Gingerboy – Sexy Hawker Street Food
We affectionately call ourselves the CHIA club – it has the first letters of all our names, and also happens to be the name of a very cool, very healthy seed that most of us avoid in the interests of bringing you, dear reader, more and more restaurant reviews!! Or…maybe that’s why… we should actually be eating more of it!! Ah well….
Gingerboy was the venue of choice – mainly because iMac and I had attended a Red Duck Curry cooking class recently – and seeing how much work went into it but not being motivated enough to make it ourselves – decided going back to Gingerboy was the only way we were going to get more!! At the duck class – we had also managed to sneak a look at the new menu – and were gobsmacked by the gorgeous listing of new starters. There was really no hope for us… we were hooked…
So it was on Thursday night that we, the CHIA club, known for its raucous, table thumping conviviality convened at Gingerboy – the lovely AT, the irrepressible and lovable Professor F (first name C), iMac, and of course me, making up the “H”. iMac and I took control, but being incredibly indecisive, we decided to order all but 2 of the 12 starters – known as “snacks or street food”. Our waitress came back and informed us that the chef thought that would be too much food. So, we reluctantly dropped 2 from our order… but something must have got mixed up because the 2 that were dropped were ones that we really wanted to try – so we ended up ordering them as well… back up to 10 starters!! We’ll show chef!!
Steamed prawn and ginger dumplings with peanut soy dressing
Lovely, tender and soft dumplings.
Cold smoked ocean trout tartare with red chilli mayonnaise
Really delicious – one of the two raw dishes on the menu. This was beautifully spiced and seasoned and served on something crunchy. A tender, fresh and flavourful mouthful.
Steamed char sui pork buns, pickled cucumber, chilli sauce
These were definitely the winner!!! Momofuku move over… the meat was luscious, tender and sweet – the buns were soft and fluffy. Absolutely stunning! It’s interesting though, I’ve succumbed and returned to Gingerboy two times since this visit – and the pork has gotten spicier as the visits have gone on. When I queried this – I was informed that sometimes the pork is served without the BBQ sauce (usually upon request) – so maybe that was the difference… Anyhoo… from my perspective, I really enjoyed the sweet, unctuousness of the dish at this first visit. In fact, confession time – we ordered a second serve of these – they were that good!
Spiced duck and pork san choi bao, lettuce cups
Who can resist San Choi Bao – especially when it’s made with duck and pork? What a winning combination!
Wagyu beef tataki, black bean and chilli soy, crisp asian coleslaw
A lovely dish – but not earth shatteringly good like some of our other dishes. There seemed to be a lot of liquid – but that’s tataki for you.
Salt and pepper chicken spare ribs, green chilli soy
These ribs were a real winner ! Gorgeous, spicy, crunchy and moist – it didn’t take long for us to leave a pile of clean bones.
A real surprise dish – so delicately seasoned with spices, über crunchy on the outside, beautifully tender on the inside.
Chicken and okra curry puffs, tumeric and mint yoghurt
If memory serves me correctly, these little beauties were on the menu a few years ago – so it could be they are a crunchy classic coming back . The minced chicken and okra mix is moist and the flavours are well balanced with the okra providing a great textural element (not slimy at all).
Pork and garlic chive dumplings with spiced chinese black vinegar
Fabulous pork and garlic chive dumplings – really meaty on the inside, nicely steamed and served with a punchy black vinegar to cut through the unctuousness of the pork. Popular with my man when I took him there more recently!
Red braised pork belly, szechuan spiced pineapple relish, pickled papaya
This dish was delicious – but it’s hard to beat a certain porky big brother dish at Ezard (and perhaps one or two other classic porky dishes around town). We also found that there was a surfeit of the pickled vegetables which resulted in a bit of an unbalanced dish. The outcome – quite a few leftover vegies on the plate, but the meat quickly disappeared.
Red duck leg curry, shallots, thai basil and coconut cream
This is the signature dish – absolutely! Tender duck (because it’s been cooked twice then reheated) in the red curry sauce that had been simmering for hours – hence why iMac and I will probably never get around to actually making it!!! Order a side of coconut rice with it – you will never look back.
Dessert platter (from L to R): Tomkha custard brulee, pineapple and kaffir lime salad;
Chocolate and pandan splice with candied fried lotus crisps;
Espresso tofu cheesecake, milk jelly and chocolate coffee beans;
Spiced apple and rhubarb dumplings with vanilla ice cream; and
Black sticky rice, toasted coconut and rock sugar crusted sorbet
We then opted to share a single dessert platter between the four of us… I wonder why? Maybe by this stage we were a bit full. Now all the desserts are pretty spectacular – but my favourite was an unlikely candidate: the espresso tofu cheesecake! I know – it just doesn’t sound right does it – but it’s the bomb!! It even had the effect of winning over a very sceptical friend in a more recent visit! Delish! I also think the creme brulee and the sticky black rice are pretty special as well.
Overall – we loved Gingerboy. It may be little brother to fine diner Ezard, but as a younger sibling – it’s pitching itself absolutely perfectly to deliver tasty, addictive hawker style food to an eager Melbourne audience. Head chef Leigh Power and his team of dynamic kitchen and floor staff work hard to make your visit a memorable one – and it’s the food that shines. Oh… and the cocktails are freaking amazing!
The ambience of black bamboo, pinpoint lights and fringed features is sexy and bold, and the service is friendly, professional and fun. It’s a great night out – just follow your instincts, make a booking and go. You won’t regret it and you could just end up having a great time! We’ll definitely be back…