Over the years, fusion cuisine hasn’t exactly been a highlight of my dining experiences; I’d describe it as mostly dubious dissonance, generally unsatisfying, and sometimes just plain weird. So I’m glad to report that our dinner on Saturday night in Vic Park at ‘modern Asian cafe’ Pachi Pachi was pretty great. The menu features mostly Japanese dishes (teriyaki, katsu curry, udon, ramen and more), a bit of Thai and Chinese.
We ordered two starters to share, then a couple of larger dishes and steamed rice for main. Despite ordering as ‘entree’ and ‘main course’*, the dishes all came out at the same time. Setting aside the mild annoyance, practicality was the issue – our table was simply too small. The staff didn’t hesitate to push an unused table against ours, doubling the available surface area, but I’m not sure how they’d have dealt with this had it been a full house.
It was a terrific meal. We enjoyed the pork and ginger wontons with red wine dipping sauce. The lightly seared beef tataki didn’t quite melt in the mouth but it was tender, served on thinly sliced red onion in soy and citrus sauce, every juicy mouthful more sweet than salty.
The barramundi and eggplant red curry was bold, yet balanced, a slow burner generously loaded with kaffir lime, fish and soft chunks of eggplant. The gravy was just beautiful soaked up by the steamed rice, and I didn’t want to waste a drop.
For veg, we ordered Buddha’s Garden, a medley of textural delights with tofu cubes, bamboo shoots, baby corn, wood-ear fungus, carrot, celery and cashew nuts, topped with deep-fried lotus root chips. I wish Perth chefs would do more with lotus root than make exotic crisps. Stir-fried lotus root, for example, is wonderfully toothsome and tastes entirely different to deep-fried. It’s delicious in soup and worthy of much greater appreciation, as a vegetable in its own right.
Our dessert of berry, banana and white chocolate parcels was remarkably good value at $7.50. There were two kinds of deep-fried pastry parcel – a mashed banana spring roll and a tortellini-esque wonton filled with tart berries and a swirl of white chocolate that oozed out on first bite, served with a light caramel sauce and two scoops of vanilla ice cream.
‘Pachi pachi’ is an onomatopoeic** Japanese phrase that denotes the sound of hands clapping. A round of applause to the fusion cafe that I’m actually looking forward to returning to. We’ve only eaten here once, so no doubt we’ll discover on future visits if any Frankenfusion surprises are lurking within the menu. For now, Pachi Pachi’s made a smashing first impression and I think we’ve found ourselves another option for casual dining date night.
Pachi Pachi – modern Asian cafe
608 Albany Highway
Victoria Park WA 6100
Open 7 days
* In Australia, ‘entree’ means the first course or starter, the course before the main course. In the US, ‘entree’ means the main course. To avoid confusion as many of my readers are from the US I try to refer to our first course as the ‘starter’ and the main course as the ‘main course’, avoiding the use of the word ‘entree’ completely. Once in a while it is unavoidable and I include an explanation like this one.
** We learned about onomatopoeia in Year 8 English and I’ve never forgotten it. Onomatopoeic words imitate the sound they’re meant to represent. English examples are ‘meow’ ‘coo’ and ‘boom’. Onomatopoeic words in different languages are quite interesting, for example: a pig grunting is ‘oink oink’ (English) and ‘boo boo’ (Japanese). And the sound of hands clapping in Japanese is ‘pachi pachi’.