Feast from the East

2011-02-18 15:51

As the gaggle of tourists stood in the new piazza at The Firs in Rosebank gazing appreciatively at everything around them, my lunch companion and I joked that perhaps the new branch of Koi is indeed the place to have lunch in Joburg.

We never did find out what the real attraction was, but it’s pretty nice sitting outside, people-watching and sipping a chilled glass of white wine – just one as it’s lunchtime. Anyway, the wine list’s too costly for me?– two of the bottles on the list I have at home in my cellar and the mark-up of more than 100% on each made me grumpy.

Even if it is an industry norm, it’s still a rip-off.

The contemporary Asian label on these two ­restaurants (the original’s in Sandton) means that the menu covers almost the whole continent?– from sushi to dim sum, from noodle dishes to Peking duck and a few choices from Indonesia and Vietnam thrown in for geographical cover.

To start our culinary journey we shared a dim sum platter?– ten pieces of gorgeous melt-in-the-mouth morsels.

These parcels comprising select portions of prawns and chicken and spinach and cheese were a tasty way to start.

But a word to the wise, you’ll need a whole lot to make a meal and the work that goes into them means they aren’t cheap.

As a main course my companion tucked into nigiri tuna and sashimi salmon, both of which she said were sublime.

I had udon noodles with beef, which was cooked to perfection – tender and delicious. My gripe was that the accompanying stir-fried ­vegetables had far too high a percentage of green peppers?– a nasty, heartburn-inducing vegetable that is used far too often in South African restaurants as a filler food.

By the end of lunch I had picked out about 15 slices; a bit of a downer to the overall good flavour of my noodles.

The best came last: my chocolate and banana spring rolls with a white chocolate dipping sauce were freshly fried, crispy, creamy and sweet.

Judging by the groans of approval, my companion’s white and dark chocolate mousse certainly met expectations as well.

At the end of our long, lazy lunch we skidded in R50 short of the R500 mark, so this is a payday place for lunch, but do it when you can spend the time taking in the ambience and enjoy what passes for fresh air in Joburg.

» 011 447 2440 to book at Koi in Rosebank

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