Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Written on Tea

Lunched at Written on Tea today, and, try as hard as I can, I just don’t seem to be able to ‘get’ this place. I know Roger McShane and Sue Dyson (local expert food reviewers) love it there, and many other friends of mine regularly eat there and rave about it, but for me, somehow, the reason for its popularity eludes me.

I have been there twice before and each time have not enjoyed the food, and found it way too greasy. I assumed that you needed to have been there before and sorted out what you prefer on the menu, and thought that I just wasn’t ordering the right things, and that I hadn’t given it enough of a good try.

But today I went along with a few friends, two of whom are Asians who enjoy eating there often. Hence it was with much interest that I listened to them ordering, and sampled their food when it came out.

The menu is a bit hard to envisage merely by reading the menu descriptions, and looking at the prices doesn’t help either, because it all seems so cheaply priced.

The Asian girls selected, and shared between them, a platter of pan fried pork dumplings, a bowl of steamed rice, and a spicy bean dish. I found the dumplings alright but nothing to write home about. The beans, on the other hand, were a definite winner, and I’d have them every time. They were simply an oval plate full of steamed French beans, served with a chilli-soy sauce poured over them. Never in a million years would I have ordered that particular plate of food, but now I know about it, I’ll return to WoT, give it another chance, and see if I can select a bit more wisely now.

I had the chicken bento box ($12) which comprised sliced and fried chicken on a bed of steamed rice, a small portion of sliced lettuce and tomato with mayonnaise drizzled artistically across it, one and a half fried spring rolls (vegetarian I think) with soy dipping sauce, and two halves of a hard boiled egg cooked in soy (I think)….they were dark on the outside anyway, but as I didn’t eat them, can’t say what the predominant flavour was.

It was only an average meal, but I think most folks would be happy with it sheerly because of the prices, which I considered quite cheap. You simply couldn’t buy and prepare a meal like this for such a low price.

So – I came away, still a bit confused, but a bit wiser as well. I’ll give it one more go, and if I still can’t ‘get it’, then that’s me done with trying!

Written on Tea
Shop 8, 236 Sandy Bay Road
(part of the Mayfair complex)
Sandy Bay
Ph 6223 3298
Posted on by Rita


Anonymous said...

Way overrrated.
I've had dumplings that smelled off, I watched as food deliveries sat on the floor for the entire time we were there for lunch. I will say that these foodstuffs were wrapped but its still wasn't a good look.
The older waitress looked like the owner but the younger girl taking orders had know idea what she was doing.
The 4 tables or so near the counter all had the remains of someones lunch still on them so we had to clear this before we could order. The bean dish was good but that oof-pork smell will be with me for a long time

sir grumpy said...

A former cook from WOT now runs our local chinese and it is indeed greasy. Must be part of their ethos.

You have to step careful!

Anonymous said...

Written on Tea consistently serves some of the most authentic, most interesting Asian dishes in Tasmania. It compares favourably to some of the best Chinese 'cheapies' interstate which have cult followings. Sure, you need to know how to navigate the menu to find their better dishes but a basic understanding of authentic Chinese cuisine helps.

Rita said...

Thanks Anon 7.53 for your enlightening comment. I haven't had the opportunity to experience many interstate 'cheapies', but have eaten much Chinese food throughout my life, starting at age 11 in 1960, when our next door neighbour (a lovely lady named Dorothy Chung) taught me how to eat with chopsticks, and many times cooked for/with my family some most delicious, and different (for that time) food. That was the first ethnic food I had ever eaten and the love of it has remained with me to this day. I haven't been to China and eaten the authentic product there but have made a point of eating Chinese wherever I have visited throughout my life, as I feel extremely comfortable and at home with Chinese food.

sir grumpy said...

I tell you what though...that whole exterior along that strip needs a decent clean-up and repaint.
Shabby ain't the word. And the Mayfair compex isn't even that old.

China Doll said...

What about a clean up of the interior of that Yu's at Blackmans Bay. Looks seriously dodgey inside.

sir grumpy said...

Yes, that place needs ripping out and brightening up. It's like a dark cave.
I even mentioned to the people there it was hard to tell if the place was open it was so dark. Gloomy....

Anonymous said...

Nothing Chinese about WoT. I should know- I am Chinese. Its like calling French food Italian.

Anonymous said...

laughed my head off at comment from Anonymous (I am Chinese) - and I agree. The food isn't authentic Chinese to my palate.

Anonymous said...

I've been there three times. I've hated it every single time. The staff were incredibly rude and unfriendly and the food very greasy. My husband and I refuse to go there now.

sir grumpy said...

Still on the Chinese thread Rita...
I had a pretty poor feed at Duc's on Thursday (lunch).
We were in a hurry so went baine marie....mistake,
Stir fried combo for her, beef black bean me.
Look, it was as everything was just lightly turned over in the wok, no real flavour. And the fried rice didn't have anything else in it (egg, spring onion, peas, nuffin).
It was all just bland.
I believe the freshly-ordered stuff is still okay but I won't be going back for quick-serve stuff.
Shame really.

Anonymous said...

Everyone raves about the dumplings, but, really, they are very poor imitations of (I hate to say it) the 'real' thing. The pan-fried dumplings I had there were undercooked, lacking taste, and without any type of interesting sauce. Soy sauce by itself just doesn't do even poor dumplings justice. The Japanese take on dumplings - gyoza - are much more my style; however, unfortunately, what are sold in Hobart as gyoza, are rarely like the gyoza you eat in Japan. I recommend readers to make your gyoza as they are simple to make and cook.

Anonymous said...

This restaurant has terrible service. We saw people get up and leave after waiting an age without being served.

The kitchen is noisy with people shouting. My husband wanted to walk out without paying as they did not bring a bill, and there was nobody at the counter to pay when we wanted to go. I don't think the staff could have cared less if we had!

Philip Ritchie said...

I can't believe the complaints about the service. I have ALWAYS found it cheerful prompt and very helpful. It is interesting that so many complaints have been made by "anonymous"... could it be a competitor who can't match the very good value at Written on Tea.