As some of you might already know, Ezard restaurant on Flinders Lane is one of my favourite Melbourne restaurants and I’ve been wanting to visit Ezard‘s sister restaurant, Gingerboy, for a very long time. The opportunity finally came last night with the convenient excuse of “it’s my birthday” for me to shout dinner to a few of my very good friends. Because it was a last minute thing, I was kinda worried that we might not get a table for Saturday night given that I’ve heard that it’s hard to get a booking here. However, luckily the guy on the phone said that they were able to squeeze us in. Because clearly my awesomeness exuberated from my phone to the guy’s phone. Heh .
If you’re familiar at all with Ezard, you will find that Gingerboy is a very different restaurant. Sure, the Asian elements are there but whereas Ezard is top-class fine dining, Gingerboy is more casual, more “Asian” and I guess, cheaper. The reason why Teage Ezard (i.e. the grand master) decided to establish Gingerboy is because he is a fan of Asian street food. But Gingerboy doesn’t offer you “authentic” street food that you’d get from Bandung or Hanoi. It’s a more “funked up” version that caters to Melbourne’s young and hip crowd using all sorts of fresh and exciting ingredients taken from all sorts of Southeast Asian cuisines that culminate into one very distinctive “cuisine” simply known as Ezardese. Of course, that means that the food is 10 times more expensive that the $2 dumplings you might find on the streets of Pattaya but that doesn’t mean that you should shun Gingerboy like some of my fob friends do because they say that they can get much cheaper and much more “authentic” food back home.
Another thing that prevents Asians from going here is because the owner is an Aussie. Just because he ISN’T Asian, doesn’t mean he can’t cook Asian food. The notion that you HAVE to be Asian to be able to make good Asian food is absurd. I know lots of Asians who can’t book anything beyond a simple bowl of 2 min noodles. And I have a mate who is from a Northern Greek Macedonian background whose mother cooks the most amazing Peking duck and Singapore fried noodles, even better than a lot of the stuff that many Asian restaurants can come up with. So there.
Okay, back to the review. We rocked up at 6pm and proceeded to be amazed at the awesome architecture that greeted us. The decor consisted of black bamboo rods that lined the walls and little blue fairy lights were scattered all over the ceilings and some of the walls to give the place a “magical” feel. The tables were dark and polished and the chairs, which were apparently $600 each, were effing uncomfortable as they were hard but it was nothing to make a big fuss about. I guess what Ezard wanted to achieve with this look was to re-create a 1950s Shanghai tea-room. Very stylish, very funky – and I’m talking about both the room and the people. It’s like you HAD to be young and hot to be able to eat here. Like I said, my awesomeness and hotness(sic) could be detected through the phone when I was making the booking, haha!
While we were waiting for Tim to hurry up and get here from work, we ordered some cocktails. I had the gingergirl cocktail ($16) which was a lemongrass infused vodka mixed with ginger, coriander, and pineapple juice. I suppose it’s more of a “summery” cocktail but who cares, I like pineapple and coriander so shut up. After finally learning that Tim was running an hour late, we decided to order without him first seeing as we had to be out by 8pm for the next lot of diners to arrive. For us, the $55 p/h banquet sounded good so we went for that. The waitresses told us that for a group of four, we’d get 4 entrees and 3 mains (shared dish) plus a dessert plate to share and coffee if we wanted to. And when Tim rocked up, we can just add on an extra main or something. We were able to choose our dishes from the a la carte menu or let the chef choose for us but I had my eye on a few of the menu items so I picked about 3 of the dishes and let the kitchen choose the rest. Although we ordered a banquet, I will include the individual a la carte prices of each dish as I do that with most of my reviews anyway.
“So, in Vietnam they have this drink called snake wine right.. basically, they rip out the snake’s skin, take out its heart – which they force you to eat – and use its blood to make the wine. Guys drink it so that they can perform good in bed.”
Heh, love the look on Pat’s face!
Red duck leg curry ($32.50). Four succulent pieces of duck legs were presented on a clean white plate, topped with some sort of tumeric and coconut sauce. The flavour was not much different to beef rendang sauce except that it was tangier and sweeter. The crispy shallots and the Thai basil added a beautiful fragrant aroma to a very yummy dish.
We also got 2 side dishes to go with our mains as part of the banquet. Above are the wok greens ($7.50) which were basically Asian vegies lightly stir-fried in oyster sauce.
Fried corn cakes ($7.50). My mum makes a decent version of these but I’m sorry mum, Gingerboy‘s were much more tasty . They were puffy rather than flat, soft on the inside and crispy on the outside.
L-R: Taro icecream with fermented sticky rice pudding inside topped with fried lotus root, tofu cheesecake with lime jelly and glazed rhubarb, cinnamon sugared pineapple fritter with star anise ice cream, chilled chocolate pudding with chilli caramel and spiced pears, sweet potato bun with red bean filling.
They were all sooooo good, I was not able to choose a favourite!
(Yeah, Aaron was going Wong Gar Wai on us)
Adam and me
What a great Saturday night! Not even the rain, Matt being sick, Tim being late and some random’s butt-awful black vinyl jacket could ruin the night. We may have gone to many bars (not included in photos are Atrium 35, Martini Bar and Sister Bella) but I only had one Asahi the entire time. Talk about showing restraint!
Damn, I feel like one of those son-in-law eggs again…