A cursory Internet search of the term 'pan-Asian' will have you pondering the anthropological commonalities of the entire Asian race. Erhm… Interesting, but maybe not what you were after.
If you search BirdCage Pan-Asian in Woolloongabba, however, you will come up with a much more pleasing result (well, for your tastebuds at least).
This ornate little enclave (think colonial-era Singapore, and you're on the money), sitting neatly in the ever-popular Logan Road precinct, is gaining a very tasty reputation for both its brand of Asian-fusion food, and its suitability as a Friday drinks location. [Editor's Tip: Pop into Birdcage between 5pm and 7pm every Tuesday and Friday to take advantage of the great $15 cocktail and bar snack special!]
Not only is Birdcage a great pre-theatre dinner option (it's close to South Bank's Cultural Centre), but you can even experience the theatre while you eat in, at their entertaining Play with Your Food event, a unique combo' of theatre and dining where guests are treated to two plays along with their 3 course meal. (Tickets to the next Play With your Food Event on the 23rd of January are only $78 and available here.)
The menu, though, is where the magic really happens. It's a fusion-y adventure through all the best bits of Asia and we've fearlessly eaten our way through it. Here are our favourite dishes, where they're from, and why we love them:
The Dish: Oxtail braised in star anise and lemongrass, with Chinese green onion pancakes and chilli jam.
Country of Origin: Most probably China (the clue is in the title)
Why We Love It: With a winning combo of star anise and lemongrass, these pancakes are our pick of the very well put together entrée menu.
The Dish: Egg-net filled with oyster mushrooms, bean sprouts, snow peas and daikon tossed in hoi sin and chilli.
Country of Origin: Japan (with a bit of China thrown in)
Why We Love It: The vegetarians haven't been forgotten; this is a wonderful mélange of freshness topped off with some excellent sauces. Points got to the chef for executing an egg-net with such finesse.
The Dish: Grilled, grain-fed beef sirloin, seasoned with coriander and served with 'crying tiger' sauce and glass noodle salad.
Country of Origin: Thailand
Why We Love It: Beware of the tiger (as the ancient Thai proverb goes*), because they get pretty angry when they are crying. Seriously though, this sauce is kind of spicy so mostly recommended for those that like it hot.
The Dish: Berkshire pork belly braised in sweet soy and star anise with cucumber kimchee, tamarind and cilantro glaze.
Country of Origin: Not really sure, although it appears to be a bit of a slashie (China/Korea/Thailand), which is certainly okay by us.
Why We Love It: Can you ever really say no to pork belly? Give yourself in to the 'yum' and savour the deliciously fused flavours in this dish.
The Dish: Free-range chicken roasted in banana leaf and Balinese spices, with bean and coconut lawar.
Country of Origin: Indonesia
Why We Love It: We can imagine ourselves ensconced in a beautiful cliff-side warung—Indonesian for restaurant—in the heart of Uluwatu just by looking at this, so it gets our vote. Eating off a banana leaf is just so darn tropical.
*Disclaimer: We made this proverb up.
Image Credits: Megan Popelier, Seattle Met
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