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Lunch review: Hanuman’s bento box


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Hanuman restaurateur Jimmy Shu’s talent for combining cultures and flavours throughout his menu is winning many fans in Adelaide.

The restaurant, which opened only this year on the ground floor of the Chifley Hotel on South Terrace, was recently named Best Asian Restaurant in the Restaurant and Catering Association (SA) Awards.

Hanuman’s opulent wooden interior doesn’t suggest a place where you would find an affordable lunch option, but this month it added a reasonably priced bento box to its menu – for lunch, takeaway or dine in.

The bento box is a kind of daily rotating tasting plate with vegetarian and meat options. Each plate costs $14.50 and incorporates dishes from the Hanuman menu, plus a fresh mixed salad of cucumber, cherry tomatoes, mint, lettuce, capsicum and onion; sauce options of raita, mango chutney or lime pickle; jasmine rice and a glass of soft drink.

Vegetable favourites: Hanuman has a range of wholesome vegetarian dishes stemming from Indian traditions. One of those included in the bento box options is eggplant pachadi – a sweet, fragrant dish with roasted eggplant soaked in spicy tomato and onion sauce, flavoured with tamarind. It is one of those unforgettable flavours you may dream about for weeks after you’ve tried it. It is also dairy/gluten-free and vegetarian.

Another must-try tasty vegetarian option is the kofta curry – fried vegetable dumplings cooked in cashew and tomato sauce with fresh fenugreek leaf.

Meat dishes: If you’ve travelled to Asia and India and are longing for the day you can taste a similar authentic curry or a meat dish here, then your odds are pretty good at Hanuman. Included in the bento box are classics such as beef masaman (an aromatic Thai beef curry with potato, ginger, nutmeg tamarind and peanut), and pork belly – Teochew Chinese style (soft and succulent pork belly, redolent with cinnamon and star anise).

Other options: Looking at the main Hanuman menu, popular items include the soft-shelled crab ($16.50) served with a Thai-style sauce with ginger lime and chilli, and the butter chicken ($29), a silky chicken cashew and tomato curry, infused with cardamom and cumin and rose petals.

Desserts: The mixture of Asian flavours continues with a cute little food story from Sri Lanka. The Sri Lankan love cake is a delicious traditional festive cake, which was said to be suitable for posting to a loved one due to the preserving qualities of the honey inside. The Hanuman version is served with toasted ginger crumble and vanilla ice-cream ($12).

A favourite at the restaurant’s stall in the Garden of Earthly Delights during Fringe was Hanuman’s take on crème brûlée/rice pudding – a black rice brûlée featuring pandan-infused black rice cooked with coconut and topped with caramelised custard ($12).

Chifley Hotel, 226 South Terrace, Adelaide
Ph 8359 3500

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