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casual, restaurants and cafes, south brisbane, southbank, under $20

HOT: Bamboo Basket, 189 Grey St, South Brisbane

Bamboo Basket 190 Grey St South Brisbane Hot or Not review

Bamboo Basket is new addition to the increasingly vibrant and unapologetically modern South Bank precinct. Located at the eastern end of Grey St, there was always the danger that when this Chinese restaurant opened a few months ago it would be a little far from the action. But it hasn’t taken long for it to create its own.

Bamboo Basket 190 Grey St South Brisbane Hot or Not review

It is a restaurant that oozes confidence even from the outside, making a feature of their steamy kitchen, filled with professional chefs and (you guessed it) lots of bamboo baskets. The interior is sleek, full of striking reds and blacks, but maybe a little showy.

The stand-out performer at Bamboo Basket is definitely the noodles. They are made fresh, very fresh – practically right in front of you – making for some delicious noodle soups and awesome dumplings. We tried two of their very reasonably priced lunch specials ($10.90). The wonton noodle soup was delicious and the BBQ pork disappeared very quickly. Definitely worth fighting over! They are certainly not complicated meals, just simple and good.

Bamboo Basket 190 Grey St South Brisbane Hot or Not review

Chinese restaurants in Brisbane have really had to improve since the dingy suburban takeaways of the 90s. Sweet and sour pork and black bean beef just doesn’t cut it any more. Bamboo Basket is certainly a cut above those greasy memories of my childhood, and well worth a visit.

[Editor: Bamboo Basket is so popular that the Jetsetting Parents also visited recently. Here’s their take on the restaurant.]

There was a continuous stream of onlookers on the foot-path, peering through a big glass window into the open kitchen of Bamboo Basket Chinese Restaurant. They were watching with interest (and probably salivating at the same time) at the dexterous skills demonstrated by the chefs inside who were busy rolling out dough, filling and pinching up dumplings, making noodles by repeated “pull, loop, pull” action, etc.

Inside the restaurant, all tables were either filled up or reserved by 12 noon, half-an-hour after opening , with the staff moving briskly around taking orders and delivering dishes. A small queue was always waiting at the entrance despite the fairly quick turnover of the tables. This set the tone for the lunch for Jetsetting Dad and myself.

The decor of the restaurant is simple yet stylish with a touch of red for a Chinese flair. From its extensive menu, we chose a few which we thought would be indicative of the skills of the dumplings and noodle chefs.

Bamboo Basket

The four xiao lung bao (steamed pork dumplings, S7.90) arrived at our table in a bamboo basket. They were outstanding. The abundant soup/juice simply burst out in our mouth when we bit into it. It’s amazing how the delicate skin could hold up the weight of the soup and meat without breaking even when the dumpling was lifted out of the basket by chopsticks. I reckon the recipe for the dough and the rolling technique must have to be perfect.

Next we had pan-fried pork dumplings (6 for $11.90). From our experience, a good one has to have a juicy meat filling with a nice crispy bottom while the rest of the skin is thin and soft. So these were the qualities we were looking for in our order and happily, we were not disappointed, though I would still prefer a crisper base.

Bamboo Basket

The hot and sour soup ($ 8.90) was a thickened soup with strips of pork, woody fungus, tofu, bamboo shoots and eggs. It was authentic but quite ordinary in taste – I even found it a bit too vinegary.

A big bowl of Langzhou pull-noodles in soup with beef ($17.90) was another outstanding dish. The fresh noodles were thick and al-dente (borrowing the Italian description). Again, it demands a good dough as well as some well-practiced pull and loop skills from the chef. The soup was tasty, too, without being greasy.

When we complimented on the food at the end of our meal, we were told that the chefs are mostly recruited from Shanghai.  Bamboo Basket is the restaurant we have been waiting for and I hope that the chefs will stick to their successful recipes and continue to offer us authentic and good-quality dumplings and noodles.

Bamboo Basket on Urbanspoon

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  1. My gosh, I am literally drooling. Thanks for the review, Bamboo Basket sounds AMAZING!!
    .-= Laura Newfarm´s last blog ..Advanced Pricing Strategies: $2.95 =-.

    Posted by Laura Newfarm | June 8, 2010, 11:37 am
  2. Bamboo Basket is at 189 Grey Street, not 190 so other side of the road and down. Family spent half an hour looking for it last night. Dinner was fantastic.

    Posted by L Black | June 12, 2010, 9:18 am
  3. Hi L

    So sorry, the mistake has been rectified now. Hope you weren’t too hungry by the time you finally found Bamboo Basket and enjoyed your dinner.

    Jetsetting Joyce

    Posted by Jetsetting Joyce | June 15, 2010, 3:52 pm
  4. I found this place ok the food was fresh compared to other Chinese places but the taste was rather average. I found it to be very expensive in accordance with the taste of the food and in terms of the service.

    Posted by Todd | July 28, 2010, 12:54 pm
  5. Hi Todd

    That’s a shame – because I’ve gone with Jetsetting Parents (who are Chinese) and we all found the taste above average to a lot of Chinese restaurants in Brisbane. The dumplings especially, very authentic!

    Jetsetting Joyce

    Posted by Jetsetting Joyce | July 30, 2010, 9:40 am
  6. My friend and I ate here last night and thought it was good. The food was tasty.

    Posted by Graphic Design Brisbane | August 3, 2010, 3:44 pm
  7. thanks for the fab review! went here on the weekend and it was awesome.
    Charity´s last blog post ..Gozleme

    Posted by Charity | August 24, 2010, 1:08 pm
  8. I went here for lunch about an hour ago. Delicious food (the soup dumplings and the noodle soup was fantastic). Big gripe, however, with the massive wait. We had to wait 20 mins for our dumplings (fine) THEN another 30 mins for our soups. I barely had time to scoff down a quarter before having to head back to the office!

    Posted by Mel | December 6, 2011, 2:30 pm
  9. Thanks for the update Mel, good to hear they are still serving impressive food. Shame about the wait though!

    Posted by CazM | December 7, 2011, 3:09 pm

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