Gingerboy, Melbourne CDB

25 May 2011
by Phuoc

I find that whenever I travel there’s always an overwhelming choice of things for me to do and places for me to eat; I tend to jam pack my holidays so that I make the most of my stay there. Don’t get me wrong, I do love holidays where things are unplanned and I get to relax a little. On my last holiday to Melbourne, when I had the greatest dining experience ever, I caught up with an awesome person for dinner. I was spoilt for choices but we decided on Gingerboy; the sister restaurant to Ezard.

The food at Gingerboy focuses on hawker and street food of South-East Asia but given a contemporary twist and presented it in a way that’s suitable for the restaurant setting. Ideally dishes are meant to be shared amongst the table because that’s what it’s like in Asia! We decided tonight to go for the banquet style menu tonight, which allows us to choose 4 starters, a main and 2 sides and a dessert to share, and all for $70 per person; it was good value in our eyes. There were a decent amount of tantalising options on the menu, so it made our choice quite hard.

I started off the night with the rising sun cocktail ($17). A concoction of homemade rhubarb syrup, orange bitters, angostura bitters, pama pomegranate liqueur, Johnny Walker Black and the juice of orange and lemon. A hit of smoke “from the forging of samurai swords” was optional. Being the curious creature that I am, I decided to give it a try. Only to find it was just some flavoured (can’t remember what) smoke cupped above the martini glass to engage the sense of smell as I enjoy my drink. There was a nice balance of tang and sweetness to this cocktail followed by strong alcoholic punch!

Apparently a signature of the restaurant, we had to try the son in law eggs; a traditional Thai starter of deep fried eggs served with chilli jam and Asian herbs. I was instructed by Anh to pop the entire thing into my mouth and to be careful because the yolk explodes as you bite into it. The chilli jam is subtle in terms of the heat department and is slightly sweet and tangy to provide a balance of flavours, typical of Thai cooking. A simple yet exciting dish to start our wonderful meal.

Next up was the steamed Spring Bay scallops with black vinegar and XO sauce. The scallops were cooked perfectly; slightly juicy and sweet at the same time. The sauce used to dress the scallops was mellow and enhanced the natural sweetness of the scallops further.

As soon as I saw “la lot”on the menu I knew we had to order it! Based on the Vietnamese Bò lá lốt (grilled beef in wild betal leaf), the grilled lamb in la lot leaves with coriander and mint relish pays homage to this wonderful dish by putting their own twist to it. There’s something about cooking with la lot (wild betal leaf) that makes meat that extra bit juicer and sweeter, that was all there with this dish.

The last of our starters was the smoked ocean trout tartare which was served with a green chilli mayonnaise on a fried wonton crisp. Melt in your mouth pieces of lightly smoked ocean trout was a textural pleasure combined with the wonton crisp. The chilli mayo was subtle but provided a nice little kick to this dish. Though I’m not too sure where in South-East Asia I’d be able to find a dish like this as I don’t think it would be classified as street food but it doesn’t matter as it was extremely delicious.

For our mains, we chose the fried whole baby snapper with roasted chilli and lime dressing and mango and lychee salad which was filleted at our table by the waitress. What a sight this dish was when it was brought to our table, to see the fish plated upright is a sight you don’t normally see at restaurants. The flesh was succulent and the dressing was bursting with flavour. I loved the balance of flavours and textures of the salad, it was a nice contrast to the soft, succulent and spicy snapper.

The sides we chose to accompany the snapper were crispy fried corn cakes and creamed coconut rice. The rice is a creamy concoction similar to porridge/congee and lends beautiful fragrance and flavour to our meal. Whilst the corn cakes were wonderfully moreish; they were crispy on the outside, soft on the inside and packed with corn kernels.

Being lovers of a fiery kick, we ordered the spiced mango crumble with chilli which was topped with dried strawberries and toasted coconut ice cream. The first thing we noticed about this dessert was the intense sweetness the mangoes provided to this crumble which was offset by the tart dried strawberries and the crumble mixture featured black sesame seeds which provided a nice nutty flavour. After a few more bites, the chilli started to kick in.. They weren’t playing around with the addition of the chilli in this crumble, it was hot and unexpected in a dessert because you’d think that the flavour would be subtle. The addition of the toasted coconut ice cream became our saviour as it provided a much needed cooling affect to combat the temperature and spiciness of the crumble.

Overall it was a lovely dessert despite the initial shock of how chilli the dessert was but the flavours were well balance and complimented each other nicely. I’d order it again!

So for $70 a head we were completely stuffed! Our evening was made pleasant with good food and polite and helpful staff. Make sure you make a booking because the place fills up pretty quickly, even for a weekday.


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22 Comments

  1. joey@FoodiePop

    Dined here five years ago and it was excellent; good to see it’s still top notch!

  2. Jacq

    The son-in-law eggs look delicious! Mango and chilli sounds like an interesting combination in a dessert, I wouldn’t have thought they’d make it so hot either.

  3. Susan

    That’s a great price for all that delicious food!

  4. MissPiggy

    I’m so bummed that we couldn’t get into Gingerboy on our last trip to Melbs…totally booked out! The Boy & I have decided we’re going back for an eating feast soon and this place is on my list. I want to try betal leaves – looks good. Would you get more mains with the banquet if there were more people?

  5. chocolatesuze

    i cant handle chilli but oh man how i want to try that crumble!

  6. Peter G @ Souvlaki For The Soul

    I’m loving the dishes you ate! And what great value…how I miss my home town!

  7. Erwin@TheLearnerChef

    Bo la lot!!! my favourite!!! My friend was talking about this place the other day…gotta try it!

  8. chopinandmysaucepan

    You’re right about the smoked ocean trout tartare as I would be sceptical too if I found that somewhere on the streets in Asia.

    What’s that wiry thing on top of the green chilli mayo??

  9. Phuoc

    Joey: Good to know you enjoyed it here as well!

    Jacq: The combination isn’t that bad actually, it was just very surprising how chilli it was but thankfully it was all balanced out..

    Susan: Indeed it is!

    Missy Piggy: I think they’d be able to let you choose more than 1 main if you were to go with 4 or more people; I’m assuming though.. Well I hope you get to try it on your next Melbourne feasting holiday. take me with you!

    Chocolatesuze: I wonder if they’d be able to make the crumble without chilli if you’ve requested it.

    Peter: The dishes we had were pretty much a representation of all the entire menu, there were so many good choices! Nothing beats a tasty bargain :)

    Erwin: Well…. Time to get a move along and try it out hey? :) Bo la lot is the best!

    Chopinandmysaucepan: From memory, the thing on top of the green chilli mayo was fried saffron.

  10. anh@anhsfoodblog.com

    oh ha, who is that awesome person? ;)

    Seriously you should get into more serious food writing! I couldn’t remember what we had exactly already and you could describe it so well!!!

  11. Martyna (Wholesome Cook)

    The lamb la lot sounds divine! And the whole banquet style menu is definitely the go – what great value!

  12. nic@diningwithastud

    The fish does look quite scary. There’s a place in Hurstville that serves it like that and we saw people at another table order it, the looks on their faces when it arrived was hilarious lol.

  13. Sara @ Belly Rumbles

    What a feast. Not sure I could fit a whole egg in my mouth, hope they were small ones?

  14. Phuoc

    Anh: HAHA Yeah I wonder who that person was… :p Thanks Anh! I think I should leave that to the professionals though.. I just have a good memory :p

    Martyna: I’d say so too, that banquet allowed us to get a good taste of the menu and was quite filling.

    Nic: I could imagine! It does look a little creepy like they doesn’t it?

    Sara: No, they were the regular-sized eggs.. But it’s the only way otherwise you’ll just waste precious runny egg yolk goodness

  15. muppy

    i am in love with chilli jam at the moment but i could not say no to those scallops. I’d also love to try that dessert, sounds bizarre but i’m sure it could work.

  16. Erwin@TheLearnerChef

    I took your advice, was in the city on Wednesday night after taking photos for an event and I happened to be in the area so took the chance to see if I could get a seat @ Gingerboy. No seats downstairs but there was room upstairs at the bar where you can still order from the full menu. Tried the Lamb in la lot leaves (just as I imagined them), had a few other dishes but i’ll share them next time.

  17. Dolly

    omg the eggg… arhhhh im so envious.. egg is the cheapest dish but the most loveliest..

    egg porn .. win win..

    i’d really want to try that Phuoc! wonder when i’ll go to melb :(

    x

  18. Jenny

    I was here on the weekend, it’s always so good. The son in law eggs are the best, and such a good giggle! Next time, you should try the cocktail with the chili vodka, it’s amazing!

  19. mademoiselle délicieuse

    That dessert has me interested! Having only ever had chilli chocolate and read about chilli-infused vanilla ice-cream, you’ve got me wondering how fiery things can get…

  20. Forager @ The Gourmet Forager

    Ooh – saw some shots of the son in law eggs elsewhere & they had me drooling. Looks like a great place & $70pp is great value!

  21. Raff (Ramen Raff)

    The grilled lamb in la lot leaves with coriander looks and sounds very delish!

  22. Phuoc

    Muppy: It does indeed sound a little odd but everything works perfectly with one another, so if you can take the heat of chilli then this is certainly a dessert for you.

    Erwin: That’s brilliant! How good were the lamb la lot?!

    Dolly: Eggs.. Is there something it can’t do?

    Jenny: That cocktail does sound intriguing..

    Mademoiselle délicieuse: Ummm think Lindt chilli dark choc times five! It does pack a punch but is soothed with the coconut ice cream YUM!

    Forager: I love a good bargain especially if it’s at a hatted restaurant :)

    Raff: Oh man.. I’d so can do with another serving of that just about now..

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