Thursday, June 7, 2012

Review: Point Restaurant (葡點) *CLOSED*

[Added 8 August 2012: This eatery is now sadly closed, having been open for only around 4 months.]

It was the photo of a grilled quail which drew us in.  On this cheap and cheerful stretch of Dominion Road, dominated by noodle and dumpling places, animal organs here, rice and lentils there, this little bird seemed almost too exotic to belong.  I was sure that if we tried to order it, we would be told "sorry, we've run out".  The last place I tried to order anything interesting, I was rejected three times before I found an item I could actually have.

Modern and clean look.
Well, I have yet to be told that a dish is unavailable at Point Restaurant. This is probably because most of the offerings at this Macanese eatery consist of noodles or rice, baked or fried (or boiled, in the case of rice porridge), with a repeated selection of accompaniments such as bacalhau (Portuguese salted cod) or BBQ pork.

The fried rice here is one of its strengths, but fortunately the menu also has some non-rice or -noodle dishes.  The Deep Fried Soft Shell Crabs with Wasabi Mayo appears under the "Yummy Snack" section and was beautiful cooked, while being very affordable at $8.50.  The whole Grilled Quail was also a tasty treat.

Partially eaten: Deep Fried Soft Shell Crabs with Wasabi Mayo; Fried Rice with Combination Meat, Cashew Nuts, Pineapple and Curry.

Grilled Quail with Five Spice Salt.
Our favourite fried rice so far is the Combination Meat one pictured with the Soft Shell Crab above, but the Seafood with Tomato Sauce Fried Rice is also pretty good.  I thought it would be like a Spanish paella, but it is definitely fried rice, with less liquid and some egg fried with it.  The seafood reminded me of "Mini-Me": apart from normal mussels, prawns, and squid, it also had tiny versions of the mussels, less than 10 times the size of the regular ones, and little shrimps as well.

Seafood with Tomato Sauce Fried Rice.
We found the noodles less exciting, though we have by no means tried them all, and the Fried Udon with vegetables was not bad.

Garlic Mushrooms and Vegetables with Fried Udon.
The main weakness of Point Restaurant is that there isn't a lot of vegetables to be had.  What dishes there are, the vegies tend to be a minor ingredient, or covered in cheese, and there isn't anything I would refer to as "green leafy vegetables".  Then again, I have felt a lack of vegetables in many other restaurants, even in, say, vegetarian Indian restaurants.  I don't really have anything against cheesy bakes anyway, even the mildly curried and sweetly coconutty ones.

Steamed Mix Vegetables Baked with Cheese and Coconut Curry Sauce.
Although no one was hungry after the large portions we were served, we couldn't go past trying the Serradura for dessert.  Named after the Portuguese word for "sawdust", this pudding looked like tiramisu, but was simply whipped cream layered with biscuit crumbs, garnished with grated chocolate.  Plain, yet enjoyable.

Serradura, or Macanese "Sawdust" Pudding, made of whipped cream and biscuit crumbs.
Point Restaurant is the only eatery I know of in Auckland specialising in the Chinese-Portuguese fusion cuisine of Macau.  It doesn't have the egg tarts and meat jerky slices sold from the sides of cobbled streets, which I've come to associate with this Chinese Special Administrative Region, but it does offer a large variety of other delights such as baked rice dishes and Portuguese sausage, all without breaking the bank.

Panda Recommends

Entrees: Deep Fried Soft Shell Crabs with Wasabi Mayo ($8.50), Grilled Quail ($12.00)
Mains: Combination Meat, Cashew Nuts, Pineapple with Curry Fried Rice ($12.50), Seafood with Tomato Sauce Fried Rice ($12.50)

Vegie Pandas
Limited choice, but be aware that you can look beyond the Vegetarian section for suitable dishes.

Menu - page 1

Menu - page 2
Restaurant Details

Point Restaurant (葡點)
Unit 4, 583 Dominion Road, Balmoral, Auckland
(09) 623 4279

Opening hours:
Mondays closed.
Tuedays to Sundays 12 – 3pm, 5:30pm – 9:30pm

Point Restaurant is in the same complex as Banzai, next to Aji Ichiban.

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  1. I have fond memories of visiting Macau last year for 1 day as an excursion from Hong Kong. I can't say I tried much of the local cuisine since most of our time was spent in buffet lines in the huge Venetian Hotel. Their version of egg tarts would be the number one thing I would be pining for. Too bad they don't do it here! I never realised they were such baked cheese fanatics. How do you find these places?

    1. Haha, wandering around lots helps. I've seen Macanese egg tarts for sale at Crown Chinese Restaurant, though I did not order them on that occasion.


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