Mr Pan Fry, 268 Racecourse Road, Flemington. Phone: 0455 452 119
Consider The Sauce and pals – quite a number of them – have gathered for a sort-of informal Chinese New Year celebration.
The venue for our eating is a brand new Chinese place called Mr Pan Fry.
As previously noted, we love the intense diversity of Racecourse Road.
But we rarely venture down this end, so I have no recall of what sort of business was formerly in these premises.
Mr Pan Fry is done out crisp but basic furnishings and colours.
The front window space is dedicated to on-view dumpling production, though by the time I think to photograph some of that action, the work has ceased for the night.
There’s a heaping variety of those dumplings listed on the menu, which also extends to a variety of meat and vegetable main dishes and some rudimentary rice and noodle offerings.
We order with abandon, doubling up on some dishes to make sure there’s enough to keep all nine of our mouths happy.
Shanghai fried noodles ($10.80) are a good, basic dish.
The broth-laden “baowie steamed juicy pork buns” ($10.80) are very excellent.
Pot stickers (pan-fried chicken and prawn dumplings, $12.80) are served like a crispy upside-down pie.
They, too, are very good.
Stir-fried tofu with vegetables ($13.80) and …
… fried tofu with pork mince and Sichaun sauce ($13.80) steer us away from dumplings with some aplomb.
The latter’s tofu is a silky smooth treat in a dish that is our most spicy of the night by quite a distance.
Stir-fried salted pepper ribs ($18) are nice but not quite what we – well, what I – have been expecting.
The tangy batter is rather like that most of tonight’s group had across the road at Pacific Seafood BBQ House on a night of rampant crabiness. In that case, the batter coated chicken ribs.
With the pork ribs? Hmmm, interesting … chewy but not quite a bullseye.
In addition to all of the above, at Mr Pan Fry we also enjoy spring onion pancake and another variety of dumpling, the precise nature of which now escapes me as a result of re-ordering due to unavailability of one species in our initial choices.
And we had a delicious, unctuous dish labelled stewed pork belly with chef special sauce ($20.80), which for some reason escapes scrutiny by my camera but which is, perhaps, the hit of the night.
We find the food at Mr Pan Fry to be mostly very good, with the dumplings rating a notch higher.
The menu isn’t as long but the approach is somewhat similar to the adjacent I Love Dumplings.
I suspect, somehow, that Mr Pan Fry has a good chance of becoming a regular haunt as it’s a lovely, cosy place and the service we are provided is warm, smiling and obliging.
We’ve eaten well and having such a big group seems to have helped keep the price per head at most admirable $22.