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Lots of choice at Azian on Barry Downe

Allan McMullan March 1, 2012 Restaurant Reviews No Comments

When I arrived in Sudbury 16 years ago, all Asian cuisine was found at one of the many Chinese food restaurants that existed. These were the type of establishments familiar to all Canadians as just about every town and city in this country boasts at least one.

In the last few years, Sudbury has been the home to an explosion of new and diverse Asian restaurants- Thai, Korean and at last count at least 4 Japanese restaurants.

The Azian Cuisine restaurant puts Japanese, Thai, Vietnamese and Chinese cuisine all under one roof.

Azian Cuisine is an 85 -seat restaurant on Barry Downe Rd. in New Sudbury at the old Nick’s Pier restaurant location.

The interior of the restaurant is done in very modern decor with wide dark brown booths, the floor  is covered with  long rectangular dark grey tiles with blue strands running through them; a free standing glass walled fountain stands at the entrance. In the middle of the room is a private dining area with Japanese paper screen walls. At the front of the dining room is a bar made of small white stone tiles and beyond that a window peering into the kitchen.

The Azian Cuisine menu is extensive and a little daunting, if your unfamiliar with some of the items on the menu. Our waitress reassures us that if we have any questions she can give us explanations. After scanning the menu we decide to try a few small things that sound good, with the idea of trying some things that are unknown and exotic to us.

My wife decided to try the Gekkieken plum wine, a type of Japanese wine made from plums and served over ice.  It reminded her of the aperitif Dubonnet, a sweet fortified wine from France.

For starters we ordered:
-Gyoza pan-fried pork dumplings with ginger soy dipping sauce. (Gyoza was originally a Chinese dish which is now very popular in Japan).
-Yam tempura (deep fried yams in tempura batter)
-Vietnamese spring rolls (deep fried with ground pork filling)

All three were delicious but the best was yet to come.

After our initial dishes, we ordered the house speciality salad, aptly named Azian special salad made with avocado, eggplant, corn, vermicelli noodles, carrot, marinated red cabbage, daikon radish, bean sprout and miso dressing. It was a riot of colours and flavours that was light and fresh. Along with the salad we ordered a superb chicken Pad Thai, a dish traditionally made with stir-fried rice noodles, egg, tamarind, bean sprouts, peanuts and the unusual but tasty fish sauce (a condiment made from fish and salt that has been fermented for a year). Fish sauce doesn’t sound very appealing and doesn’t smell to good right out of the bottle, but its an incredibly delicious ingredient when used in Thai cooking.

Almost full, we remembered our initial promise to try the unknown and exotic. Up until now we had pretty well stuck to what we knew and liked. Too full to eat much more I decided to try at least one more new thing, so I ordered a Vietnamese coffee. Our waitress educated us, she explained that it was something you could have hot or over ice. I decided to try it hot. The coffee was unlike anything I’ve ever had before. Upon a tall slender glass perched a metal device that resembled a stainless steel top hat, in the bottom of the glass was a layer of condensed milk. The waitress explained that the ground coffee and water were in the top and once the coffee had finished dripping into the glass I could remove the metal filter and stir the two together. It was fun to watch as the jet black coffee slowly created a distinct layer above the white milk on the bottom. After some time I was rewarded with a robust but very sweet coffee. There’s few dessert choices so we shared a mango ice cream.

We hope to return soon to try some different items, we especially liked that all the dishes were easy to share and everything came in unique platters or bowls adding to the whole experience. Many of the items were very economically priced and our final bill was much lower than I thought it would be.

Definitely worth checking out especially if you’re with people who may prefer one type of Asian cuisine to another, with a wide variety of each to choose from.

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