South East Asia in Alice Springs
Updated: Sep 6, 2021
When you're in the middle of the country, you kind of expect to find run of the mill dining, cold beer and red dust in literally every crevice and cranny of your body. What you don't expect is five star Asian food by one of the Territory's nicest blokes.
I've had the pleasure of eating at Jimmy Shu's Hanuman in Darwin. I was overjoyed to find a southern post of the same restaurant at the Double Tree by Hilton in Alice Springs. Jimmy is the consummate restaurateur, bon vivant and fierce advocate for fresh NT produce done very well. He is deeply committed to a local economy and ecology when it comes to food.
The menu melds all of south and southeast Asia, and we wanted to make sure we covered as many bases as possible. Prawn pakoras, soft shell crab with tamarind, and a duck salad (hold the pineapple please) were all darn good, as always. No Hanuman experience is complete without Hanuman oysters, alive with tangy, sour and salty flavour.
We followed with chicken chettinad, a spicy Indian style curry and beef massaman, inspired by the aromatic 17th Century Thai staple, loaded with ginger, nutmeg, tamarind and peanuts. A stunning Nasi Goreng gave us our Malay hit while a Gobi Manchurian a Chinese/Indian mix of crisp cauliflower with soy, ginger and black pepper was another winner.
Hanuman in both Alice Springs and Darwin offer a panoply of pan Asian dishes, and there are classics from most corners of the continent here - from Mean Moolie Barramundi, Goanese prawns and Mee Goreng. India, Malaysia and Thailand are the dominant cuisines, but there are nods to Jimmy's early days in Colombo, Sri Lanka.The wine list is equally as diverse with a good offering of beer and cocktails for those who are not of the vinous mind.
There is a tendency for noise and a little organised chaos, which is indicative of dining in Bangkok, Chennai or Kuala Lumpur. It is to be almost expected and part of the ambience.
It's fair to say Jimmy Shu is a legend in the NT, and with TV appearances and his ambassadorship for local produce and quality ingredients, he is known to many as one of Australia's most knowledgeable minds of Asian food, alongside the likes of the inimitable Tony Tan and long time TV cook Elizabeth Chong. Oh, and a lovelier bloke you will never meet.
Hanuman is at Double Tree by Hilton at 82 Barrett Drive, Alice Springs NT
Lunch Mon-Fri from 12.00 noon - 2.30pm. Dinner from 6pm every day.