Just what the kids or­dered

The Press - Zest - - Reviews - DAVID KILLICK

LUS­CIOUS AND LENGTHY

Spade Oak Voy­sey Chardonnay 2013. RRP $18.50 Yes, chardon­nays are back in fash­ion and this wine proves why. It won’t bom­bard you with but­tery oaks, but it is in­tense and acidic and packed with lus­cious apri­cot flavours. Good length lets you sip and savour. While just peachy by it­self, it goes very nicely with white meat. Poul­try and pork are rec­om­mended, and pasta would also be a good match.

Cook­ing tea had fallen into the toohard bas­ket and we wanted a fam­ily-friendly restau­rant. So we headed for the brash, gar­ish box that’s Bud­dha Stix, hand­ily set back from Ric­car­ton Rd. Handy be­cause it gives you a shot at a house car park, which is a real plus on that busy street.

Bud­dha Stix is friendly. The staff were happy to see us, po­litely warned us to be done by 8pm (which felt like a win as the woman on the phone had said 7.45pm) and led us to a ta­ble near the huge ceil­ing-to-floor win­dows at the front.

The de­sign is eclec­tic and fea­tures var­i­ous ar­range­ments of coloured tiles on the walls and dark ta­bles ar­rayed in a closely packed pha­lanxes. Christ­mas mu­sic was play­ing loudly but only just climbed above the roar of the din­ers around us.

Bud­dha Stix takes a su­per ac­ces­si­ble ap­proach to its wide-rang­ing Asian food. The menu re­as­sures that cur­ries are served mild to medium in spici­ness. Food and drink prices are rea­son­able. You’d have to be a diehard meat-and-three-veg type to not like it.

I would want more com­plex­ity and less sweet­ness, but the fam­ily hat was on and we were here on a mis­sion. And it paid off. A sa­tay chicken starter was skew­ered breast meat strips, bright yel­low with turmeric, served on rice with a mildly spiced crunchy peanut sauce. Bland, said the wife. ‘‘Fan­tas­tic,’’ said the kids. ‘‘Just try that,’’ they said ex­cited. ‘‘I like the crunch­i­ness of the peanut sauce.’’

Guri puffs – puff pas­try wrapped around sweet potato and some un­known green vegetables, were another hit, served with sweet chilli and soy dip­ping sauces. Fresh Viet­namese spring rolls starred mint in­stead of co­rian­der and udon-style noo­dles in­stead of the usual ver­mi­celli but were pleas­ant enough and dis­ap­peared quickly.

My favourite among the mains was a sim­ple veg­e­tar­ian nasi goreng that was sat­is­fy­ing, filling and tasty. Un­for­tu­nately I hadn’t or­dered it.

My choice was the hottest thing I could find on the menu, which ap­peared to be a chilli chicken stir fry. There was a kind of crank-up-the-heat ef­fect from adding more chilli pow­der, but re­ally it didn’t go any­where much and no-one else would touch it. But I en­joyed the veges of broc­coli, cauliflower, car­rot and baby sweet corn.

Another hit was le­mon chicken – coated fried chicken in a sweet le­mon sauce, jas­mine rice and an odd pile of deep fried ku­mara chips. We do a ver­sion at home and there was de­bate over which was bet­ter. In the end our home sauce won, but Bud­dha Stix’s chicken got the nod.

Viet­namese pork salad had the bright fresh flavours of a fish sauce-lime juice dress­ing and co­rian­der, although the pork was strangely flabby.

Dessert was a cheese­cake that had a le­mon and lime driz­zle of flavour on top, a star­tlingly good berry com­pote, a blob of cream and a cou­ple of ly­chees. The ly­chees were all mine – the fam­ily don’t know what they missed.

Bud­dha Stix is ex­actly what the hun­dred-plus who would dine there that night want. It did the job.

Easy go­ing: Bud­dha Stix is a good fam­ily din­ing op­tion. Photo: EWANSARGENT

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