When one door opens another closes.
Yambu owners have moved on from café to food van and made way for a new enterprise in this great mid-city location.
Bravo Taiwanese Noodle and Grill Restaurant have been waiting around the corner in a hole on a Melville Street wall. Four months ago they took the opportunity to pounce and are going great guns in their new location, in full view of Elizabeth Street.
‘Taiwanese food?’ queried This Girl tapping her chin. I threw it out to the universe and the Lovely Cathy returned, ‘We HAVE to try it!’
It’s not a cuisine I have any experience in but the online menu was massive and deserved a once over.
I arrived early and settled in with a glass of Devil’s Corner Pinot Grigio. At 5 pm (don’t judge me, I live on a farm) there was only one other table occupied, young people on laptops, who were quickly joined by friends for a meal. The place didn’t take long to fill up and it felt as much a restaurant as a third place, where people come in equal parts to eat and socialise.
In the spirit of geopolitical activity and migration patterns, Taiwanese cuisine has had many influences. Unsurprisingly, many Chinese regions have contributed component parts. As occupiers for many decades, the Japanese have had an obvious influence on the cuisine. This Girl was not aware of the influence of the Taiwanese Aboriginal communities, a number of cultural groups who make up just over two per cent of the total population.
In real food terms it means noodles, dumplings, spicy sausage and grilled meats and things you might not expect to see like basil, tripe, duck blood and fermented tofu. Beef noodle soup is a classic, along with braised pork, spring onion pancake and fried chicken. Of course, this description is a blunt instrument, the cuisine is as diverse as its peoples.
The Bravo menu consists of soup and dumplings, entrees, chef’s specials including grill, rice noodles and fusion spicy rice noodles, other noodle dishes, rice dishes and stir fries. There are plenty of entrees for less than $10 and mains for around $15 with stir fried meals at around the $20 mark. As huge steaming bowls of noodle soup rushed past us while we caught up and decided what we would eat, it was pretty clear the meals would be very good value.
Our uber-lovely table attendant explained the self-service cutlery and condiments bar. Grab what you need for your meal and make yourself comfortable. Awesome wait staff can make or break a deal and ours was engaging. Super-friendly but not in your face, ready to answer any questions and checked-in a few times to see if we wanted another glass of wine, even though it’s counter-service.
Perusing the menu I quickly noticed ‘Please allow 15 mins for fresh cooking’ on the soups and dumpling page and immediately ordered steamed pork buns (pork xiao long bao), 6 pieces for $9.80. In my imagination they were those fluffy, doughy pillows with a little meaty centre, but these were the prettiest little steamed dumplings, a surprise, but equally as pleasing.
We also ate:
- spring onion pancake, $7.50 with one egg or $8.50 with two eggs
- Taiwanese style fried hokkien noodle with thin sliced lamb and Chinese cabbage in a mild sate sauce with a pan fried egg on top, $15.50 and
- Taiwanese style braised pork rice served with sliced cucumber, Chinese cabbage , spring onion, pickled cabbage, chilli bean oil and a pan fried egg on top, $14.
The pancake is cooked with a scrambled egg stuffing; a new experience for me, and definitely more substantial.
Both mains were very tasty and loaded with ingredients. The exciting spiciness brought to the pork by the chilli bean oil took the meal to the next level. The lamb was also delicious, while not quite as warm, the noodles made it just as fun to eat.
We both really enjoyed our experience at Bravo and definitely recommend a visit to try it out for yourself.
There are tables upstairs but if you don’t want to be disappointed, it’s always best to book.
Bravo is located at 129 Elizabeth Street, Hobart.
Call them on 03 6285 2112.
They’re on Facebook where you can also find the menu – Bravo Taiwanese Fusion Restaurant