PROFILED BY DE GROOTS MEDIA
There is not a fluorescent specials sheet papered to the wall, or etching of intertwined carp in sight. The well-spaced tables with upholstered seats are linen-dressed, without a whiff of paper serviette. Silky, lotus flower wallpaper features on one wall, even covering its ceiling for good measure. A gaggle of decorative birdcages hover above, but you will not see any old (roast) duck hanging in the windows of Concubine, for she is one classy lady.
Proprietor Audreen Lee has had many admire her Concubine since she first graced Gouger Street. Lee and Chef Ting smartly inject essences of Asian cooking into prime local produce, with award-winning results. Diners find the likes of South Australian prawns (with lime infused salt and Sarawak pepper), Robe spring water barramundi (steamed whole with ginger and shallots), Murray River salt (peppering bean curd), Barossa Valley pork and free-range chicken (belly in dark soy, and kung pao style with Szechuan chilli respectively). You will not hear someone ordering dish #193 from this menu. It is petite and sweet.
A flight of stairs leads to an invite for fun in function spaces. Portraits of serenely smug concubines adorn the “Shanghai Room”. It is a delight to have them there, among a cluster of red lanterns. Meanwhile, a smaller soiree beckons from the “Secret Room”. (It is behind the bookcase.) Sshhh…I will meet you there with a Chinese Whisper - of Zen green tea liqueur, Cointreau and fresh lime.