Monday, 18 May 2009

Martha's Foolish Ginger

Ok ... what a weekend ... an absolute roller coaster of emotions ... and I'm not trying to sound too pat!!

Let me first begin with friday night's repast at Gingerboy!

We crashed the lovely K & M's date night and scored a near window seat under a gigantic hoop of red tassles.

K & M were both flushed from recent sartorial purchases, M with a snazzy modern revision of the dufflecoat and K in a stunning belted shirt dress.

Gingerboy is in one of Melbourne's celebrated laneways - Crossley Street - which runs between the top end of Bourke and Little Bourke Street. It houses not only Gingerboy but Von Haus, De Mille, a snazzy jewellers and a bespoke shirtmaker ... well you get the drift.

I have been wanting to go to Gingerboy for ever so long and was determined to not let anything bring the party down ... a boss' late hour tanty and the annoying 2 seating policy notwithstanding ... although I must say that the latter is really starting to piss me off!!! ... All we asked for was another 5 minutes to decide on the vast array of yummy choices on the menu .. and we got the whole "you realise that we have 2 seatings and that you have to vacate the table ... blah blah blah ... bitch please!!! So if you really want to enjoy the night hassle free .. try and get the later sitting. As we were planning to fit a movie in... this was perfect for us .. and the food comes out at a decent rate.

4 foodies ... all opinionated ... at one table and one menu ... with the clock ticking ... whats needed here is a little organisation and a firm hand on proceedings.

So what we first decided on was how many smalls and mains to have ... I chose the wine .. Gewurtztramminer ... fabulous!!

So for smalls we had:

steamed prawn and ginger dumplings, peanut chilli soy AND crispy chilli salt cuttlefish, lemon and roasted sesame

Let me tell you they don't scrimp on the spicy. If you are not used to South east asian food and are simply not that adventorous as far as your tastebuds are concerned .. do not come here!! Its as simple as that.

The flavours are familiar and authentic but there are accents too subtle to pick of the chef's skillful methods in fusion. The cuttlefish was like every other salt and peper squid variety but minus the sludge of msg and hitting the pallette with a freshness you rarely find in fat frying.

The steamed prawn dumplings tasted like the best prawns were used from the market ... the sort reserved for showpiece dishes rather than being ground into mere filling ... and the chilli peanut sauce was redolent of south east asian hawker food as a whole experience .. I know I'm gushing ... but this was indeed a memorable meal.

grilled wagyu in la-lot leaves, sour chilli vinegar

I thought that the la-lot leaves may have overpowered the wagyu, but you could still taste the sweet meatiness which was enhanced by the herby punch of the asian version of vine leaves. I'm still a big wagyu sceptic .. but I would have loved to have had just one more piece.

crispy pork cheek with asian vinegar salad - this was a special

Didn't really know what to expect with this one but the combination of flavours really worked. The pork cheek was coated in some kind of batter which obviously had some black flakes of something or other that made it look somehwat like a lump of truffle ... the vinegary salad certainly helped to cut some of the porkiness but this was something different and absolutley sccumptious!

We opted for 2 mains and as it turned out, it was sweet sufficiency .. even though I'm sure we could have kept on ordering:

red duck leg curry, shallots, thai basil and coconut cream

WF recommended the duck so I knew that this was going to be my choice. I took one mouthful and I was on the phone txting her my gratitude. Along with Longrain, this is another duck dish to add to an ever growing list ... although the braised duck at Tekka Market in Singers still wears the crown. It was just perfect ... there was just the right amount of the peanuty flavour and the right amount of basil and coconut.

Unfortunately, the chicken had to play second fiddle.
lime and galangal basted baby chicken, peanut tamarind caramel

This was a great dish too ... but I can't wax lyrical about this after the duck. I intend to try the tofu next time ... and let me tell you there is certainly going to be a next time. You should go in a group ... we ended up spending roughly about $50 each for the whole shebang!! They can put a banquet of sorts together for you at about $65 a head .. which is, for a restaurant of this calibre .. pretty good value.

Worried about time and with fairly sated appetites, we skipped dessert and it was choc tops at the Nova to see Samson and Delilah ... and what a downer that was!!!


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