With the tea name of Pu’er, this chic Waterloo eatery not only serves Chinese food with a Western flair, it is also a tea house with an extensive tea collection imported from China.
My friend J and I visited on a Saturday night and started with a delightful Osmanthus Phoenix ($9) a sweet and fruity tea. Soon afterwards, our dim sum orders arrived, Shanghai dumplings ($7) the dumpling skin was thicker and stickier than expected but the pork filling and broth were tasty.
Our second dumpling was recommended by the friendly manager Quinton, a Pu’er special of Spicy Prawn ($8) a Canton styled dumpling with chilli marinated prawn and baby bamboo in a light chilli pastry. This was tasty and not too spicy despite the red-hot look it gives!
Now for some street food, Hong Kong Mini Burgers ($15) I thought the concept of using deep-fried mantao as the bun was ingenious and inserting a crispy piece of panko pork, house smoked chilli paste, hoisin sauce and baby cress created a brilliant dish which I’d come back for!
While we were at Pu’er, we chatted to some locals who were regulars of Pu’er and asked for their recommendation and they said “the duck, we always go for the duck…” so we ordered Three Cup Drunken Duck ($26) slow-cooked with a traditional Chinese marinade of Shao Xing wine, soy sauce and sugar then topped with shiitake mushrooms and fresh basil. The duck leg was tender and fell off the bone, however it was a bit salty on its own so it was good to have with a bowl of steamed rice.
Caramelised Berkshire Pork Belly ($24) served with spice infused tea eggs was our second main, the pork belly was delish but the crackling was a let down as it wasn’t crispy. The eggs were well-infused with tea and spices. Again, it was a bit salty by itself so do make sure you order some rice.
We were extremely full by now, but Quinton insisted that we try not one, not two but three desserts! We obliged… 😛
Chocolate Brownie with banana, spiced wine jus, salted palm sugar ice cream, salted almond praline ($10) it might sound odd to have brownies on the menu of a Chinese eatery but Quinton said we had to try their brownies. The brownie itself was rich and dense but everything else on the plate gave it an Asian slant. The salted palm sugar ice cream tasted similar to salted caramel and the spiced wine jus had a tinge of plum flavour to it.
Coconut & Kaffir Lime Leaf Sorbet with young coconut, coconut water, black sticky rice ($10) this seemed to be the number one dessert as everyone else was also ordering it and I could understand why, it looks impressive and it tastes fantastic. The fresh coconut water along with the sorbet was light and refreshing, the glutinous rice was a bit rich for us after our big meal but it gave the dish good texture when eaten together.
Lemongrass Pannacotta with black sesame and peanut soup, smoked melon ($10) this was something unexpected and could’ve been served at a molecular gastronomy restaurant as the waiter presented this dish with a glass dome on top of the watermelon, lifted it at our table where we smelled the smoke as it escaped. The lemongrass pannacotta was pungent, rich and creamy, I loved the smearing of the traditional Chinese sweet soup and the melons had a smoky flavour to them. It was a unique east meets west dessert.
We ordered another pot of tea before we left, Premium Yixing Golden ($9) which had a malty flavour and hints of cocoa and tobacco. It was much earthier than the one that we started the night with, but a wonderful way to finish our meal.
J and I had a great night at Pu’er and enjoyed a number of highlights from a menu that caters to the taste buds of both traditional and modern Chinese cuisine lovers.
20a Danks St Waterloo, NSW 2017
(02) 8399 1331
Disclosure: Foodsaurus dined as a guest of Pu’er, with thanks to Quinton for the invitation. All opinions expressed are my own.