A little earlier in January, the family (sans children, plus aunts, uncles and grand parents) headed to The Blue Breeze Inn in Ponsonby Central to celebrate the Grandfather’s birthday.
The Blue Breeze Inn is a modern Chinese restaurant with a Pacific feel. It’s firmly a Ponsonby style restaurant but at the same time it’s not too difficult to slide into a seat and feel at home. Indeed, I’ve spent a few nights, perched up at the bar, taking over the place. But while I may have drunk my way through every cocktail on the menu (the tasty sucker above is Empress Hot Lips – apples, lime and sugar cane), never had I ever had the pleasure to taste the food (WHAT?! I know). With nine bellies to full to bursting, this was the perfect opportunity. Mission eat everything on the menu quickly began.
It would turn out that the first dish to arrive would end up being my favourite. This steamed bun full of Peking Pork Belly and Pickled Cucumber was perfect. Honestly perfect. Soft, sweet, crunchy, tasty. My mouth fills with saliva at the mere thought of it. At $9 on the menu, I would happily go to The Blue Breeze just for this (and a cheeky drink – any takers!)
Soon after the pork buns had been devoured it was time for the dumplings to begin to pour out. Pour out is no hyperbole, we may or may not have tried every variation on the menu. From pork and prawn to squid and coriander we gobbled them down until telling them apart was nigh on impossible. After the magnificence of the pork bun they were no competition but jam packed full of fillings they were still pretty tasty (not Dom Rd tasty though).
Having the opportunity to fully canvas the menu meant that it was prime time to jump out of my comfort zone and taste everything. Which is what the above is. Bang Bang Chicken with Jelly Fish and Cucumber and a Cured Salmon and Raw Vegetable salad in the back ground. The Bang Bang Chicken from memory was tasty and not actually that scary but at the same time not a stand out. The Cured Salmon Salad was delicious.
By the time these Mongolian Lamb Patties had come out, we were starting to get concerned. Had Ian, our fearless food orderer been a bit overly zealous? But I was on a mission. I had to keep going. And an important note to share – what may look like mere garnish in the background was in fact, consistently just as tasty, if not more tasty than the main meal itself. Them juices….
It was starting to get a bit much though and post the Wok Fried Tua Tua’s present above, the below dishes became a bit of a blur. The Tua Tua’s though…
I’ve not always been a seafood fan but I’m slowly being converted. First there were some prawns… and then cray fish… and then the occasional white bait fritter. More recently salmon became fair game, and now Tua Tuas. These delicious little beasts. So soft a flavour, so delicate, so smooth, so delectable. A trip back just to try these with Adam is most certainly in order.
As I said, these dishes were a blur, in fact there was a mutual struggle to even taste them, our bellies already tight at the sides. Braised Beef Shins, Red Braised Pork Ribs and Roast Duck. I feel ill at the sheer memory of trying to eat these last morsels. The duck ended up being the least touched, while one of the others (if only I could remember which!) was drowned in the most delectable sauce. I could have drunk it had it not been for the polite company.
At that point, firmly stuffed (and indeed we’d stay that way until dinner the next day! – when I had Barilla, obvs) we turned to coffees. Which is sadly where things got disappointing. I was happy, I chose the Mr Lava Lava, a coffee and dark rum cocktail that touched all the right places. The regular coffee drinkers however, not so much. The flat whites were nigh on undrinkable and the drinks service in general had been pretty flat all lunch. We’d gone in as a big table ready to spend money and they forgot drinks – twice, besides failing to offer top ups during the course of the meal. The food distracted us rather well and the bill at the end was made surprisingly lighter for the omissions but it did take away from the overall experience.
Despite that one short coming The Blue Breeze Inn certainly filled my belly and tickled my taste buds. I would happily go back for more cocktails, pork buns and tua tua again and again and again! Price wise the dishes increase from $10-20-30 which is easily worth the calibre of the food you’re getting. The only thing I wouldn’t bother with for the price is the duck, unless you love duck it’s nothing exciting.