The location for the Red Lantern has been been a restaurant vortex for a number of years. Ever since the building was renovated in the late 90s – I think it was previously a private residence – none of the restaurants have done terribly well. Although I have a certain fondness for a Middle Eastern themed restaurant that was there for a while, it’s been a virtual black hole for restaurants.
And then, all of a sudden, Red Lantern opened and it became popular. More recently, the restaurant has been featured as one of three restaurants on the SBS TV Show, Heat In The Kitchen. The series has explained it has been an inner-city experiment by a family who run a “cheap and cheerful” Vietnamese restaurant in Cabramatta which specialises and only offers half a dozen dishes.
“Red Lantern” is just around the corner, so it was a little surreal to go from watching the show at home to eating at the restaurant just moments later. We were also pretty excited, because we’d known the history of the place and we were really hopeful that, at last, it would take off as a deservedly great place to eat.
For entrees we had the lightly battered chilli salted squid and the vegetarian rice paper rolls, which included potato and carrot. Both were quite good.
For mains we had BBQ duck and the slow cooked goat, cooked in turmeric and coconut milk. The goat was good, though fairly indistinguishable from lamb, strangely enough. The duck was okay.
Although we quite enjoyed the meals, we were perhaps a little disappointed. Although they was tasty and well presented, the meals lacked a certain “something”.
Or maybe it’s just that Damo and I have been too well fed over a number of years.