Today on the Dining Diairies…
I play “find the beef cheek”
Diners envy takes a strong hold and…
Good company and wine trumps average food….
Diners today we were at Orientai on Brighton rd in Hove.
Now diners I have been to Orientai many times however it’s probably been at least two years since my last visit.
Previously, I had never had a bad experience here. I’d always found the food to be good and the restaurant to be full.
Maybe it was for that reason that expectations were fairly high. I was out with a couple of girlfriends and we just wanted to have a fun night out gossiping and enjoying some good food.
The interior of the restaurant hasn’t changed too much from memory. It’s fairly clean with dim lighting giving it a minimalist modern feel. The shades were put up so we had views outside and it felt good to be in there.
We were greeted by friendly staff and soon found our table and the laughs started pretty much right away.
We ordered a couple of entree’s to share and some drinks while we pondered what we were going to have for our mains.
The staff were pretty helpful in explaining a few things on the menu that we were a little unsure about.
The server also told us that they were fairly busy and the kitchen was chaos. I looked around the dining room and it didn’t seem overly busy to me but maybe they were understaffed.
We chose the Chicken Spring Rolls – Vermicelli noodles & finely chopped vegetables, served with sweet & sour sauce and the Steamed Prawn & Chive Dumpling – Served with mild red curry sauce or spicy soy sauce which conveniently came in serves of three.
The spring rolls were out first.
I don’t know that I’ve ever had a bad spring roll and this was no exception. The spring roll itself was thick and crispy and you could actually taste the chicken inside! I could also taste the vermicelli noodles which just balanced everything in your mouth nicely. Unfortunately after a few bites, it was all gone! The dipping sauce had a bit of a barbeque sauce taste to it. I’m not sure if it was supposed to be like that. It wasn’t unpleasant.
I should also add that salad was beautifully dressed. It had quite a zing to it!
The dumplings came shortly after and they were also quite a sensation.
These were really delightful taste explosions in the mouth! They were pretty spicy inside but that sauce just added extra depth. I was surprised to read it was a curry sauce on the menu because it tasted a little “fruity” to me but I really enjoyed it and was really looking forward to our mains.
Unfortunately this would be the one time when I wasn’t too thrilled about the food here…
I was eyeing off a couple of items on the menu and one of them had a little symbol next to it, however the menu didn’t tell me what the symbol meant. I asked the server and she said it meant it was “popular”. Well surely you can’t go wrong with a popular dish right? So I went ahead and ordered the Black Bean Beef Cheeks – 5 hours slow braised beef cheeks served with green beans & capsicum
I would have raved about this dish if I had actually got some beef cheeks on the plate. What I got was a hunk of fat and a couple of fork fulls of beef. What I did eat was really very nice, but it was about one quarter meat (being generous) and three quarters inedible fat.
I wanted to cry.
The vegetables were lovely. The sauce was a little salty however when I mixed it with the rice we ordered it was really very delicious.
I have to wonder what the kitchen thought of my dish coming back with a hunk of fat on the plate though. I know if that was MY restaurant, I’d be terribly embarrassed and looking to compensate the diner in some way.
One of my fellow diners ordered the Crispy Prawns – Wok tossed with capsicum, mushrooms &roasted cashew nuts. Mmmmm Sounds delicious right? I almost went for this myself just to get the cashew nuts!
It looked…. ok… when it came out. There wasn’t a lot of “wow” about it and although there wasn’t anything “wrong” with it, it wasn’t that great. It also looked a lot smaller than a lot of the other plates that were coming out of the kitchen.
The other dish that was ordered was the Thai Basil Noodle (hot) Yellow noodles with chicken, basil and seasonal vegetables
Again this didn’t look super impressive when it came out. As the person who ordered this dish didn’t like coriander, I scored it. Yum.
She said however that it was not as “hot” as expected. When you put “hot” on a menu, you expect it to be hot right? She also couldn’t really taste the basil which is surprising as it’s on the menu. However she said it was all ok, just not something she would rave about.
I’d also like to mention that the staff were pretty lovely even though they said they were run off their feet and the restaurant seemed pretty empty this particular night.
We did see some really lovely dishes coming out that looked a lot fuller than the ones we’d ordered and I had to wonder what they were.
As I’ve mentioned, I’ve been here many times and this was definitely not up to par with my past experiences. I really hope it was a once off or maybe it was just the dishes we’d ordered?
I’m sure I’ll dine here again but probably not in a hurry….
Have you been to Orientai?
What did you think?
Let me know in the comments below…
Till next we chow….