Recently I was able to duck down to the Gold Coast for a quick get away with Mr Ana (yay!), amongst the sleeping in, lounging around, and hot buffet breakfasts, we managed to try a restaurant that Mr Ana has been meaning to try for a while. Each time we go past, it is closed or full.
But not this time! Despite it being mid-week, the restaurant was almost full. We got the last table.
Now for a bit of an explanation on the name ‘Bistro Lamp’. When we entered the restaurant, we saw Japanese calligraphy strewn about. The Japanese name of the restaurant was up behind the bar. Mr Ana tells me that the characters translates roughly into burning maple lamp, and when you say the characters, it sounds like ‘Lam-pu-te’. He thought it was very smart how they came up with both the English and Japanese names.
I’ll be honest and say that the menu didn’t excite me. It was a mish mash of basic izakaya snack food, sashimi, and the usual mains you would see in a Japanese family resto (think omurice and hamburgs!). But what the hey, gotta try to know right?
Mr Ana started with a nama beeru (beer on tap) – while refreshing in an icy cold beer mug, was costly at almost $10 a pop.
We started with some gyoza. You may remember my review on Harajuku gyoza’s dumplings? Well, these were much better! It reminded me of pan fried dumplings in Tokyo, nice and juicy pork with a healthy dose of chives. Mmmm, the only thing that was missing was the sourness in the dipping sauce. But overall I was very happy with the gyoza.
We both ordered set meals. I chose an omurice set that came with ($17). My set came with my main meal, miso soup, salad, a small agedashi tofu, and some pickles. Our little dishes came out pretty quickly. The miso soup came with some balls inside, which to our surprise were made from root vegetables. Interesting addition. I loved the dressing on the salad – stereotypical soy based dressing always goes down well. The agedashi tofu was yummy, however I wished there was a bit of grated ginger in the dashi.
My omurice was the wet kind – the one where they cook the egg so it’s set on the outside but all wobbly on the inside. They pop it on top of your fried rice and cut it open so its wobbly guts spill out. Yummo! The omurice was topped with ‘slow ragout delicious brown sauce’. I tasted the sauce and it was a strong combination of worcestershire sauce and tonkatsu sauce. It was a very rough, quick brown sauce, when it really should have been either a nice demiglace sauce or a beef stew. In small doses it was ok. the omelette was cooked well, all nice and wobbly, and mixed in well with the rice and sauce. The fried rice was ok, but a bit basic for my taste. However, considering how much the meal was, I was satisfied with it.
Mr Ana had too many choices and got excitedly confused. He ended up ordering the salmon negi miso and butter grill ($35). Mr Ana’s set came with salmon sashimi, miso soup, salad, agedashi tofu, pickles, and a small dessert. Mr Ana’s grilled salmon main came out on a sizzling dish. The salmon was overcooked 😦 The fried rice was nice and garlicky, however the dry overcooked salmon overshadowed the meal.
I ordered a parfait for dessert ($8). It came with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, a scoop of green tea ice cream, some mashed red beans, and cornflakes! Not sure if you guys have tried cornflakes in a sundae before – but try it, it adds a great texture to the ice cream. I happily munched through my sundae. Yum.
Mr Ana’s dessert that was part of his set meal came out – it was a little slice of chocolate mud cake. Small, but well flavoured and enjoyed.
Mr Ana is eager to return as he enjoyed the vibe of the little bistro (and the beer I’m sure – I had to drive us back to the hotel). However, I’m not in a rush. While the bistro has a good vibe, there are too many other restaurants to try!