fried rice. This version didn’t have a lot of ingredients but I have always preferred a simple fried rice with lup cheong is a must. Giant and generous slivers of lup cheong dotted this version of fried rice. Happy days!
The rice was accompanied by a gorgeous Malaysian duck curry using their in-house roasted duck. The duck was moist and tender, the curry was thick and heavy in rich coconut cream. More-ish and I would happy just eat that on it’s own. My favourite of the main courses.
We were treated to a Peng You specialty dish – slow-cooked pork trotter, cooked for 8-10 hours in a claypot dish. The rich flavours of this were divine and the fat, melt-in-your-mouth. Best to order a side of vegetables with this if ordering on it’s own. It’s super rich and fatty but needs something fresh to complement this dish.
We also had a fabulous steamed baby barramundi with black bean, chilli and Shaoxing wine, wrapped up in bamboo leaves. This was a very healthy alternative for those who are a little conscious of their diet. Steamed fish doused in Asian flavours reminds me strongly of home-style cooking.
We were also treated to a Sichuan-style minced pork with dried chilli and eggplant, a traditional dish from southern China. I only sampled a tiny bit of this but it had a nice ratio of meat to vegetables that would make my mother proud.
… and finally, dessert!
I got to try deep-fried ice cream for the first time. The batter was quite cake-y and reminded me of donuts. It was a little soggy and not as crunchy as I had hoped but I do love ice cream and it was still enjoyable for the novelty factor. My favourite was the sorbet – a trio of lemon lime, rosewater and lychee. The lychee was my favourite and I ate the whole thing! The sorbet was light and refreshing especially after such a rich and heavy banquet.
There were a few stand out dishes, and I’m keen to try the rest of the menu. The in-house roast meats are always a sign of a good restaurant that takes pride in their food, making as much as possible from scratch. And that lychee sorbet, I will definitely be having that again – hopefully soon!
Peng You China Kitchen and Bar
Open 7 days a week – 10.30am to 10pm
Gasworks Plaza – 76 Skyring Terrace, Newstead
I dined as a guest on behalf of Lucid Media and Peng You China Kitchen and Bar.