614 Dominion Road,
(09) 630 7034
The ViewAuckland Review
4 out of 5
If a bug-zapper unit above the counter and a running leak through the ceiling normally put you off a restaurant, suspend your judgment and give Flavour House a chance.
The leak, apparently, was caused by the Capitol cinema above when we visited this humble Chinese eating house late one weekday evening.
Situated in the Balmoral shops, a veritable Chinatown of similar hole-in-the-wall establishments, Flavour House was full to the brim with customers. Nevertheless, we were soon seated at a plastic-covered tables and inspecting the long menu of north-eastern Chinese cuisine which was drawing in the punters.
Food from that part of the world, where the winters are long and cold, relies heavily on preserved vegetables, offal, and hot spices. Braising—that is long, slow cooking in liquid—is a common cooking method.
This was our second visit, and we went for the hot and sour soup ($6), which had impressed us before. It was a rich, thick broth containing egg, seaweed, tofu, and tiny cubes of fermented pork sausage, which provided the sour element. The hot came mostly from black pepper. We transferred the satisfying soup into our individual dainty blue-and-white bowls with an iron ladle.
Our tender nuggets of stir-fried lamb ($10) were liberally seasoned with cumin and chilli flakes, plus some chopped spring onion. Together, these elements gave the dish a subtly warming flavour, not as hot as the amount of red chilli may have promised.
We had steamed rice ($1 per serving) to accompany the lamb, and weak tea came free. Flavour House is not licensed and has a small selection of soft drinks and packaged teas in a display fridge.
With no-nonsense speedy service and bold-flavoured inexpensive food, this place is bound to become one of our regular stops for a quick meal.
The family-style noodle soup at a neighbouring table looked appealing, but on our last visit, we were disappointed with the dumplings, which had spent too much time in the freezer and were stodgy.
The portions here are generous: be careful not to over-order. But if you’re feeling flush, some of the seafood specials can set you back as much as $25.
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