Cornered on Commonwealth and Hunt Street, this spicy temple of all things asian, wine and cocktails has been a favourite of near and far for over a decade. The restaurants had recently expanded over two levels to include Shortgrain Bar – a waiting spot for those desperately trying to get a seat upstairs and a lunch canteen during the day. But this is more than just a waiting room, it is a dark lit, bustling bar serving amazing cocktails including exquisite expresso martinis and Caipiroskas, their signature cocktail. To keep the hunger at bay they offer a variety of entrée style dishes such as salt and pepper cuttle fish and fried chicken wings with sweet chilli and lime.
Once your wait it is over you will be ushered up the impressive stair case into the main restaurant, once a warehouse but now a sleek, modern space made up of an impressive wine and cocktail bar and a number of long communal tables. The set up itself reflects the food’s philosophy – Asian banquets menu filled with varying textures and flavours from sweet, salty, sour and hot. The staff here are professionals and will able to design the perfect assembly of meals based on personal tastes and complimenting flavours – as well as the most suitable wine or cocktail to accompany, which of course, is of equal importance when celebrating a blog birthday.
It is imperative you start with the Betel leaf which is filled with trout, mint, green papaya and a chilli peanut relish. This little dish is packed with refreshing flavours and good inspiration for what to order next. The other highlights of the meal included the steamed pork belly with szechuan pepper pepper and Crispy skin duck lathered in a sweet fish sauce with fried eschalots, garlic, chill tumbled on top. To accompany, I recommend the fried rice, it is carefully curated, lacking any of those impurities so often found in.
The Bitter: You need to dine in big groups to experience it properly
The Sweet: That melt in your mouth pork belly – which I am sure has added some width to my own pork belly
The Damage: It will cost you a pretty penny, but you will leave full of food and beautiful booze (a cocktail or two and some wine) for around $100 a head.