Six foodies on a mission…
The destination? Will’s House, a relative new-comer to the food scene, replacing Hejo’s on Elizabeth Street. Just another Chinese restaurant in a saturated market? Only time, and eight dishes, would tell…
The welcome was everything you look for in a restaurant. I’m pretty sure they knew we had the teenciest bit of clout in Hobart’s food scene, so they were out to impress, but even so we were greeted with great warmth and a genuine desire to showcase the best dishes they could offer, particularly in the face of much indecision on our behalf!
First up was an entrée of prawn cakes, consisting of a deep fried mix of minced prawn, squid and chicken with a plum dipping sauce, normally costing $11.8 for four pieces.
A good start, full of fresh ingredients and good flavour, but for me a deep fried dish has to be sensational to get a big thumbs up and in this case it didn’t quite get there. It was ‘nice’.
Next up was a big bowl full of basil duck, consisting of stir-fried duck, snow peas, tomatos and asparagus with a sweet chilli and garlic sauce ($24.9). As our illustrious leader proclaimed, “Chinese or Thai?”. To be honest though, I could hardly hear him over the lip-smacking grunts of duck-induced pleasure…
The duck was followed by a sweet smelling pot full of deep fried tofu, mixed seafood, green and red capsicum, carrot and mushroom with oyster sauce ($23.9).
Yeah, better than average but…you know…is there any duck left?
Time for some spice!! Our host asked up front if we were keen on trying something with a little bit of heat. A resounding “YES!!” was the answer (except from one of our number who we found out very quickly has a rather amusing reaction to anything hotter than a dusting of white pepper!).
The Yu-Shiang shredded pork ($19.5), consisting of stir-fried pork, fungus and green capsicum with homemade sweet chilli sauce rocked our world. The bearded one even going so far as to proclaim this as the best he’d tried outside China! Really spicy (perhaps a 7.5/10 on the chilli scale for me?) but in a good way, letting the subtle umami flavours of the pork and fungus to shine through the heat.
How could we say no to ribs?! Stewed pork ribs with mature vinegar and rock candy to be precise ($22.5)!!
A beautifully presented hummock-o-pork, I thought the flavours were pretty decent, but unfortunately the pork had been ever so slightly over done with its texture suffering as a result. You’ll still finish every morsel though!
By this stage our amateurish chopstick wielding skills had inevitably started to soil our table top, and so we moved over to fingers and crab shells!
This was on their specials board and, my apologies, but I can’t recall the price. Stunning flavours, and while the effort to reward ratio is high, you’re going to keep punishing those fingertips in an effort to extract every last bit of tender crab flesh! It’s spicy, but more of a warm uplifting spice, as opposed to the harsh heat of the shredded pork. A great dish!
When you go Chinese you’ve got to order at least one bowl of fried rice right?
This was the XO fried rice, with egg, prawn, squid, corn, pea, and XO sauce ($17.8). We all could have done without the peas, but other than that it was a big hit, so much so that we ordered another.
The gorgeous gorgers that we are, seven dishes later and we were still hungry so we put in a last minute order for their sizzling marinated beef with onion and oyster sauce ($22.6). I loved the pepper in the marinade contrasted with the sweetness of the al dente onions. Like the pork ribs earlier, the beef was possibly a little bit over done for my liking, but otherwise a really nice finish to the meal.
And for dessert, some complimentary lollies 🙂 (we would have ordered off the menu, but we had had an elegant sufficiency)
Will’s House is offering the good folk of Hobart some really solid Chinese options consisting of both mainstays and some Szechuan specialities from Will’s home town back in China, with the odd left-field ‘Asian’ option thrown into the mix just for good measure. The service was great, offering suggestions when asked (or when we clearly had no idea what we actually wanted!), and the ambience relaxed.
It isn’t up there in the highest echelons of Chinese cuisine, but you will come away having had at least one or two dishes that provide an insight into how wonderfully complex and flavoursome Chinese cuisine can be.
Support an engineer or three, get down to Will’s House and give them a try!
1/80, Elizabeth St, Hobart
Lunch, Mon-Sat: 11:00am – 3:00pm
Dinner, Mon-Sat: 5:00pm – till late
For more info, drop by their website here: Will’s House
Or you can drop by their Facebook page here: Will’s House on Facebook