Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Restaurant Review - Yum Sing

Yum Sing
One of the delights in life is finding a Restaurant that serves good food, has good service and does all this at a reasonable cost. Yum Sing is one of these.
Located in the southern Adelaide suburb of Reynella, Yum Sing is an open, simply decorated restaurant that concentrates on what it does best good food. The menu is diverse with the generally accepted Chinese dishes but here the comparison ends. Yum Sing food quality is outstanding with generous serves full of flavour. The drinks menu is diverse and has the more popular range of wines, beers, cocktails and soft drinks. Being two, we decided to try the Banquet for 2 - AUD $46. As soon as we were seated, the friendly waiter served a plate of prawn crackers and took the drinks order which was served quickly. Within five or so minutes the Spring Rolls arrived with accompanying sauce. They were hot, crisp and full of tasty vegetables – in direct contrast to other Spring Rolls I had sampled in other places which often were bland. Next followed Beef Satays, two per person. The sauce was plentiful with the rich flavours complimenting the well prepared tender beef. If this was the standard set so early, I was left anticipating the rest of the banquet. Often in these situations the dishes can accumulate on the table leaving little or no room for the remainder of the courses. Yum Sing did not leave this situation. The attentive waiters quickly removed dishes completed to leave the table free for further courses or to leave time for table talk. Following the Satays was Chicken and Corn soup. The bowls were full and the immediately smell was of the corn. The soup was thick with plentiful corn and chicken throughout. The flavour was fulsome and the balance of corn and chicken was indeed welcome as previous experiences with this dish had not left a positive impression. This was followed by Lemon Chicken, Beef in Black Bean Sauce, Garlic Prawns and a delightful Fried Rice. The Beef in Black Bean Sauce with tender beef complimented with crisp vegetables and a rich Black Bean sauce. The Garlic Prawns were served on a sizzling hot plate and immediately the smell of rich garlic permeated the table. The prawns were of reasonable size and the sauce with crushed garlic and onions was not overpowering but complimented the prawns beautifully. Fried Rice was more than enough for two and showed restraint in the addition of vegetables as had been my experience in many a Chinese Restaurant. The addition of bacon instead of the usual ham pieces added extra flavour. My one disappointment was the Lemon Chicken. The chicken appeared to be like Chicken Nuggets, fleshy pieces of chicken coated in a breadcrumb mixture, deep fried and served with a good lemon sauce that was both sweet and sour! My disappointment was with the chicken pieces not the sauce. After these were devoured and the dishes removed, a dessert of freshly diced Fruit Salad and ice-cream was served. The fruit salad was crisp and very tasty using both seasonal fruits and limited canned products. This was a welcome end to a delightful meal. The Yum Sing is very popular with weekend bookings essential. I can understand why after experiencing good food with value for money and excellent service. It is open 7 days a week for both lunch and dinner. For Adelaideans, this is well worth the travelling.
Take Away service is also available and Yum Sing is licensed. Yum Sing Restaurant 159 Old South Road REYNELLA South Australia 5161 Tel 08 831 2555 (Australian Number – if from overseas add local international dialling codes)
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Monday, March 24, 2008

TV Series Review - The Tudors

The Tudors Series One Film and television industries have had a fascination with history and historical characters. Henry VIII has often been the target with his life story reading almost like a medieval soap opera. He has been portrayed by a myriad of outstanding actors including Keith Michell, Charles Laughton, Richard Burton and more recently Eric Bana in “The Other Boleyn Girl” and Jonathon Rhys Myers in “The Tudors”. The historical Henry, his family life, court life and early political alliances give the background to this series and provide a fodder of material for the scriptwriters. It is a well known story and has the possibility of falling in to the mundane history lesson. But “The Tudors” does not do this. Henry was a mere mortal who had the extra burden of being the King. The personal internal conflicts of Henry found their way into the kingly role with some what more international consequence. His alliances with France, Spain and hence with Rome form the political background against which Henry seeks to annul his marriage with Catharine of Aragon to marry Anne Boleyn. Developing a character across 11 episodes becomes somewhat difficult as many more facets are able to be represented to carry the audiences’ interest. Rhys Myers definitely does this with his portrayal of the brilliant, athletic, scheming and somewhat decadent Henry VIII. He is well supported by a ensemble cast who also show they understand their roles and are able to present insights into this reformational period in time. Maria Doyle Kennedy as the trapped Queen Catharine of Aragon displays regality, torment and often bewilderment with just a look that is to understand what this woman must have gone through. As Anne Boleyn, Natalie Dormer depicts this intellectual yet flirtatious young woman who was to become the match for Henry with finesse. Cardinal Wolsey [Sam Neill] and Charles Brandon 1st Duke of Suffolk [Henry Cavill] are notable in their roles. To hear that Peter O’Toole is to join the cast in the second series as Pope Paul III adds further to the acting depth within this cast. More of the historical background of the era is able to be interwoven into the story line. The recurrence of the Black Death or “The Sweats” in 1498 throughout Tudor England is included in this series providing torment and soul-searching for Henry. This episode 7 provides great dramatic outlet for Rhys Myers who doubts his future and his ability to be King as he sees the plague of as his doing. To me, it is this additional background woven into the already complex story line that makes this series outstanding. Tightly written, well photographed with locations that are filled with magnificent costumes, set pieces and supported by a brilliant score. Again I look forward to adding this to my DVD collection when it is released.

The Tudors

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Book Review - The Appeal

The Appeal By John Grisham Pub: Century, Random House Prolific authors can fall into the trap of formula plots, characters and similar settings. The Appeal has a familiar setting – the court system of Mississippi but that is where the similarity ends. An unexpected verdict against the Krane Chemical Company triggers a series of events that interested in the verdict will experience. Punitive damages of $US38 million and personal compensation of $US3 million to Jeanette Baker for the loss of her husband and son due to illness caused by the chemical pollution of the town’s water supply. Krane’s owner, Carl Trudeau, is convinced that the Court of Appeal in Mississippi will not be supportive of big business and will uphold the lower court’s decision. Thence begins the political intrigue to put in place a very conservative Judge who will vote to reverse the decision. In a system where Judges are not appointed but elected, all is possible … corruption, conspiracy and deceit. Can effective marketing using all aspects of campaigning with a young, inexperienced but manipulated lawyer really place an ally on the bench? In a year where the focus is on the American Presidential Campaigns, one can only wonder whether or not the scenario painted by John Grisham is possible at the very highest of American Government. Using his easy to read style, John Grisham depicts characters that are believable and with whom it is easy to empathise. Jeanette Baker worn down by the emotional trial with its uncertainty, Wes and Mary Grace Payton – the husband and wife legal team who had mortgaged everything to represent Jeanette, Carl Trudeau an arrogant multibillionaire who did not believe in the word “Lose”, Ron Fisk – the young lawyer being manipulated into the race for the judiciary – are all characters that are easily identified with and either liked or hated. The events depicted are realistic and I hope will make the cinema screen at some stage. Grisham’s research into the system is meticulous and shows the detail that he uses to write a successful book. I found it difficult to put down and left me questioning what could happen in an electoral system.

Movie Review - The Other Boleyn Girl

The Other Boleyn Girl Gone are the traditional portly stances of Henry VIII as he pursued the young beauties in his court. Young, virile, athletic, demanding, sensual are adjectives that come to mind when looking at Eric Bana’s portrayal of Henry in The Other Boleyn Girl. Centred around the Boleyn family’s interaction, deception, intrigue and manipulation, The Other Boleyn Girl portrays both Anne [Natalie Portman] and Mary [Scarlett Johansson] as sisters who have their lives inextricably changed when Henry visits their home for a weekend. Amidst the pomp and social events, it has been arranged by Anne’s father [Mark Rylance] and her uncle, Thomas Howard, Duke of Norfolk [David Morrisey] that Anne will be put forward as a mistress for Henry. After a hunting accident, it falls to Anne to care for the King and his focus changes to her leading to animosity between the sisters. Anne bears Henry a daughter but soon falls out of favour with him when she fails to deliver the long sought after male heir. Enter Anne after a period in the French court. Anne is an intellectual match for Henry and soon finds favour with him. When Henry’s divorce from Katherine of Aragon is finalised, including the historical breaking with the Roman Catholic Church, Henry weds Anne and she is crowned Queen of England. She bears Henry a daughter, Elizabeth, but also fails to bear the male heir. The saga continues …. Jane Seymour comes to court …… Justin Chadwick, Director, makes the most of the story with tight scripting that enable the cast to develop believable characters. The luxurious costuming and sets add to the feel of realism supported by an empathetic soundtrack. The overall historical events may have been accurate with the conversations although fictionalised support with believability. The Other Boleyn Girl I thoroughly enjoyed especially with the radical overhaul of Henry. Another DVD to be added to my collection.

Movie Review - Before the Devil Knows You're Dead

Before The Devil Knows You're Dead A jigsaw quite often isn’t complete until all the pieces are in place and the final picture is revealed. “Before the devil knows you’re dead” is just like that. Starring Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Ethan Hawke, Albert Finney and Marissa Tomei in a formidable ensemble cast, “Before the devil knows you’re dead” uses forward and backward time sequences to complete the jigsaw. Andrew Hanson [Phillip Seymour Hoffman] and his brother Hank [Ethan Hawke] hatch a plan to rob their parents’ jewellery store to fund their excessive debt. The well thought out plan goes terribly wrong with both finding themselves in a situation that triggers a series of events that send them, Andy’s wife, Gina,[Marissa Tomei], and their father Charles Hanson [Albert Finney] towards a dramatic and unsuspecting finale. By using the time sequences, Director Sidney Lumet tells the tale with masterful strokes. Different camera angles of the same scene replayed add further to the suspense slowly giving clues to the audience. To dwell on the plot would spoil it for possible viewers - it is a movie to be experienced with out pre-knowledge. Cinematography is brilliant with differing angles, long sweeping shots juxtapositioned with intense close-ups all add to the suspense and the revelationary nature of each scene. This is supported by a brilliant score that does not in anyway over power the plot nor the brilliant acting. This is one movie that will make my DVD collection when it is released.

An Adventure

Well this is the start of an adventure - a blogging adventure. I have heard and have read a few and it is about time to start and develop my own. With fear and trepidation, I set out with just the basic tools - some words in my head, an idea and the assistance of blogger.com. So let's see where this goes.