Another meal, another blog and yet another occasion where I feel blessed for the invention of photo editing suites and ashamed to be posting yet more sub-standard photos to this blog. So, no more, never again, I’m through, we’re done. Here I make a Moonraker Morsel promise that if they don’t make the grade in future, I don’t include them.
Maybe it’s a ploy to disrupt us bloggers, but lighting in many cafés, bars and restaurants is not exactly conducive to good photography, and Red Ant more so than most. I will not lie, those that follow have had some serious touching up to make them even passable.
Red Ant is the latest offering from Mosquito, a Vietnamese neighbour in the Born and here they specialise in noodles and accompaniments. In order to be able to sample as much as possible without bursting at the seam, my dining comrade and I often go for a selection of side orders, the tapas influence never too far away.
My knowledge of far Eastern cuisine is up there with my photography skills (or should that be down there?) so steamed bread is something I’ve never had the good fortune to try. Here it was filled with belly pork, a sliver of spring onion, cucumber and an ooze of sweet sticky sauce. Lovely and light, I could’ve eaten three.
Steamed pork bun with pork belly
The only main dish we opted for were the spring onion ginger noodles, again with belly pork. Unlike many, pork is one of my favourite meats, which is lucky as it featured in nearly every dish we chose. The noodles had a depth of flavour unlike plain wheat noodles but the whole dish was so uneventful I’ve almost forgotten eating it. Decent, filling, memory gone once digested.
Spring onion ginger noodles with belly pork
Bok choi, or pak choi as I know it better, has such a rainwater taste and a simultaenous softness and crunch that I love. Drenched in an oyster sauce with sesame, a plate full of that alone would’ve more than made me happy.
Bok choi with vegetarian oyster sauce
Yet, that Bok Choi and the Mapo tofu wrap would be my stand out choices on a second visit. A steaming bowl of pork, tofu and rice in an, let’s be honest, oily, fiery sauce to be made into wraps with crisp lettuce was both fun, messy and delicious. Slurping the oil and juices back up your arm as they dribble from their leafy home may not be sophisticated or dignified but it sure was enjoyable.
Mapo tofu wrap
I can often pass on dessert, but comrade in knives and forks would never hear of it, and neither would I when I read chocolate + ginger on the menu. Second only to chocolate + hazelnut in my world. Tongue tingling ginger, airy yet rich mousse and forceful dark chocolate flavour made this a potent pot of pleasure.
Chocolate ginger mousse
After my dreadful green tea dessert at Udon I had to give it another whirl with Red Ant’s green tea yogurt crumble. Green tea has a lovely floral flavour and the crumble was a good contrast with the yogurt texture but the sourness of the yogurt just didn’t compliment the green tea, or vice versa. So I’m still waiting to be wowed by this eastern ingredient in a dessert. Any suggestions where I might find that?
Green tea yogurt crumble
Red Ant didn’t hit the mark for me with every dish but was excellent value for money and a wonderful, relaxed informal setting (if you can relax without air con) and speedy, friendly service. Vegetarians also have half the menu to themselves. All the above plus 6 glasses of wine presented us with la cuenta of only 35€, leaving me enough for some photography lessons or a teach yourself book.
Red Ant, C/Tiradors 3-5, Born
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