Tao dumplings and fried food

Central Otago Mirror - - FOOD FOR THOUGHT - AT­MOS­PHERE FOOD SER­VICE VER­DICT

Chinse restau­rant Tao is new to Queen­stown. It ap­peared very invit­ing with a lot of open space when my friend and I walked in at about 8.30pm for din­ner. Sim­ple yet cre­ative de­sign de­ci­sions drew me in and I felt I could sit in the din­ing area for­ever. The com­bi­na­tion of white and blue decor with min­i­mal art and mas­sive ropes sep­a­rat­ing the staff area and din­ing space made the restau­rant re­fresh­ing. There were plenty of free ta­bles, with only two other cou­ples din­ing at the time.

We went for three sets of dumplings: pork belly and black tiger prawn, veg­etable dumplings and a com­bined ba­con, cheese and chicken dumpling. Each set had four steamed dumplings ($8).The clas­sic prawn and pork dumplings were my ab­so­lute favourites fol­lowed by the ba­con, cheese and chicken.

For mains we or­dered mapo

tofu ($20) and stir-fried lamb chops in gar­lic and spicy salt

($34). The choice was ob­vi­ous for my veg­e­tar­ian friend as there were few other op­tions, how­ever it took me a while to de­cide be­tween lamb chops, sweet and sour pork with golden ki­wifruit ($28 and I will order it next time) and wok tossed squid with chill­ies ($24). When the main was served I found out it con­tained only what was men­tioned on the menu - no rice or veg­eta­bles on the side, just lamb chops. The meat was crispy, salty and ad­dic­tive. It was so easy to nib­ble on I al­most fin­ished the whole plate on my own. How­ever, I thought $34 for that dish was a bit too much.

My veg­e­tar­ian friend was not too im­pressed by the tofu dish. It was meant to be a hot sauce so she asked for it in a soy sauce in­stead. Her high­light was the spring rolls. A gen­er­ous por­tion of four freshly

made rolls for $14.

As we en­tered Tao there was a note say­ing the restau­rant had not re­ceived its liquor li­cence yet. Not ideal, but we were of­fered a free juice or tea in­stead, which was a nice ges­ture. Staff were lovely and un­der­stand­ing. Kitchen staff were work­ing at a good speed as the food was served

to the ta­ble very quickly.

Tao is a great wee Chi­nese cui­sine place which will be­come even bet­ter once they have a liquor li­cence sorted. A new restau­rant with a great aes­thetic ap­peal is per­fect for a light fam­ily din­ner or a few snacks over a catch up with friends. Tao is also now my new go-to for dumplings.

DASHA KU­PRIENKO

Tao’s pork and prawn dumplings ($8) and veg­e­tar­ian dumplings ($8).

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