Chopsuey Cafe, Dempsey

I've resisted going to Chopsuey Cafe for a while now. I've never really been a fan of P.S. Cafe (methinks they're overrated) and the idea of adulterated Anglo-Chinese cuisine wasn't particularly appealing. But a friend wanted to visit, as he'd missed his Chinese takeaways from the SF Chinatown when he lived there some time back.

Turns out, the food isn't half-bad. Commendable even. Huzzah! I've finally found a PS Cafe group restaurant that I actually like! As oxymoronic as it sounds, Chopsuey Cafe is as authentically bastardised as it gets. So judge it on its own, as a commingling of American culture and Chinese cuisine, and temper your expectations of Chinese food as you know it.

Service was faultless: upbeat, efficient, and sincere. And knowledgeable about the menu enough to make excellent recommendations.

The Crispy Duck Pow Pockets ($17) of pillowy-soft steamed white buns jammed with sliced duck confit, pulled roasted duck, julienned vegetables, and drizzled with a tangy-sweet bean sauce was a must-try.

The Szechuan Pepper Chilli Tofu ($18), a vegetarian variant of kungpow chicken, comprised beancurd squares wok-fried with blackened dried chillis, garlic flower, pickled radish & ginger, mushrooms, long beans, and cashews in a peppery szechuan sauce. Skip this, it was middling and forgettable.

The Crispy Crackly Organic Egg with King Prawns ($18), a fuyong omelette of sorts, was eggs fried till bubbly and crackled, laced with holy basil and chilli for a subtle heat, and drizzled with honeyed soy for extra oomph. Lovely, albeit a little oily.

The Honey Ginger Chicken ($24) of ginger-marinated chicken wok-crisped and then tossed with honey, ginger root, sesame seeds, and curry leaves, was reminiscent of sweet & sour pork. I can see why a Caucasian palate would like this.

I liked the Chopsuey Chopsuey ($16) a medley of seasonal organic baby vegetables sauteed with holy basil for a robust lift. The smoky char was evident, as was the delectable crunch.

The Wok Breath Rice Noodles with Snapper ($26) of wok fried hor fan dotted with fat slices of fish, silver sprouts and spinach, was drenched in a rich oyster sauce gravy. It's not the memorable hor fan I've ever had, but I liked the smoky char coming through every bite, and appreciated that the sprouts were relieved of their heads and tails properly.

A seasonal special, the Vodka Cheng Tng Cocktail ($19) was jarring. The sticky sweetness of the local dessert brew only served to exacerbate, not balance, the bitter edge of the vodka.

Chopsuey Cafe
10 Dempsey Road
Tel: 9224 6611
Open weekdays from 11.30am to 12midnight;
weekends from 10.30am to 5pm; 6.30pm to 12midnight
Website: www.pscafe.com

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