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PUBLISHED : Thursday, 08 June, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 08 June, 2006, 12:00am
 

Grand Progress Building, 15-16 Lan Kwai Fong, Central


Tel: 2525 6700


Open: Monday-Saturday noon-3pm, 6pm-11pm


Cuisine: Thai and Vietnamese.


Price: $618 for two, excluding drinks.


Ambience: Contemporary Southeast Asian design in orange and brown hues. Comfortable bench seats line the walls, and there's a small balcony-style area with tables and straight-backed chairs. The open kitchen in the corner adds to the informal feel.


Pros: Staff are knowledgeable about the dishes, and portions are generous.


Cons: The flavours in many of the dishes are unbalanced. And in some cases they hide, rather than enhance, the main ingredient.


Recommended dishes: A warm salad of grilled beef with long leaf coriander, mint and chilli ($88) is a meal in itself, with tender slices of beef on a bed of crispy vegetables and a piquant dressing, but the overly generous coating of ground roasted rice gave the salad a gritty texture. Braised shiitake mushrooms with pickled ginger, fresh bamboo and cashews ($78) features meaty mushrooms in a light dressing. The crisp whole, fried barramundi with three-flavoured sauce ($188, above) was well presented, with the fish laying belly-down in a half circle on a bed of crisp herbs, but the sweetness of the pineapple in the sauce overwhelmed all other flavours. Prawns with smoked fish and wild ginger in coconut cream ($160) had an interesting wood-smoke flavour, but the vegetables with which it's served - a wedge of iceberg lettuce, a sliced raw gherkin and a sprig of mint - were somewhat uninspired.


What else? In the kitchen is chef Damien Jones from the Michelin one-star Nahm Thai restaurant in London.


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