Bloggers' Event @ Okra Restaurant @ Thursday, April 27, 2017

Charlie & Co. dined as guests of Your Social Chef and Okra.
Thursday 20th April

Local gems are here are there, though like a diamond they may be hard to find among all the rhinestones of food porn which look spectacular but taste just like sugar, carbs laden full of artificial colours. From a local gem to hatted restaurant (chef’s hat in the 2016 Gault Millau guide), Okra "blends Thai, Malaysian, and Indonesian dishes into an irresistible Southeast Asian fusion menu" and has been featured in The Age Good Food Guide every year since opening 16 years ago in 2001, and it's not hard to see why.

Hosted by the man behind Okra, Lawrence and Mark of Your Social Chef we were introduced to a delicious array of delights that Okra has to offer.

While Okra looks small it's actually much larger than it appears with seats that go right to the back of the long house shaped restaurant, and there's more seats and a function room upstairs.

The function room upstairs.

Casava crackers & sambal chilli sauce 

We started of with casava crackers, similar concept to prawn crackers these were the bomb with sambal! Fiery hot, I may have died a little (though to me toothpaste is hot). They weren't oily which was nice. 

Khanom jeep - steamed chicken dumplings with yoghurt, soy and aioli 

With a silky dumpling skin sitting in a sweet and tangy soup, the creamy topping balancing out the flavours. Small but mighty in flavour the chicken dumplings were a hit! Yes so small, but so awesome!

Sate sapi dan ayam - grilled satay beef and chicken skewers 

Next up were satay skewers, soft tender meat well marinated these were fragrant and paired with a peanut satay. While I can count the number of times I've had satay on one hand, I have to say these are the best ones we've had! They were moist and flavorsome. 
Tangy oyster baked with a tangy salsa 

This dish was on fire! Oven baked (most definitely cooked) oysters, soft little morsels, seasoned with ginger and garlic. Sitting in a soup (much like XLBs) that was both sweet and tangy! As they were cooked they weren't slimy at all, creamy and tangy with lemon they melted on your tongue. 

Yum nua yang - thai eye fillet beef salad

If you don't think a salad can be as good as any protein based main you haven't tried this salad, well dressed and marinated we couldn't help but eat most of this salad! With lime, garlic, ginger, fish sauce, all those thai dressing flavours.

Loh bak - beancurd rolls with five-spice pork

Crispy tofu-ish skinned pork rolls, were indeed crispy and a textural delight! The fried tofu soaked up the sauce and the rolls were served with cucumber and tomato to cut down the meatiness.

Tumis balachan with okra – chilli shrimp paste, fried shallots 

This is Okra's namesake and signature dish, though I can't say I'm an okra fan, as it is quite seedy an slimy! Perhaps if you grew up eating it you'd like it though. 

Pla sam rod - crispy whole snapper with tamarind, chilli, onion and garlic 

While everything was amazing, this one this was the real highlight (of the mains). Fresh snapper with a thai marinade, that contrast of sweet, tangy tamarind with aromatic garlic & onion, though there's so much more to it than just the ingredients listed.

Served with coconut rice it was the bomb! This dish alone sees us returning! Oh and on size, this dish serves at least two. Surprisingly you could order this takeaway too, which we shall do.

Ayam bakar - Indonesian style grilled chicken 

Marinated grilled chicken, a pretty healthy choice that doesn't compromise on taste, fresh served with a salad. The only thing it could have used was a squeeze of lime. But other than that it was tender and moist, no chewy bits nor was it dry (like when I make it). One of the best grilled chickens I've had, a classic.

Lamb curry special with homemade roti chanai

In comparison to everything else we had the lamb curry paled, though normally holds its own light, being a classic winter dish. Mopped up with fresh, light and beautiful roti chanai. The flavours hit the right notes, the balance of creamy, spicy without being hot. I loved the eggplant which soaked up all the flavours.

We're on our way to over indulging, though the secret is just to eat a little of everything (except the salad, I totally devoured that), or run. Room for dessert? Always!
Dessert Platter (Perfect Sampling for 3-4 People) 
Sago pudding tapioca topped with gulaa melaka and coconut cream (circle)
Sticky black rice with palm sugar syrup (square)
Durian, green tea, jackfruit and vanilla ice cream

What do you pick when you can't decide? A bit of everything to share! A fusion of a platter with fruits, ice cream and two classics.

Served warm the sticky rice and sago pudding covered in a coconuty caramel custard was creamy and with just the right sweetness, the contrast of textures and temperatures was a delight to the taste buds.

The real highlight was the durian ice cream, made in house unfortunately you can't buy this by the pint *devastated, hook me up if you know a durian dealer* using Musang King Durian this is the real deal. But if durian isn't for you there's a mid-strength green tea, and the classic vanilla.

A burst of flavour and delights summons up our evening at Okra tonight. Small bites with big flavour, everything from entrees to dessert was superb! While prices reflect the area and quality it is well worth the price.

Our recommendations? The oysters, satay skewers, and fish if we had to pick our top three. But lets add the salad and roti to the must try list as sides.

Located opposite the Rivoli Movies near Camberwell Junction, Okra's easy to get to with ample parking. On Sundays Okra offers a Malaysian Hawker style feast, with mains from $13 with a large variety to choose from, almost all the dishes are under $20 too. We can't wait to return soon!

Okra Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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