Call me a romantic simpleminded fool but when both your boyfriends and yourself have consecutive birthdays, it must mean something. Maybe The Angmoh and I are meant to be, or I could be Fakebooo’s best faghag, or The Angmoh and Fakebooo have a secret something going on and I happen to be the connecting bridge. Whatever it is, we all get together and celebrate getting a year older and perhaps a little wiser. Last year, we did it in style and had a marvellously delicious and pricey meal at Steer. This year, we kept it simple and organised a Sichuan dinner at Tooraking. When we found out that Liz shared the same birth date as The Angmoh, we knew she had to come along. The more the merrier, for that meant we could order more food.
Tooraking is oddly located in a posh local stretch of Melbourne. It is bright, neat and classy, devoid of the usual stodgy oily feel that most Chinese restaurants have. After a quick merry-go-round of birthday wishes and gift exchanging (I’d baked mini sour cherry and chocolate chip loaves), we got down to business. There was The Angmoh and I, Fakebooo and E1 and Liz and Hart. 6 people meant 6 dishes right?
Entrees of cold noodles were first served. The jellybean noodles had texture similar to that of Konjac, while the yellow noodles were unexpectedly soft. The accompanying dressing of Sichuan pepper, chilli oil and peanuts prepared us for the heavy flavourful dishes about to come.
Spicy green beans and fish-fragrant eggplant are two commonly ordered items in Sichuan restaurants. Tooraking’s versions of these were very different to what we have come across. The green beans were fried with fermented black beans and the eggplant was braised and stewed. Beef in hot soup was the favourite dish that evening. It too was different, with ingredients like black fungus, celery tops and coriander making an appearance. The sprinkling of minced garlic and peanuts, both chopped and whole, made it quite unique. The crispy duck was slightly dry and nothing to shout about.
Dessert was needed to lift the heavy and spicy flavours and cleanse our palate. Unfortunately many of the items were unavailable and the remaining offererings were uninspiring.
Dinner at Tooraking turned out to be rather mediocre. The food was simply alright and the service was lacklustre. I’ll be sticking to Dainty and Sichuan House for my Sichuan fix in future.
Thankfully, the night was saved by Liz. She had generously gifted Fakebooo, The Angmoh and myself with cakes from Luxbite. The Angmoh and I randomly selected the Green Tea Cheesecake and Endless Love. Both were delicious and my eating wishlist now have Luxbite etched in for a girly sugary pig out sesh.