Some friends and I hit up Cinnabar, a new Asian fusion restaurant on the Kingston Foreshore, during their soft-opening in late January. The restaurant is located in the new end of the foreshore, next to Molto Italian and is hard to miss; dark colours and luxurious accents lure you in.
We were there on a Tuesday and early (6pm I believe, because we’re Nannas) so the restaurant was pretty much empty. We were given our choice of tables and opted for one of their seriously cool booths – complete with tassel lamp shade. Our view was outward, looking towards the foreshore and the lake.
We ordered some entrees – spring rolls and san choy bau, both of which you can order in individual sizes. Perfect for me! I got one chicken san choy bau and my friends ordered the duck.
The san choy bua had really nice textures and flavours but I only ate half to save stomach space for the main dish feast to come. My friend ordered three dishes to share between the three of us…
We ended up going for the Chinese inspired dishes; salt and pepper squid, the dry chilli beef and the spicy chicken (house special).
With everything on the table, plus rice, we were squished in and surrounded by food – essentially my happy place. The food was fresh, hot and the ingredients used were quality ones. Each dish was a generous size, tasty and well prepared. The squid in particular was cooked to perfection, crunchy on the outside but soft on the inside, with great flavours introduced with the toppings and chilli and lime salt. Definitely a winner on the food front.
My only minor qualm with Cinnabar is the price. Dishes that you can get from ordinary Chinese restaurants are about twice the price – for example the dry chilli beef was close to $30 (I can’t remember the exact price). While I do agree that the food at Cinnabar is definitely of a higher quality than your average Chinese restaurant, I guess cheap (or cheaper) prices for Asian food has been entrenched in me. However, I do appreciate that they have a location-centric reputation to uphold (ie the Kingston Foreshore is generally full of higher end and more expensive dining establishments… except for maybe Chong and Co) and they certainly deliver on both location outlook and beautiful décor.
So in summary the food is fantastic, the service is friendly, the location is trendy and the décor is gorgeous – it’s more of a special occasion place, than a “stuff your face full of Chinese food” place. If that makes any sense at all…