Hello everyone :) Do you remember a week or so ago I told you about the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival that is on right now? I really wasn’t intending to go to any events but after the World’s Largest Yum Cha event, I had so much fun, I thought it’ll be great to go to a few more ~ Every year during the festival many restaurants will participate by offering customers an “Express Lunch” menu for $40 dollars which includes 2 courses, a glass of wine and tea or coffee. This is a pretty good deal given that most of these restaurants are usually quite expensive with mains that cost $35 or more :) This is a great way to try some of the restaurants signature dishes at a lower price.
There were plenty of restaurants to choose from but I found that most restaurants only offered the “Express Lunch” menu Monday to Friday and not many offered the weekend. This made it very difficult those working to try these “Express Lunches” as they often take at least 1.5 hours including travel time. I scanned down the list and given that I could only ‘sneak’ out for one or two lunches we had to make the right choice :P I gave Mr Bao a few options and I expected him to choose a French restaurant like PM24 but he wanted to try Gingerboy an Asian-fusion restaurant quite well-known in Melbourne :)
I was rushing from work and I made a booking for 1:30pm but was held up in a meeting and knew I wouldn’t get there till at least 1:45pm, so I called and told them. A girl picked up and said “That’s fine but the kitchen closes are 2pm it’s up to you”. I was devastated I wasn’t sure if I was going to make it there in time to order food and also eat…Mr Bao was very understanding and said he’s happy to do anything but said we should be able to get there before 2pm and asked me to call again. This time a man picked up and was very friendly and said “Oh no…our kitchen closes at 2:30pm that’s last order…so as long as you order before that it’s fine, besides we’re not going to kick you out just because the kitchen is closed” PHEW! Gingerboy was back on! I felt the first person I spoke to wasn’t very helpful >_<
We got to Gingerboy just before 2pm and was very lucky to find parking right in front of the restaurant ~ upon walking in we were greeted by a few waiting staff and then shown to our table in the back of the restaurant right in the corner. I’m not sure if tables were usually this placed this ‘close’ to each other but we felt rather cramped.
Starting with a glass of wine white, I’m no expert but we found it to be a little dry and would have liked a lighter tasting wine to pair with the spicy food.
Wasting no time, we decided to get 1 entree, 2 mains and 1 dessert to share between us. Starting with the entree Grilled Wagyu beef in la lot leaves with sour chilli vinegar, they were like two little beef dumplings, which reminded up of the steamed beef balls you can get at Yum Cha. But the quality of the beef was definitely better and we liked the flavour of the Wagyu beef and the sour chilli vinegar. Mr Bao’s only compliant was they were quite small and we only had one each :P
There were 3 options for the plan a fish, pork and vegetarian :) I chose the barramundi with lemongrass and ginger curry topped with a coconut salad. I was quite impressed with the barramundi as it was very well cooked with a crispy skin very important to me ~ And the lemongrass and ginger curry tasted similar to the one we tried at Ezard, which is another restaurant from their group. I think all elements went very well with this dish but I think it would have been better if it came with some rice for the curry sauce and make it more filling.
Mr Bao’s sweet and sour pork belly was rather small with only 4 to 5 pieces scattered on top of the cherry tomato and coriander salad. The pork belly had good flavours but we found it to be a little dry and not as moist as we would have liked, but I really liked the salad which was quite spicy and the lovely texture from the crushed peanuts :)
There were two dessert options a ginger pudding and a tapioca fruit salad. We chose the ginger steamed pudding because we didn’t know that we could pay more and get the other dessert and the waitress wasn’t very patient… so we just got the one. I was really impressed with the steamed ginger pudding, it was soft and moist, however, I would have preferred a stronger ginger flavour. The palm sugar ice-cream and syrup was also another win ~ It was super sweet but wasn’t overbearing when paired with the pudding. Now I’m inspired to try and make this at home, I have the Gingerboy cookbook and hope the recipe is in there :)
Our first Express Lunch and Gingerboy experience was nice but neither of us really enjoyed it :( I’m sorry to those who like Gingerboy. For starters, staff at Gingerboy had a ‘lukewarm’ attitude especially the waitress who served our table was very impatient. Tea and coffee comes with our Express Lunch but it never came, even though we asked them about it twice. Eventually we decided to leave because I had to rush back to work. Food wise flavours were good but I’m not sure if it’s because it was an Express Lunch, portions were very small and I’m not saying this on behalf of Mr Bao (he was still staving :P) hahaha I am saying this from a girl’s point of view. I think I could have easily finished an Entree and Main and will still have room for more food. After trying both Ezard and Gingerboy we think Teage Ezard is a very talented man but we have also came to the conclusion that we’re not fans of Asian-fusion and prefer more traditional dishes. Having said that though if you haven’t tried I think Gingerboy is still worth trying at least once :)