THE capsicum with my Szechuan fish was so fresh I’m sure other diners could hear the crunch as I bit into it, but a quick glance showed they were too busy hoeing into their own lunch to care.
Vivisen Teahouse is a family run eatery with a focus on recipes from southern China, handed down through generations.
“Nobody else has them,” manager Fraddy Edi says.
Breaking down the perception that Chinese food is fast and cheap is core to Vivisen, Mr Edi says, and using fresh produce sourced locally is central.
“We go to Chinese restaurants and you can tell straight away the ingredients used.”
Cheaper lunch specials might be available elsewhere, but my generous serve of fish, with rice was a very reasonable $17.80. And the freshness of the perfectly cooked ingredients shone through.
Also a feature at Vivisen is the goji berry tea ($4) a sweet and spicy serve of healthiness.
“The owner used to be a Chinese medical practitioner,” Mr Edi says.
Our party of five kicked off with entrees, including chicken sate, duck spring rolls, scallion pancakes, and a spicy cucumber salad, which were all around $8.
D’Angerous Dave went for the hot and sour soup ($7.80) which he found too salty and the soft tofu too gelatinous, but many at the table disagreed.
When it came to mains we thought about sharing but in the end most ordered from the lunch specials.
The Malay curry ($12.80) got a big thumbs up for its rich coconut sauce, and tender chicken which almost fell off the bone.
The Szechuan chicken ($14.80) was similarly tender with a hot and spicy zing, as was the vegetarian laksa ($11.80)
One of our party was keen on the spicy sambal fried rice, but, warned it was high on the chilli Richter scale (or to use the correct term Scoville scale) she opted for a tamer version ($15.80), with sambal on the side: “It was nice, but the sambal was too thick, and it needed more liquid,” she opined.
The eatery’s menu is extensive, with a great range of vegetarian and vegan options.
by JENNY D’ANGER
15 Point Street, Fremantle
open Tues-Sun 11.30am-2.30pm & 5-9.30pm