73 Lime Ave
Mildura, VIC 3500
I’m in Mildura for 3 months over Christmas for work, and whilst I’m here, checking out the local food scene is a must. Surprisingly, Mildura actually has a decently wide variety of cuisines available, in addition to your usual slew of cafes, pubs, and Italian restaurants. You can easily get your hands on Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, and Indian, and you can also find a few places for Japanese, Lebanese, and Thai. But no matter where you look, Andy’s Kitchen will be front and centre of the recommendations. Taking a rather westernised approach to Asian food, Andy’s is the place to get hearty servings of the kind of food you find at Chinese restaurant in the 90s. And whilst the food may lack the pizzaz of the big city, Andy’s hospitality, not to mention the tiki-themed courtyard, is legendary. Nothing is too much trouble, and Andy himself will remember and greet you like an old friend after just one visit. Combined with generous portions of easy-to-enjoy dishes, it’s very difficult not to become fond of Andy’s Kitchen.
Rating: 12.5/20 – legendary andy.
To-order: salt and pepper tofu. actually slaps.
The Flame Grilled Calamari Salad ($16, entrée) looked gorgeous, but unfortunately, being about 400km from the ocean, and calamari itself was spongy and tasteless. But it’s not all bad news; the salad itself had a good variety of fresh veggies, and the addition of the sweet and tangy Thai-styled dressing, as well as generous amounts of fried shallot, made it a decent standalone salad.
Staying within comfort zones is rewarded by the Pork Spring Rolls ($14, 6pcs), which is a perfect example of how this classic snack should be done. Blistering hot, paper-thin pastry sheets, wrapped around an aromatic filling of spiced pork and veggies – it really doesn’t get much tastier.
They clearly know what they’re doing with the deep fryer here, because the Salt and Pepper Silken Tofu ($24) is also flawless. Made with tofu so golden and creamy that it could pass for egg custard, each piece is delicately dredged in rice flour, before being carefully fried for a clean, crisp finish. Round it out with cracked black pepper, and it’s living proof that sometimes simple and well-done is the best way to go.
The Malaysian Char Kway Teo ($22) looked hella legit, but unfortunately it lacked the delicious wok hei so characteristic of this street dish. Props however to them for making sure all the classic trimmings were there, and also the portion size is a massive plus.
The Pork Belly Stir Fry ($26) sounded great on paper, but unfortunately the pork was rather tough and dry, and had none of the promised spice.
The Black Pepper Beef ($26) fared a bit better. Though generic, the meat was properly tender, and the sauce very moreish with rice.
When they ask you at the door if its you’ve been here before, it’s not just empty pleasantries – they will treat you to a Coconut Panna Cotta ($12) if it’s your first time! Though not quite as creamy as its milk-based counterpart, this had an excellent mouthfeel, and a beautiful smoothness. A little more sweetness, and this would’ve been perfect.