MASSIVE chandeliers sparkled like Christmas overhead in the sleek, modern Paddy Field Restaurant on Newcastle Street.
A quick look around showed it’s a favourite with Perth’s Chinese community.
Adding to the party atmosphere, dim sum trays of delicate pastries and baskets of savoury steamed dumplings were being whisked between tables where diners were tucking in with gusto.
As the waiter rattled off the offerings on the tray my lunch companion and I wondered if we’d made a terrible mistake.
Being vegetarian we struggled with the idea of pork mince dumplings – or steamed beef tendons.
I suggested my trainee journalist mate should take one for the team and try the steamed chicken feet, or the tripe.
But struggling with the fish she was eyeballing in a tank, waiting to be turned into someone’s lunch, she didn’t think much of the idea.
The very helpful waiter spotted our dilemma and came back with a vegetarian menu.
We thought we’d pass on the vegetarian shark fin soup on offer – made with non-flesh eating shark one presumes, and crispy duck in lemon sauce.
Instead we kicked off sharing steamed vegetarian dumplings ($8): “My expectations were exceeded with the mushroom and corn [filling] wrapped in a sticky, gelatinous wrapping,” my friend said.
Having been assured oyster mushrooms are a variety of fungi she happily ordered the broccoli version ($20.80), while I ordered the mixed vegetable stir fry ($18.80)
Almost $40 for two plates of vegetables sounds steep, but these were fantastic, the vegetables cooked to crisp perfection and the sauces plate-licking good.
Beautifully presented, the rich green of the broccoli contrasted with the glistening sauce-covered slices of the pale-biscuit brown mushies.
“The soft oyster mushrooms perfectly contrasted the crunch of the broccoli, rounding out a delicious meal,” my friend said.
The stir fry veggies came with an assortment of four different mushrooms, each with its own distinctive taste and texture, in a delicious sesame sauce.
We ummed and ahhed about dessert, but in the end shared a mango pudding, which was its own sweet reward being cold and soothing on a hot day with a mouthwatering mix of mango and coconut with a creamy jelly texture.
by JENNY D’ANGER
30 Newcastle St, Northbridge
Lunch and dinner, 7 days