Magic Mountain Saloon, CBD

Magic Mountain Saloon is a Thai/Australian fusion restaurant in the CBD on Little Collins St. between Exhibition and Spring St. The style of food and atmosphere of the restaurant sort of reminds me of Chin Chins, with the dim lighting and loud music, together with the twist/fusion take on traditional Thai food.

The restaurant is a lot bigger than I expected, with at least three floors of tables and bar areas. As it's quite a popular restaurant, I'd definitely recommend booking ahead of time if you're going, even if it's just in a group of two or three. There's an online booking system on the Magic Mountain website that's really easy to use, and they send you confirmations and reminders via text or email depending on your preferences. We were seated on the third floor in a corner booth, which was good as it was a little more secluded and not as noisy, meaning we didn't have to raise our voices as much as if we were in the open space. The atmosphere at Magic Mountain is very lively, with the loud music playing from the live DJ and the chatter from all the customers.

The menu at Magic Mountain has a great variety of appetisers, salads and mains, and by the looks of it is designed to be shared dishes. Between three of us, we decided on mozzarella balls ($12.50), beef basil cheeks ($26.50), lamb shoulder curry ($23.50), a sweet potato salad ($18.50), roti ($5.50) and red jasmine rice ($4). Though it sounds like quite a lot of food, it was actually just right, as the portions themselves aren't as big. The roti and rice we ordered to go with the dishes was much needed, especially the balance out the heavy flavours, and for dipping into the curry.

The mozzarella balls were made from curried rice and mozzarella, and was served with a coriander and avocado sauce. The dish was slightly spicy and we would've like more cheese in it seeing as it was emphasised as mozzarella, but was still enjoyable. The crispy outer layer contrasted nicely with the soft mixture of the rice and mozzarella, and the slightly sour coriander and avo dip helped balanced it out. For an appetiser this was slightly on the heavier side, given the large portions of the dish.

The beef basil cheeks was served with green beans and radicchio (similar to red cabbage), and was my favourite dish of the night. It was a little on the salty side, however the beef cheeks were extremely tender and melted in your mouth, and you could still taste the natural flavours of the meat even with the strong basil flavours. This dish went really well with the rice, and the crunch from the beans and onion added texture.

The lamb shoulder curry was served with potato and peas, and as we had ordered quite a few other dishes, decided to go with a small. The lamb flavour is quite strong and may be overpowering if you're not a big fan of the meat. We were told upon ordering that this curry was a little spicy, however none of us could taste any heat at all; it was just quite sweet and could've done with a strong curry flavour. The potato and peas were a nice touch to the dish, though overall this was quite average.

The sweet potato salad was served with broccoli, watercress, tofu cream and peanut brittle. It was a refreshing dish that went well with the heavier meaty dishes we'd ordered, and there was a really good combination of textures, from the soft sweet potato to the crunchy fried lotus root. There was only a tiny bit of peanut brittle at the top of the dish and we would've liked a bit more, as you couldn't really taste it at all. The use of tofu cream was an interesting concept, but as tofu itself doesn't have flavour, it didn't really add to the dish at all.

It was a good experience here at Magic Mountain, with friendly and helpful staff. However there was quite a bit of wait for our food to come, and also to get the staff's attention to tell them we were ready to order. I do prefer places where I don't have to raise my voice too much to hear the people next to me, and together with the fact that there wasn't anything particular wow about the food, means I probably won't be visiting again soon.

Ambience: 7/10
Service: 7.5/10
Food: 7.5/10
Price: 7/10

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