Here on my food blog, I like to share (not to judge nor critic) my experiences about the food and the restaurant. It is just like we go out with friends in a group, enjoy the company, have a good laugh and probably end up talking about the food. Hopefully we always have a good experience. After all, we go out to have a good time, so we should try and enjoy the best of the night, and hopefully not blow a big hole in the pocket!
So please read on if you are interested to know what I think about the places and food we had in Melbourne in the weekend. We went to 3 different places; Friday dinner at Gingerboy, Saturday lunch at Shark Fin House for Yum-Cha and Saturday dinner at The Press Club.
Let me start with Gingerboy. It is located on 27-29 Crossley Street, Melbourne. It is trendy, hip, lots of energy, loud music and very popular. There are two seatings, one at 6pm and the other at 8pm. We booked the first seating. We arrived a bit early. They have a separate cocktail lounge upstairs, so up we went for a drink. I had a Mocktail and it is superb. Refreshing, sweet and quite tangy.
We went back to the restaurant about 6pm and it is already packed with a few tables. The place is cozy, black wall with red threads lining one of the wall like a split red curtain, the other wall is framed with black bamboo and fairy lights hidden behind the bamboo and over the ceilings, almost like stars in a night sky! It is absolutely stunning and yet has a relax, cozy feel to the place. We read the menu, very interesting. Gingerboy define its food as SEA (South East Asian) cuisine meets Melbourne style with a contemporary edge (well, you figure that out yourself). It mentions about hawker food from streets of Hong Kong, Bangkok and Singapore. Both my partner and I are very familiar with SEA cuisines and in particular hawker food of Singapore (quite similar to Malaysia), Bangkok and Hong Kong, so we are naturally very excited and look forward to the food.
We ordered “satay spiced swordfish tataki, coconut cream and pickled cucumber”, “hot and sour banana flower salad with red onion, mint and crispy fish” for starter and “fried baby snapper, roasted chilli dressing and mango salad”, “lime and galangal basted baby chicken, peanut tamarind caramel” for main to share, and finish with “chilli orange sugared banana fritters, mint and baileys ice cream” for dessert. The total price on food alone is $119.50. Ouch! That is expensive for a hawker style food, but I guess you pay for the environment, music and of course, Melbourne style or infusion, whatever you like to call it. 🙂
We are not totally disappointed with the experience. The banana flower salad is flavoursome with heaps of fresh chopped mint, coriander and Vietnamese mint. It is sour enough with fresh lime juice. It reminds me of a typical Nyonya salad dish, called Fish Kerabu. I will see if I can find a recipe to share.
The other dish that we like the most is the basted baby chicken. The peanut tamarind caramel sauce is a bit too sweet for my partner. I mix the sauce with rice so it is not too bad. It, however, has quite a strong “palm sugar” syrupy taste.
The biggest disappointment for us is the baby snapper. This dish is probably Thai inspired, which we had in several occasions when we visit Bangkok. Unfortunately, this dish is too bland and very expensive at $35 for a small fish.
When we vacate our table for the 8pm seating, there is already a huge crowd waiting to be seated. There are smiles and laughter everywhere eagerly waiting to experience the “Gingerboy”.
The next morning, we met my nephew for Yum Cha at Shark Fin House. Needless to say, this place is one of the most popular Yum Cha venues in Melbourne. It is reasonably priced, the food is great and the place is buzzing with lots of Chinese. I feel right at home. 🙂 We ate a lot from Sui Mai to Char Siu Soh (shown in the photo, chinese BBQ pork in pastry toasted with white sesame seeds) and Loh Pak Koh (fried turnip cake), which is my partner’s must have at Yum Cha. We all have our “must have” little dish at Yum Cha. For me, it has to be Char Sui Cheong Fun, which is steamed BBQ pork wrapped in a thin layer of freshly made rice flour roll.
Our choice for Saturday dinner before we go back to Hobart is The Press Club located at 72 Flinders Street, Melbourne. My partner chose this place, which is highly recommended. It is also owned by George Calombaris, one of the 3 judges of the MasterChef Australia program.
The Press Club has two seatings. We booked the first seating because we have tickets to see a Broadway musical, “Wicked” at The Regent Theatre. We arrived on time at 6pm for the door opening. It is a classy restaurant with an open kitchen.
We ordered “Roasted silken tofu, feta crumble, chicken parfait, chocolate and olive oil toast” and “Prawns Saganaki, ravioli of prawn, tomato butter sauce” as starter, and “Slow cooked duck in olive oil, mushrooms, garlic and parsley, Greek kafe and sokolata soil” and “Pork two ways, fillet and belly, stifado of fruit and vegetables, skordalia raviolo” for main.
The food has to be one of the best meals I ever had for a long time. Every details of the food, presentation and unique flavour of the dishes are well executed by the kitchen. The service and hospitality of the restaurant manager, Angie and her staff are excellent and professional, which is hard to find in today’s fine dining restaurant without giving that unwelcoming kind of “attitude” feeling to the guest (if you know what I mean). We feel very welcome and the staff was quite apologetic for our main, which took a bit too long. That is our only disappointment. We did not have the time to sample the dessert as we had to rush to the show.
After the show, we decide to go back to the restaurant to sample the desserts and finish our dining experience at The Press Club in a proper way. The desserts are light and beautifully crafted. We are given a sample of three types of desserts specially selected by the manager. It is truly an unforgettable dining experience. This is one restaurant that I will definitely go back again and highly recommend to anyone that is into good, creative food and hospitality.