PROFILE BY BEST RESTAURANTS
Every neighbourhood has its local Chinese restaurant haunt. Menus run the gauntlet of predictabilities – beef and black bean sauce for mum and dad; chicken and cashew nuts for the kids; salt and pepper squid for addicts. Normally, to sate those cravings, a trip to Chinatown is required because seriously authentic Chinese food is rarely found in the "burbs". Wrong – the lucky folks of Toorak Gardens have it on their doorstep. While Eastern Garden restaurant flaunts all the classics, they are in the minority of a menu that, while beautifully presented, is overshadowed by more unusual dishes.
If the seafood hotpot with sea cucumber and stewed shark lips seems a bit adventurous, the salt and pepper soft shell crab, flounder or whitebait will see you salivating. Stir-fried white radish cake in XO sauce and green beans with minced pork and salted olives has a bit of kick to it but can be soothed by the rather milder flavours of the lamb pancakes or abalone and scallops in pumpkin. If the salt and pepper deep-fried bean curd, and chicken and salted fish fried rice are anything like that served in sister restaurant BBQ City you'd be wise to summon some quick smart. Unlike its cheap and cheerful city counterpart, Eastern Garden is a large 120-seater set for a dining experience. Cherry-red timber cabinets with antique trinkets add an elegant touch. To one corner are tanks of coveted crustaceans should you wish to add a further smattering of decadence to your evening.