Vora: restaurant review
A new Gold Coast restaurant takes on Taiwanese dim sum, with mixed results.
Take a seat at a wooden table in Vora, a pan-Asian restaurant specializing in Taiwanese dim sum in the Gold Coast, and you’ll likely have a great view of one of the numerous TVs playing the same slideshow of menu items. Given the rest of the décor—tangles of lightbulbs over the sushi bar, bright green and cream booths, black walls with cutout flower designs—it’s an odd design choice. It’s also a disappointing one. While the photos looked delicious, most of our meal was average at best.
The wide-ranging menu features dim sum, sushi, noodle dishes and entrees, and we worked our way through each section. We started with dim sum, and the shrimp rolls were perfectly crispy and filled with shrimp and veggie filling. Dip the rolls into the sweet, tomato-based sauce served on the side to add a tangy note to the otherwise simple rolls. We also ordered the disappointing braised pork slices, which were overly fatty, with a slimy texture and an acidic flavor from the sauce. The sushi rolls were also uneven. While they were presented beautifully with unagi sauce designs on the plate, the taste did not live up to the presentation. The simple Alaska roll was skimpy on the salmon, the dragon roll was missing the promised cucumbers, and the tempura shrimp was all tempura, no shrimp.
On a recommendation from the server, we ordered the spicy beef soup with noodles. The broth was spicy, but the beef was underseasoned and chewy. The noodles in the soup were also flavorless. However, another noodle dish, the Taiwan shining noodles, was the bright spot in the meal, as the thin, light noodles had an appealing sesame flavor, while the fresh squash and zucchini added texture and color.
While the ba bao rice pudding we ordered for dessert was fine, though not quite sweet enough to call dessert. The black rice was a nice change from white rice typically used in rice puddings and the dried fruit provided some sweetness, but a little more fruit would help balance the dish’s sticky texture.
The owner was attentive, bringing out several complimentary dim sum dishes to make sure we experienced real Taiwanese dim sum. The green tea ice cream featured a delicate matcha flavor, ending the meal on a high note. But that high note sunk when we received the bill. At nearly $100 for lunch, the cost was exorbitant, especially for a meal that promised so much at the outset.