The lights have lit up again on Greenhill Road opposite the Burnside Village Shopping Centre. Eastern Garden Chinese Restaurant has moved and in its place is new restaurant called Empress. The owners have certainly put a lot of effort into renovating this restaurant. There is a takeaway section at the back and an impressive grand entrance into the restaurant. Empress specialises in shared plates and yum cha. We came here for yum cha one time, but I am just going to concentrate on dinner this time.
I would say the menu is somewhat westernised, you may find a couple of the original Chinese dishes.
We ordered a hot and sour soup which arrived in a huge bowl for one person. It was definitely worth its money.
The crispy beef was a little bland and I didn't find mush crisp in them at all.
The highlight was the smoked tea duck, when it arrived at our table, it was covered in the glass cover to capture the smoke inside. The reveal of the duck is impressive. This was one of the best smoked tea duck I have had in an Asian restaurant.
The chinese broccoli was a little over done, and the pipa tofu was not bad.
We found the meals to all be on the oily side. All the cutlery, and plates were nice ceramic. I thought the tea pots were slightly small, after 3 cups of Chinese tea, refills were required. The service was good, the waitresses would come and pour tea for us.
I didn't think there was a need to change plates quite often though. After one course, new sets of plates would be put in front of you, then next minute they would replace with a different set of plates, and replace you with bowls. It is ok when it is not busy, but when it gets busy I am not sure if the staff would cope.
We also had the lobster done in a Chinese Style, there were chunks of lobster meat on the plate, and the chef plated it back up in the shape of a lobster. I would have liked a little bit more noodles at the bottom. The lobster legs weren't cracked so it was rather hard for us to break the shell without the help of a cracker. When we approached one of the staff for a cracker, she came back to our table with a big bowl of prawn crackers. Oops..... it was definitely a bit of a laugh!!
I am not sure about Empress Chinese Restaurant, as I had pretty high expectations. The fitout is modern but the service and systems still need a lot of work. Food was not bad though. It would be interesting to see how this place goes in 6 months time.
Visit Empress Chinese Restaurant - 351 Greenhill Road, Toorak Gardens, SA 5065 - (08) 8333 1789