Licence to add fun to menu Bamboozle
Putting aside the thousands who obviously do the trip as a daily commute, it does feel like a journey to the end of the earth on a wet night run out to Sumner with broken roads, barriers, containers, and the winding backstreets detour thanks to the closed causeway.
I say this because it makes the warm glow from Bamboozle all the more welcoming when you finally make it. Once through the vast wooden front door, it has a buzzy, welcoming casual feel. I like the way the dining area is up front and the bar area has been tucked behind a bizarre partitioning wall – it includes bamboo poles, a culvert, a faux log fire and a cycle rickshaw.
Bamboozle’s niche is Asian fusion and this is a licence to experiment and inject some fun into the dining out experience. Owner and chef Philip Kraal, formerly of The Crumpet Club and Bon Bolli, takes this even further with an assertive take on what he is about and what you are going to get.
So you get this gutsy comment in a panel on the menu: ‘‘If you have an allergy or dietary needs, you must ask yourself – amI in the right place?’’ He goes on to say he uses lots of peanuts, chilli, fish sauce and glutinous soy. Fair enough, you can only compromise so far.
Bamboozle’s style is shared dishes that arrive as they are cooked, rather than a standard starter-main-dessert progression. But, as the waitress explained, we could order in ‘‘waves’’ to allow time to eat and enjoy everything.
The menu’s funky and eclectic and ranges far and wide across wider Asia, with nods to Europe mixed in. A good example was the Shagged Rock Pot Stickers – six dumplings with a salmon and cream cheese filling, on a sweetish, bright yellow lightly curry influenced sauce. They were different but a bit gluggy for my liking. I wished I’d picked from other dumpling choices such as duck and blue cheese, or cheddar and leek.
But a shredded chicken salad was very good – the chicken served with plenty of roasted chopped peanuts, baby spinach, beansprouts, spring onions, crunchy fried shallots, pistachio nuts and, surprisingly, dried cranberries. The tangy sweet/ sour dressing had a hint of chilli. This dish was all about fresh flavours melding beautifully.
The wine list is reasonable but with spicy food I like beer. When: Tues to Sat, 5pm to late Disappointingly, the menu made no mention of that option and I had to ask what they had. I tried a Three Boys IPA followed by a Tiger from the taps. The local craft beer was so dramatically better that I begrudged every sip of the Tiger lager.
Our second ‘‘wave’’ of food was three dishes: thin pork belly slices, a bami goreng and calamari.
The pork belly wasn’t sticky as promised, but it came with an intriguing brown sauce created from black beans and onions with a strong citrus flavour. I really liked this sauce and how
All wines are published with the recommended retail price (RRP) by the winery or distributor, but with so many good wines being discounted, it is likely that they can be bought for less than the RRP. Check online wine sellers and/or the websites of wine stores and supermarkets.
Bamboozle: Thewarm glow is even more welcoming on a rainy night. evocative it was. It lured my finger in for some secret dabbing.
The authentic bami goreng had great chilli heat and was full of peas, corn, egg and other bits. The squid – called Long Dongs – was battered and deep fried. The supporting salad was excellent, though heavily drenched in dressing. So it wasn’t the crisp salad the menu suggested.
Desserts were a highlight. We avoided the well-worn path to the old Bon Bolli creme brulee and went with a chocolate mousse and a panna cotta. The mousse came with an intense coffee icecream and both were high quality.
A rich chocolate gelato accompanied the panna cotta – but the panna cotta was the star. It was durian-flavoured and it felt quite surreal to sit in Sumner on a cold wet night eating a dessert that smelt like sulphurous ‘‘off egg’’ and yet tasted so good. It was an exciting end to a fun evening’s dining.
There are plenty more dishes to discover, and another trip there to celebrate the causeway’s opening seems a good idea.
Where: 6 Wakefield St, Sumner Phone: 03 326 7878
------------------------Cost: Dishes range from $14 to $28. Desserts, $12.50 to $14.50
------------------------Upside: exciting flavour combinations
------------------------Downside: The overthumbed menus. Fresh ones needed.
------------------------Go again: Yes, much more needs trying