I’VE always been intrigued by a small, shabby-looking takeaway in Applecross called Pacific Rim Mix Plate.
If the name wasn’t confusing enough (sounds like a research paper on the Earth’s crust), they serve up a fusion of Japanese and Hawaiian food.
Pacific Rim gets really good reviews online so I decided to take the family up there for a Wednesday night feed.
The outside of the eatery has a kitsch charm with cheesy stickers of palm trees and “ALOHA!” stuck to the window.
The inside was pretty basic with a few tables and chairs, and we sat in the corner beside a rote Hawaiian painting and some bamboo screens.
The red cushion on our bench seat was so saggy and soft, I thought I would need a crowbar to prise my buttocks free.
The menu was a one-page laminated job with a collection of fusion dishes like huli huli BBQ spare rib, loco beef and maui fish bites.There was also some regular katsu and teriyaki dishes.
Unfortunately some of the interesting fusion dishes like huli huli BBQ spare rib were only available on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday for some reason, which was a bit disappointing.
You could get each dish P or W: P was a large serve with pasta, tossed salad and steamed rice, and W just came with rice.
You also had to choose a sauce for your dish, and there was a large selection including creamy tarragon, huli huli and spicy pele.
While we waited for our meal, a steady stream of people came in to pick up food and it was clear this was a popular takeaway for locals.
The waitress was soon back with my huge serve of loco katsu chicken with egg and mushroom gravy ($14).
Loco moco is Hawaiian comfort food and the original version has a fried egg perched on top of a burger and a mound of rice with gallons of gravy.
My katsu version was rich and filling; the egg was nice and runny and the mushroom sauce teeming with flavour. The sticky steamed rice was fragrant and the katsu batter not too thick.
The accompanying Hawaiian macaroni salad is another classic island dish, and I enjoyed the subtle mix of apple cider vinegar, onion and grated carrot.
My wife was busy tucking into her maui chicken bites with creamy tarragon sauce ($14).
Maui was originally a festive dish with chicken breast, sweet peppers and mushrooms; simmered in a spicy ginger, garlic and pineapple sauce.
This deep-fried version had succulent chicken and a light batter akin to karaage.
It was delicious and moreish, and the creamy tarragon sauce an interesting twist.
Across the table, the kids were busy demolishing their katsu chicken with huli huli sauce ($14).
It was going down well and I can confirm the sauce was dark and sticky with an intense sweet and sour tang.
We also got some pork gyoza to share ($8 for seven pieces). They were tasty enough, but pretty standard fare.
The huge portions at Pacific Rim are great value and the food is good quality and very quirky.
It’s probably best for a takeaway, and next time I’ll order on a Saturday night and try some of the dishes that aren’t deep-fried.
by STEPHEN POLLOCK
Pacific Rim Mix Plate
755 Canning Highway, Applecross
0430 944 091