Shumpty Eats: Orient at Twin Towns

As with my post yesterday, I find myself reviewing a restaurant I know well here: Orient at Twin Towns.

Since it opened I would probably have eaten at Orient at least 25 times.  On level 1 of the Twin Towns RSL campus on the Queensland / New South Wales border, Orient is wedged down a corrider between an entrance to the main gaming room and another restuarant called Flames.  The first thing that strikes one as you cross the threshold into the restaurant is how busy it is.  The first hint is you generally have to queue for a table.  The second hint is the seamingly constant “ding” of the “order’s up” bell.

The decor is fairly rudimentary and the staff swift to seat you to the point of being abrupt so that once seated you find yourself encased the conversations around you which bounce off the walls with a menu under your nose to peruse.

The menu is basically what you would expect from a Chinese restaurant and, as is my usual practice, I have come to order the same dishes every time I attend.  My standard order is the chicken and sweet corn soup for entree and the sizzling szechaun beef with a side of steamed rice for my main.

The food is excellent: the chicken and sweet corn soup is piping hot and loaded with chicken (often missed in some of your dodgier establishments).  The serving size is just right: more than a taste but not so much so as to not leave enough room for ones main.

The sizzling szechaun beef does come out sizzling and is easily the best dish on the menu with the beef being supple rather the tough “boot leather” one often gets in such a dish and just the right mix of vegetables and spices to give the dish some real bite.

The food, by regular and general consensus, at Orient is nothing short of excellent.  I have never had a bad meal there.  In saying that I know of a number of my friends who often decline to eat there.  The rationale for this position is fairly plain to see and, indeed, was apparant again on my visit there last night.  The service side of the place has clear issues, being:

  • the service, despite getting you to your table swiftly is often not so swift to actually take your order;
  • the order taking of the wait staff often leaves a bit to be desired.  Better put, it is a rare meal when there is not one part of the order that is forgotten.  Tonight, it was an entree order of dim sims;
  • there is no table service for drinks: one has to attend at a bar just inside the front door of the restaurant which often gets quite crowded and can be problematic to get to if you are sitting against the opposing wall of the restaurant; and
  • it is not possible to order enough rice for everyone at the table, rather you have to order individual portions of rice.

If any of these quirks in the dining experience are likely to make your experience less than enjoyable then you either have to decline to attend this establishment or get over it (and to be honest perhaps yourself) because the food is definitely worth it.

A final note, and whilst it is not the test of whether a restaurant is a good one or not it must be said that from the perspective of value for money Orient is very hard to go past.  Tonight a table of seven (all eating an entree and a main) ate for the princely sum of $142.50.  I for one will wear some quirky service for food and value like that presented EVERY time I have dined at Orient.

This is simply a restaurant that should be on the must visit list for anyone coming down to the tweed border.