Good One BBQ Chinese Restaurant, East Victoria Park
Maybe it's a sign we're old farts, but Jac and I were content to have a quiet new year's eve and skip the parties, crowds and fireworks. Instead, after Jac finished work we drove to Vic Park in search of dinner, something different to the Christmas fare we'd been eating the past week. We chose an oldie but a goodie: Good One BBQ. We've bought takeaways from there a number of times and have always enjoyed them; usually barbecue pork, roast pork or roast duck with rice. We had never dined in before. As we discovered, there's more to Good One BBQ than the succulent roasted birds and slabs of pork that hang in the window.
Jac was keener on the combination seafood claypot than I was - I'm reluctant to order "combination" without knowing exactly what I'll be getting. And with seafood... well, there's that terrible invention called seafood extender. But I was impressed; in the dish (a metallic pot rather than claypot) were big pieces of fish, plump bursty prawns, not-rubbery squid and a couple of scallops, as well as tofu, spring onion, Chinese mushrooms and choy sum stalks and leaves. We drank the gravy like soup and drizzled it over our rice.
We chose one of the chef specials - Japanese beancurd with mushrooms and spinach (AU$19). Although some would find this too pricey for a dish without meat, the too-small plate was close to overflowing with shiny, slippery and saucy treasures - silky soft Japanese beancurd, spinach, enoki and shiitake mushrooms. This sauce was even better on rice than the seafood claypot gravy.
We can't dine at a Chinese BBQ restaurant without ordering the roast/BBQ meat - it's their specialty after all. I wanted one of everything that was hanging in the window but in the end we settled on a more sensible two-BBQ meat combination (AU$20) of soya sauce chicken and roast pork. I listened with greedy anticipation as the chef chopped the meat for our order, the bone-crunching cleaver striking the thick wooden chopping block. The roast pork exemplified all the reasons we crave it, eat it, adore it: on every piece, crisp crackling on top followed by a band of soft melting fat, with the thickest layer being salty, meaty, juicy pork. The chicken was good, the dark meat moister than the breast, the skin full of flavour. It wasn't as greasy as Chinese BBQ I've eaten elsewhere. Warning if you've got a nut allergy: the cleaver-chopped pork and chicken were served on roasted peanuts.
We ordered steamed rice for two, which was placed in a stand next to our table. It's a great idea, as it frees up space on an already crowded table. Couples with decent appetites will find the tables for two on the small side.
I really wanted to try the roast duck porridge (AU$10) or sliced fish porridge (AU$9) but had to save that craving for another day. There are some interesting dishes on the menu that appealed to me, including eggplant with spicy salted fish claypot (AU$15.50) and beef with preserved cabbage with black bean sauce (AU$14.50), as well as classic Chinese BBQ dishes like roast duck noodles (AU$12 soup style, AU$13 dry style) and BBQ pork with wantan noodles (AU$11.50 soup style, AU$12.50 dry style). Next time, next time - and I think there'll be more than one "next time". It's probably just as well there was no more room on the table.
The great thing about ordering too much food at a Chinese restaurant is that no one bats an eyelid when you want to take your leftovers home. "How many containers?" they asked. We requested two and filled them ourselves, scraping every last peanut and drop of gravy into the boxes. It was just like dinner at my mum's - takeaway containers make an appearance every time so nothing gets wasted. At Good One BBQ the takeaway containers are 50 cents each and we left with ours stuffed full of beautiful leftovers I enjoyed for lunch on new year's day and breakfast this morning. What was your last meal of 2012?
By the time we left (around 8.20pm) the window was looking bare, the aftermath of a busy day. A takeaway customer gleefully bought the last whole roasted duck while we were there. Without the meat in the window, it's a pretty nondescript shopfront and you'd probably walk straight past - but you'll be missing out on a good feed.
The service was what you expect in most Chinese restaurants; they're focused on feeding you, not charming you - ultimately it was the food that delighted us, and it's the food that will lure us back.
I returned to work today after a week off and when colleagues asked me: "Did you have a good new year's eve?" I didn't hesitate to answer (you guessed it!): "Yes, we had a Good One." Ah, the corny joke - a dead giveaway for old fartism.
Good One BBQ Chinese Restaurant
808 Albany Highway
East Victoria Park WA 6101
Telephone: (08) 9472 4354
Monday, Wednesday to Sunday 10.30am to 10pm
Closed on Tuesdays