Seasons Chinese Restaurant, Berwick

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There used to be a pretty bad Chinese restaurant just around the corner from my house. The food there was really bland, and the restaurant interior really needed a facelift, and it was just really bad quality Chinese food. That restaurant was the “old” Seasons Chinese Restaurant.

Just a few weeks ago, Seasons re-opened under its new management. The interior finally got its facelift it deserved, and they actually hired a chef that CAN cook Chinese food. In fact, the chef is Malaysian Chinese (we rock!) so that is even better. It has been a long time since I’ve had Chinese takeaway on a non-cooking night, simply because there are NO decent Chinese restaurants near my place! Finally, finally, finally… the “new” Seasons Chinese Restaurant is almost like an answer to an unprayed prayer, lol.

Crispy Soft Shell Crabs

Over the weekend, hubby and I and a couple of our friends went and had lunch there. The restaurant was empty! It was a Saturday afternoon and the restaurant was empty… I don’t think a lot of people in area have realised that the restaurant has re-opened and now offers decent food. I’m sure business will pick up eventually as soon as they have a chance to do some marketing in the area to let people know!

Being the only customers in the restaurant meant that we got our food super quick and I even got the chance to speak to and get to know the friendly and humble owner. I really didn’t mind at all that we were the only customers there, just meant my son Micah can fuss as much as he wants, but he was being the perfect well-behaved toddler so that didn’t matter. After a while, another family came in to have lunch there so we weren’t the only customers anymore.

We started with a serve of Crispy Soft Shell Crabs to share, it was delightfully light and fluffy and had a nice surprise layer of sticky batter just underneath the crispy layer, which added a nice variance in texture. It was yummy! (After our little outing, I got takeaway from Seasons twice and both times I have re-ordered these Soft Shell Crabs to have all to myself hehe)

San Choy Bow

Next we had the San Choy Bow, a true classic! I love the simplicity of this dish (a simple meat stirfry wrapped in lettuce? Genius!) and love the flavours in this dish. Love the mushrooms, spring onion, sweet and salty stirfried minced meat. It was absolutely delightful, and yes I re-ordered this for one of my takeaway nights to have again, all to myself!

Very Chef’s Special Malaysian Coconut Butter King Prawns

Moving onto our mains, this next dish absolutely blew me away. It was so dangerously good and reminded me so much of a typical prawn dish we would order at a dinner banquet back in Malaysia. I used the words “dangerously good” because the fact that this is so readily available just two minutes from my house just means I would spend way too much money and indulge way too often for my own good, hehe. I love, love, love the crumbly bits that form the “coconut butter” flavours of this dish, and the prawns were so perfectly cooked that afternoon – so fresh and well cooked.

Unfortunately, getting this dish later that week as takeaway just didn’t do it justice. By the time those prawns made it to my dinner table they have gone all soggy from being trapped in a food container and just wasn’t the same as when they were freshly cooked and served. So, my tip to others would be to only save this dish for dining in the restaurant, not takeaway.

Chinese BBQ Pork and Roasted Duck

Here’s another dangerously good dish, arrgghhh I am SO going to get fatter than I already am! You all know how much I love my roast duck, so again, having convenient access to delicious crispy skinned duck is just too dangerous! The BBQ pork was really good too, not dry at all like most BBQ pork can be. The meat is tender and juicy, and sliced a little bit think to retain its moisture. Perfect to have with steamed rice.

Chicken Hor Fun (Wet)

Finally, the incredible Hor Fun. This dish caused a little bit of upset for me during one of my takeaway nights. The photo you see is the ACTUAL Chicken Hor Fun we had during lunch in the restaurant the first time I went back. It was spectacular. The chicken was pre-fried so it had a delicious fried batter around it. The simple, leafy vegetables were all I needed, it was perfect that way. I did NOT want typical Aussie vegetables in this Hor Fun aka broccoli, carrots, etc.. they are too boring and do not add any value to this dish. The flat noodles were beautifully separated from each other and cooked perfectly. I AM SO IN LOVE with this photo version of this dish. Call it First Love?

Now that I’ve had THAT version of the Hor Fun, I ordered it again as takeaway a few nights later. Firstly, they got my order wrong, they gave me the Dry version instead of the Wet version. No dramas, simple mistake. The website menu is a little bit confusing because they were described as “Fried Hor Fun (Dry)” and “Fried Hor Fun (Wet)”. I checked my Invoice and I definitely ordered the right thing. So the staff could’ve just overlooked the brackets and just assumed “Fried” was Dry.

No dramas, I rang them up and they were very nice and said a replacement on the house will be there in 10 minutes. See, no dramas at all. My Wet Hor Fun finally arrived… disappointed again. The chicken wasn’t the same. It hasn’t been pre-fried and it was just chicken! It was boring and bland. AND they used boring Aussie veggies! WHY is there broccoli, mushrooms, carrots, etc in my Hor Fun? What happened to the leafy Chinese Pak Choy or Bok Choy or whatever it was in my original version of Hor Fun? I was really sad… but I didn’t want to cause extra drama. The memory of my “First Love” keeps me hopeful that someday I may be able to go back and dine in and experience the same Hor Fun again. Lucky I have a good photo to drool over!!!

So basically, it is SO wonderful that Seasons are now the New and Improved Chinese restaurant. However, there is room for more improvement. As an example, I will never, ever again order any noodle dishes as takeaway. Their noodle dishes are so common, like any typical Aussie Chinese Noodle Box takeaway place and is sadly not restaurant quality in my opinion. They need a little bit more “oomph” in the flavours of their noodle dishes… sorry if I’m being harsh! I will also avoid ordering food that may get soggy as they get transported and just save those for dining in e.g. the amazing Coconut Butter King Prawns, yummm!

I will, however, order the Roast Duck and BBQ Pork any night as takeaway. They are fantastic, reliable, travels well and it is easy enough for me to cook a pot of rice at home to go with it. The San Choy Bow also travels well and make an excellent takeaway option.

I will have to try several other dishes the next time I dine in so I can make up my mind about them too!

I also have to mention that on weeknights, you are almost guaranteed a quick delivery of your takeaway. It is SO easy to order online (they are affiliated with Menulog), pay online, and you get 25% off your first order, and FREE delivery in the local area, and your 8th meal is also FREE! I am definitely going to be a regular.

EDIT 20/11/2012: We recently went back to Seasons to try out the new For a Limited Time Only Special the Chilli Mud Crab!! I was so excited because I couldn’t believe I was going to get a Mud Crab fix so close to home.. in Berwick! Usually we’d have to go all the way to Port Melbourne or Hawthorn for our mud crab fix at Omah’s… which is a fair distance away which makes it inconvenient especially when you have a young bub. So for Seasons my local Chinese restaurant to offer Mud Crab, even just for a limited time, is like an opportunity not to be missed!!

We were very happy with the Chilli Mud Crab. The sauce was absolutely delicious and full of flavour. The crab was pre-fried coated in flour so it absorbs the sauce better and makes it that little bit tastier. Yes, pre-frying does tend to overcook the crab but I personally did not care. It was also a decent sized crab!! We sometimes felt a bit ripped off when the mud crab is not as big as it should be.. but these babies were huge and fresh and it was just a delightful treat.. or should I say feast!

We also had the Salted Egg Yolk Mud Crab which was equally as delicious as the Chilli! The sauce is obviously very different to the Chilli, so it’s really like comparing Apples and Oranges, but it was full of flavour yet again and the overall experience of us indulging in these crabs was just worth every cent. Yes, we ended up paying $40 for each of these crabs.. which was not cheap, but how often do we get to enjoy this anyway… can’t wait to go back to Malaysia in less than 2 months – I can have all the seafood aka giant prawns, giant crabs, giant lobsters etc CHEAP!!

It is a shame the mud crab is only available for a limited time.. but in a way, I am thankful for the sake of my pocket lol. If the mud crab was available ALL the time just 2 mins away from my home, we would go broke just by over indulging in crab!!!

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