With Melbourne’s crazy and unpredictable weather, I still haven’t managed to start Mission #2. Although what have I been eyeing? Well the Hideaway pop up at QV for one – it’s curated by Melbourne Spring Fashion Week and includes some special events and workshops, whilst acting as a cafe (Milky Joe) during the day. That was my go-to coffee back in my interning days!
Located in QV square, it’s got a lovely garden feel for spring but it is also housed inside a little hub, so not too weather dependent (although they were closed on that extremely windy day)! Unfortunately, with cafe trading hours, it’s hard for me to make it down after work, so I resorted for a nice dinner featuring the cuisine I often go for – modern Asian.
Gingerboy has been one of those, “Should I, shouldn’t I go?” places on my list and as usual my fear is just that it won’t live up to Chin Chin or Red Spice Road. But in search of a nice early dinner, I thought we might as well give it a try.
The decor is nothing special, full of karaoke room-like lights, but service is swift and informative, offering to put our coats away and explaining the idea behind the cuisine. We debated over the option of a banquet for $80 pp as our meal was getting close to $160, however we also wanted the special that night, which could not be included in a banquet.
Thus we stuck with our order-off-the-menu approach and did not regret it. Dishes like the above are usually quite lost on me – it just looks like some plain meat with a little sauce.
However this soy cured ocean trout, turmeric coconut dressing, daikon and glass noodle salad ($18), was surprisingly addictive. The sauce and glass noodles were just enough to compliment the dish and not leave it too plain, but the trout itself was cooked lightly and beautifully.
Meanwhile, the reason for our non-banquet dinner was because they announced their soft shell crab special ($26) and we were immediately ready to order it.
It was a decent serve for two people and I hate when there is only a little sauce on the side, but the space on the plate was utilised well. Meanwhile the crab was delicious, a crunchy and fried guilty pleasure, with a decent amount of salad to eat it with.
We also ordered the chicken and okra curry puffs ($15), as I’m a big puff fan. I think they were great because they didn’t hold back on the spice, so they were not only steaming hot, but bursting parcels of flavour.
Both driving, we ordered the two mocktails on the menu for $10 each. I almost ordered the apple and cucumber, as the waitress said she liked it more, but lucky I didn’t – the cucumber was a bit overpowering.
The passionfruit, orange juice and citrus mixture worked much better for me and I had to resist downing it all at once. My friend doesn’t like passionfruit but enjoyed it too!
For our mains, we were eager for the braised pork belly in rendang curry ($38.50), but would have preferred if it wasn’t in curry. When we received it, the curry was very light so not a big deal. It’s no Red Spice Road but it was more filling than expected.
There was not much wrong with it, it’s just that I prefer that melt in your mouth feeling of other styles of pork belly and the curry sauce was nothing different or exciting.
Last of all we had the lime and galangal basted baby chicken with peanut tamarind caramel ($37.50). Again, the sauce was hardly present but I appreciated the serve and sides, whilst the chicken was also cooked well. I think my visit to Longrain made me a bit worried about the serving sizes at these type of restaurants.
In the end, we had no room for dessert, so it’s lucky we didn’t go for the banquet, which would have included another small dish and a dessert platter. A few years ago I might have managed it, but not that night! I’m glad I made the decision to try Gingerboy as the food left me satisfied. The mains were not outstanding, if anything, I probably enjoyed the small dishes more, and if you arrive early you get plenty of the wait staff’s attention.
Gingerboy is located at 27-29 Crossley St and is open 12-2.30pm weekdays and 5.30pm-late Mon-Sat. Find their menu here.
Watch out for my Mission #2: Outdoors adventures starting soon!!