PROFILE BY BEST RESTAURANTS
Red Emperor – like many Chinese restaurants – is large, handsome and spacious. Unlike other Chinese restaurants though, this one has a great view. It overlooks the Yarra River and the cityscape, which means it's an excellent place to bring visitors. But without resting on its laurels, the two-level restaurant attempts to match the quality view in other ways. It's extremely comfortable with upholstered high-backed chairs, carpeted floors and white tablecloths; and one of the owners is usually on deck, which means attentive eyes and good service.
The menu is extensive, as is the Chinese style. What's special about this one? The seafood, for a start – check out the tanks as you enter to see what's freshest. Then there are the dishes prepared with detailed attention to yin-yang balance and health, and the less familiar dishes. Try the stir-fried glass noodles with bean shoots, scrambled eggs and dried scallops. Or the double-boiled herbal soup and rice wine chicken. We're feeling better already. The spicier dishes are denoted with one, two or three chillies. This is an excellent spot for a quick meal before a concert, and even better for Sunday yum cha or a leisurely banquet. There are banquets for two, four, and best of all, eight or more. Raid the piggy bank for Banquet H, which includes spicy quail, mud crab, barramundi, and crocodile fillet. The last is served with XO chilli sauce, the best thing that's ever happened to a crocodile. The wine list is pleasingly wide-ranging and well chosen.