because I can't cook
Ants Bistro in the Melbourne CBD.
|Address||9 Corrs Lane
Tue-Fri, Sun 11.30am-10.30pm
|Visited||23 November 2010
With limited knowledge of what Ants Bistro was all about (other than the really general 'they had good food'), I dined at Ants Bistro. Located in Chinatown, from the outside Ants Bistro appeared very much similar to other typical, non-upscale Chinese restaurants but from the inside, Ants Bistro looked... yeah, okay, so it still looked similar to your typical, non-high end Chinese restaurants. Only this time, it was pretty apparent that they tried to 'dress' better, giving me mixed feelings about them. There was a quite fancy, big, white lamp in the middle of the restaurant that matched well with their clean, white tablecloths and I also loved the aquarium they placed by the entrance, giving me that relaxed feelings. However, when I looked at the rest of the restaurant, it made me feel as if there were small renovations in progress; the stacked wooden chairs on the corner, visible pipes all over their unpainted walls, electricity switchboard look-a-like and other household items that were also unnecessarily visible... it looked very cluttered and unappealing.
Then we were handed the menu by their staff. Judging the book (or more like, the menu) by its cover I was expecting their meal prices to be much lower than listed as the menu looked rough and torn like that of a cheap, street restaurant. But anyway, the promise of 'good food' was yet to be fulfilled so we went through the menu and ordered Pungent Beef (beef covered in chilli and pepper pungent sauce, claimed to be the hottest dish at the restaurant) and Spicy Fried Duck (served with plum sauce), except that none was ordered spicy, and also some rice. The beef, served in a hot pot, was good but not impressively flavourful but perhaps it might have been if it was spicy. The duck, on the other hand, was one of the most delicious ones I had ever tried; it was very crispy but not too fatty, so it was just perfect for me.
The service at Ants Bistro was satisfactory; their staff were quiet/not chatty and were the kind who would simply did their main duties. Not that I was complaining because afterall, our dishes were delivered quickly that night. But then again, it also happened not to be busy that Tuesday night (so I would not know what service would be like if it was busy) despite my friend's claim that Ants Bistro was always packed even on weekdays so we did have a booking prior to our visit.
Overall, dining at Ants Bistro was not bad at all for a rather quick Tuesday night dinner. On weekend nights, though, I personally would opt to dine elsewhere, somewhere with more... enticement.