Friday, April 2, 2010


Location: 27-29 Crossley Street, Melbourne
Cuisine: South East Asian, Hawker

This was my second trip to Gingerboy. Having thoroughly enjoyed my first trip to Gingerboy (unreviewed), I was surprised that they managed to outperform my expectations from the last time.

Gingerboy is a hidden gem - it is tucked away in a small dingy alleyway you wouldn't really venture down unless you were in the know. The bright signage doesn't really reflect the interiors or the menu, but for that we're glad. The inside is contrastingly clean and classy looking. The downstairs sports a dining area and a bar, the upstairs has a few more tables, another bar, and a small lounge area.

We booked a table in the upstairs part of the restaurant, which turned out to be a good choice. Upstairs was quieter, perfect for a quiet dinner catch-up. We also had the near-exclusive attention of the barman (who doubled as our waiter for the night).

The food was amazing. Our first pick was the son-in-law eggs. Fellow food blog tummyrumbles recommended these eggs, which I tried on my first visit and love with them. They are a Gingerboy must-have. Nice and crisp on the outside, and smooth, creamy and gooey on the inside. The rule is that you load the eggs with the chilli jam and put the entire thing in your mouth. (Feel free to not do this, but at risk of the egg yolk exploding all over the place). This is heaven in one mouthful.

Son in law eggs, chilli jam and Asian herbs

Our other selection from the 'small dishes' list was the soy cured ocean trout. Not being a fan of raw fish in general (smoked salmon being an exception), this turned out to be almost as good as the eggs! The trout was sliced thinly, and heavily infused with a sweet soy flavour. The coconut caramel was beautiful. Light and coconutty, it was almost like a very mild Thai curry sauce, but cold. The pickled daikon and bean shoots added a nice contrasting crunch to the dish. By the end of this dish, we were practically drinking the sauce.

Soy cured ocean trout, tumeric, coconut caramel and pickled daikon

From the 'main dish' selection, we ordered the fried baby snapper and the pork belly (which I had previously ordered before).

Fried baby snapper, lime and red chilli bean sauce, lychee salad

The snapper was done quite well. The fish was well cooked - the skin was crispy and the flesh was soft. One of the waitresses even deboned the fish for us. The sauce again had the authentic south-east Asian flavours. Sweet, tangy and a little spicy. The lychee salad was an interesting but complimenting add to the dish.

Sweet and sour bangalow pork belly, cherry tomatoes and Thai basil

The pork belly dish had an amazing balance of flavours and textures. The pork belly itself, however, was a bit of a let down - the crackling was a little overcooked and that little bit too chewy and there was too much excess fat left on the pork. What should probably have been slow-cooked tasted more like it had been hurriedly cooking in a frying pan. The sauce rescued the dish with a beautiful sweet and sour sauce.

We are always excited about what the dessert menu contains, and we were extremely excited by the looks of the dessert share platter. This platter contained six samples of different desserts (of which, only five were shown on the dessert menu).

Gingerboy Dessert Share Plate (from left to right): steamed apple and vanilla buns with coconut custard; cinnamon sugared battered banana fritters with five spice ice-cream; tofu cheese cake, pandan jelly and black sesame base

The steam apple and vanilla buns were interesting, however, should probably have been renamed 'dumpling' instead of 'bun'. The wrapping was soggy and quite thin compared to what would be expected for a bun. The filling was softened apples, much like what would be found in an apple pie. The fresh slice of apple on the 'bun' did not really add much to the dish though and could probably left out.

The banana fritters were delicious though. Who doesn't like deep-fried sweet gooey goodness? The ice-cream wasn't too outstanding in that it tasted pretty much like cinnamon mixed into vanilla ice-cream and not very 'five spice' like.

The tofu cheesecake was odd. The flavours were new to us and somewhat strange tasting, but it was surprisingly nice. The black sesame base was sweet and crunchy and the pandan jelly complemented the composition well.

Gingerboy Dessert Share Plate (from left to right) : raspberry and passionfruit splice with with mint jelly; coconut sorbet; lemon pudding

The splice was again an interesting concoction and was almost like a cross between a slurpee and ice-cream. The raspberry flavour was sweet but not very overt, but the passionfruit flavours came through.

The coconut sorbet was absolutely amazing. The presentation was a little dull, but there was a strong infusion of coconut flavour. The only drawback was that the shot glass it was served in had an opening which was smaller than the spoons we were given to eat it with!

We also quite enjoyed the lemon pudding, which tasted a bit like the creamed rice at Bopha Devi but with a nice citric tang.

All in all, it was an enjoyable night. The service was pleasant, the decor was simple and classy (although high stools are not the most comfortable seating arrangements) and the food was pretty much, on the whole, amazing.

Overall Impression: 9/10

Gingerboy on Urbanspoon

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