Canley Crawl (Part III)

For parts I & II click HERE and HERE.

As we were dragged away from Huong Xua, we realised we still had two restaurants to visit and no room in our stomachs for anything other than self pity.

I had the company of my food blogging all stars but even they were starting to show signs of wear. We had barely touched many of the dishes we were presented and the guilt was starting to weigh heavy, almost as heavy as our guts.

The only elixir to our dilemma was quickly decided upon.

More food!

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Chi & Co is off the main strip that houses most of Canley Heights’ restaurants. We were informed that Chi & Co would be presenting us with Vietnamese style tapas.

Yeah, I think I can make a little room in my stomach for that.

Its what I would later dream about during my prolonged food coma.
Its what I would later dream about during my prolonged food coma.

Chi & Co would not look out of place in Surry Hills or the city. In fact, that’s exactly what  our restaurant liaison told us as she was breaking down the philosophy behind Chi & Co.They intentionally brought a slice of Surry Hills into the suburbs to give the locals something a bit different from your cookie cutter (albeit delicious cookie cutter) traditional Vietnamese food.

Before we dug in to the food, Chi & Co’s bartenders decided to hydrate us. You know, since we had been walking so much and all (confession Every restaurant we went to could’ve called themselves neighbourinos without drawing any weird looks).

Lemon , Thai & Basil Shots.
Lemon , Thai & Basil Shots.
Lycheetini
Lycheetini
Liquid Pavlova
Liquid Pavlova

To all my new readers; I don’t drink. I have the drinking habits of a fourteen year old as I subsist on water, soda and energy drinks that have me bouncing off the walls like that fly you just can’t catch.

Funnily enough, three of my fellow Avengers were also unable to consume alcohol so we got mocktails instead.

For all the younglings who still need fake IDs
For all the younglings who still need fake IDs

My phone was on life support so I have absolutely no recollection about what was in these mocktails. All I remember is that I tried every one (sometimes when the owner wasn’t looking) and that they were all incredibly tasty.

Keep an eye out on my fellow Avengers (Noodlies, Foodies Agenda, Cooking Crusade, Milkteaxx, Insatiable Munchies and Jeroxie) for more detailed recounts. Come to me for the jokes.

Ok, let’s go tapas dancing.

Spanner crab on Betel leaves.
Spanner crab on Betel leaves with pomelo, caramelised coconut, galannngal and peanuts

Our first foray into Vietnamese tapas was a smash hit.

We actually spent quite a while drinking (responsibly of course) prior to the first dish’s arrival. Chi & Co were well aware of the fact that we needed a bit of a break. By the time these bad boys hit the table; all of us were ready to get back to the best job on the planet.

The betel leaf provided a crunch to go along with the tasty crab. It was just a great mouthful of delicious ingredients with high synergy. Great way to get the ball rolling.

Moving on.

Grilled Scallops
Grilled Scallops with nam jim and fried shallots

Scallops seem so simple to prepare but making them right is still an art form. Overcook them and you get your chef’s hat torn off your head and thrown to the wolves, under cook them and your apron gets torn apart by the same wolves from the last joke.

Fortunately, none of the chefs in Chi & Co’s kitchen will be meeting Taylor Lautner any time soon. These scallops were cooked to perfection and were massive! I love scallops so once again, these were gone in a mouthful.

Final round of tapas:

Pulled beef slider
Pulled beef slider with mint and house pickles

You need to step your game up if you’re an Asian restaurant and you’re not offering some type of Ippudo/Momofuku inspired bun. These buns were very soft and encased a delightful pulled beef filling. One of the food blogging Avengers noted that this would’ve been bumped up another tier if the buns had been deep fried.

In fairness, most things are improved if you deep fry them and these were already pretty great.

You think we’re done?

Hell no:

Chi's tapioca shot with coconut custard, palm sugar, pomegranate and roasted sesame seeds
Chi’s tapioca shot with coconut custard, palm sugar, pomegranate and roasted sesame seeds

Amazing.

I was so happy about these being non-alcoholic. It would’ve been like knowing a girl was into me but being unable to date her due to the fact that her tongue was made of beer.

It was one of the most unique desserts I had ever encountered. The concept is just genius, the tapioca balls embedded in the coconut custard just added a dynamic you can’t get elsewhere. The number of flavours at work made it feel like a culinary exhibition happening in your mouth.

I can’t wait until that exhibition is unveiled once again.

Chi and Co. (Chi Chi) on Urbanspoon

We actually spent quite a while in Chi & Co just getting to know each other. It was nice to just chill out and give our bellies a breather.

However, there was still one place to visit and it was a familiar one.

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I love Holy Basil. I’ve been going to the one in the city for years now and it was nice to end with something familiar. The one we went to was the original one and we even got to meet the owner.

Thank you for all the weight I've gained over the years.
Thank you for all the weight I’ve gained over the years.

Holy Basil’s menu has a tonne of depth and all the options are incredibly viable.

However, you just can’t go past its signature dessert:

Fried ice cream
Fried ice cream

This is the gold standard that I measure all desserts against.

It’s not even fair comparing it to other batter heavy fried ice cream concoctions, this is in a league of its own. The pastry encasing the ice cream is glorious. The ice cream is nice, creamy and well supported by all the rest of the cast (caramel, coconut and a strawberry because you’re worth it).

It’s not listed in the recipes you find online, but greatness is key to this dessert.

Holy Basil on Urbanspoon

On that note, that’s all I have on the Canley Crawl of 2014.

I would like to thank Fairfield Council and Noodlies for the opportunity to participate in this unique dining experience. Shout outs to my food blogging superheroes for making the day one to remember. Oh and last but not least, big ups to my stomach for not blowing up.

Oh and you guys, reading three thousand words scribed by me cannot be a nice experience.

Sorry.

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