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Modern Asian Restaurants: Cookie

Upstairs on Swanston St, Cookie has been on my list for a while as it’s never been too far away. I was almost turned off from going there merely from a rude waiter on the phone, who snapped that he’s full on Friday night and doesn’t have any room.

However on the Friday, it seemed some online booking spots became free so I snapped one up and crossed my fingers that our service wouldn’t be as rude. Luckily, we were served by a lovely young lady and seated after a few minutes, as it was a bustling Friday night. Due to this though, the bar and restaurant was packed and the atmosphere was very much…LOUD.

It’s very dark but the dining tables are lit up with a single candle, providing romantic and dim lighting. The menu is a reasonable size, but I feel their drinks list is even longer. One of the first dishes we ordered was the sour pork belly salad with ginger, peanuts & curried rice balls ($21.50, bottom left).

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I think the pork was inside the rice balls, not separate (correct me if wrong). Either way, the idea is to break up the rice balls and mix everything together in order to enjoy the salad (end result below). The texture is similar to minced meat, it was different and had light flavours, the curry not really that strong, but this seemed suitable for a salad.

Next up we had the steamed mussels with lemongrass, kaffir lime, ginger, coriander & chilli ($19.50 for half a kilo, bottom right). I think this was our favourite dish, all the seasoning and extra condiments ensured that the mussels kept us coming back for more. The extensive list of ingredients make it sound like it will be extremely rich and exotic, however I think they use small amounts of everything, allowing subtle flavours rather than the bold use of coriander, lime and chilli at Chin Chin.

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On a side note, after perusing a long and overwhelming drinks list, I went for a lychee lemongrass martini ($19, above, right) as I always enjoy the taste of lychee juice. It pretty much tasted like a classic martini infused with lychee, with some lychees in there too. You can browse through their cocktail list here, and see that you can even choose your own flavours for a frozen daiquiri.

Lastly, we ordered the pork spare ribs marinated with roasted chilli & soy ($23.50, below). They were chilli but not overbearingly so. The sauce merely tasted like your regular Asian chilli sauce, and I don’t feel like it went well with the ribs so I ate the ribs on its own. They were quite crispy and a good degree of salty, merely messy to eat in such a fancy atmosphere! And the serving was humungous, granted we did order the mussels and the ribs from the “Large Dishes” menu.

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As usual, the waitress was amazed at how much we ordered and even more amazed when she returned at the end and not a speck was left. I enjoyed the service quite a lot, as the dining area isn’t that large, it feels more intimate and like you are receiving more attention. Even though it was a Friday night, they were quite prompt and helpful at recommending dishes and the best way to enjoy them. However, a small note, they did recommend roti to enjoy with our dishes, although I don’t really feel it fit anywhere. It was a bit plain/soggy, so I would go with rice next time.

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The dessert dishes didn’t really appeal to me and I thought we should instead save our stomachs for a trip to N2 Extreme Gelato. Thus, instead of surprising the waitress even more, we received our bill in a very cute Peter Pan book. For some reason I enjoyed this immensely, as the book was still intact, and flipping through reminded me of childhood days on a very carefree Friday night!

Cookie is located First Floor/252 Swanston Street (same building as Rooftop Bar), and is open 12pm – 1am Sun-Thu and 12pm – 3am Fri-Sat. Find the menu here.

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