Tue, 07 January 2020
Liz O’Reilly tried out Bambudha, the new offering from Chef David, of David’s Stir Fry Crazy.
When one of the island’s favourite chefs launches a new venue and you’re lucky enough to be his guest for a tasting, you know you’re in for a treat.
Bambudha by David and Anne is tucked into a new mini-mall, with its own parking, just opposite American Alley in Juffair. It’s not a massive venue with just a handful of tables and an open kitchen downstairs and more seating on the first floor.
David explained: “We wanted to do something completely different, so we’re not pushing fine dining here, this is more casual comfort food, the kind of street food you would find throughout Asia.”
And comfort food it truly is. There are three menus: the à la carte, where you will find some of your David’s favourites; One Bowl Wonders, a selection of meat and fish dishes over rice, which are often served with a soup on the side; and The World of Noodles which features dishes that are either soup-based or wok fried.
We started with the classic Vietnamese Braised Beef Noodle Soup which was oh so super tasty with the broth made from beef bones and filled with pieces of aromatic braised meat.
Next came Malay Prawn Curry Laksa. Described by David as “a little spicy”, I found this absolutely perfect. The broth is, indeed, spicy but a hint of coconut milk takes the edge off, allowing you to really appreciate the intricate flavour of the seamlessly blended Malaysian spices. The chunky prawns are served with “fluffy fried tofu” – crispy on the outside and, yes, fluffy inside – bean sprouts and baby bok choy, which adds a tender peppery taste to the mix.
Phoenix and Dragon Over Noodles Pancake followed – yes, I really should have asked about the name. However, I was too busy digging into the pan-fried egg noodles which were deliciously crispy on the outside with a soft, yielding interior. They were accompanied by seasoned sautéed chicken, so tender as to melt in the mouth, and lightly spiced shrimps and veggies. This would make a perfect dish for someone who wants all the flavour of Asian food without over spiciness.
I loved the Laksa but, I have to confess, my favourite dish of the day was the Hong Kong-inspired Black Pepper Beef and Potatoes. Oh my gosh, everything from the sticky sweet tang of the signature pepper sauce – almost molasses-like in both consistency and flavour – to the sprinkling of sesame seeds, was clearly designed as a treat for the taste buds. And, though the one-bowl dish comes with rice, I was more than happy with the stir-fried sweet potatoes and red and green peppers, all coated in that delicious sauce.
Hong Kong Roast Duck Noodle Soup came next, featuring yet more incredibly flavourful broth, brimming with herbs and spices, poured over freshly-made noodles (they’re all handmade in-house) and topped with traditional roast duck. You’ll notice this duck is not pink as David prefers to keep additives to a minimum. The resulting taste, in my view, is all the better for it.
Our final dish was Dan Dan Mein – spicy Sichuan noodles blanched and topped with ground meat, pickles and herbs and layered with a rich creamy paste of sesame and chilli oil. The menu says this is Anne’s favourite, and, since she’s been in the business for years, that’s a good recommendation. The noodles certainly didn’t disappoint with the sesame giving a smooth nutty flavour to a hot and spicy feast.
So, did David manage to provide the comfort food he’d promised. You bet he did. And everything is really reasonably priced too, perfect for a weekday lunch or an evening out with friends.