|Gingerboy's main room: dark bamboo and changing colour end wall|
It was my birthday last week, and I am fortunate enough to work for a small company that celebrates its staff members' birthdays by treating us all to lunch. Having tried to coordinate previous birthday lunches unsuccessfully at Gingerboy (27-29 Crossley Street, Melbourne), the anticipation (on my part, anyway) had been building for months. I really wanted to see why this restaurant so frequently tops 'best restaurant' lists in Melbourne. Surely it couldn't be that great?! I was dubious.
I'm happy to say I was pleasantly surprised. This place is fantastic. Or, to use an expression I'm rather fond of at the moment, it is AWSBALLZ.
Again, housed on a laneway off the top end of Bourke Street (I promise I don't spend ALL my time in that part of town - sometimes I go to King Street, haha), Gingerboy is one of Melbourne's iconic laneway delights. It describes its food as "a modern Australian adaptation of the Asian hawker-style street market food". Throw into the mix some amazing cocktails, fantastic service, outstanding interior fittings, and excellent coffee (wink, wink), and you have on your hands one pretty great place.
The main part of the restaurant is predominantly dark with lime green touches. It features a changing-colour light-wall at one end, another wall covered length to length in dark bamboo, opaque neon plastic chairs, a huge red tassled hanging piece, and bright artworks alongside traditional ornaments.
|Orange end wall|
|Pink end wall + opaque chairs|
|Red tassles + bright artwork|
|Modern lime green meets traditional|
|Lime green finishes|
|My view out the front window (Crossley Street)|
There's a high chance I was so impressed by the interior design because I tend to go for bright, sparkly things, but I really do believe it all comes together very nicely, despite being an eclectic mix of... stuff.
We had a round of the most delicious cocktail ever. It's my new favourite. It's called the "Gin No Name", and features gin (duh), with lemongrass, kaffir lime, lychee and citrus. It was so delicious, I had to have two!
|Gin No Name|
And then, the food.
At our birthday lunches, we tend to order bits of everything, then all share it. I LOVED, repeat LOVED, everything we ate at Gingerboy, bar one item: a wagyu meat dumpling thing that was just too meaty for my tastes. The boys liked it, though. This is what we had:
|Kingfish tataki. This was SO GOOD, we got it twice.|
|Whole fried baby snapper|
|Lovely staffer dissecting whole snapper for us|
|Salt & pepper chicken|
|Can't remember name but YUM|
|Prawn & ginger in rice pastry|
|Wagyu in la-lot... this was a bit much for me|
We also had son-in-law eggs that were AMAZING. We were told to put the whole egg in our mouth as, when you bite into it, the yolk goes everywhere, and this way, you can catch it! It's a warm, crunchy, delicious explosion in your mouth. Mm hmm.
Finally, because it was my birthday, we had dessert. These were the boys' choices:
And I, being SPECIAL, got a birthday candle with my effing amazing "toasted coconut tofu cheesecake, raspberry jelly". Scattered over the plate were what looked like freeze-dried, and tasted like intense passionfruit pieces, over dusted icing sugar. YUM.
|Coconut tofu cheescake|
|Freeze-dried passionfruit bits|
This was a 'special occasion' meal, but goddammit, I will be inventing any special occasion I can to go back to Gingerboy as soon as possible.
Update: 14 October 2013
Last month, my work crew returned to Gingerboy for another birthday lunch. Seems we just can't stay away. The food was just as awesome as last time - but this time we decided to have a kingfish tataki serve EACH (since they're just too good to share), and we also had the whole snapper again (NOT each!).
|My Kingfish Tataki and favourite cocktail|
|SNAPPER, that's right I said SNAPPER|
The desserts were just as visually and ...taste-fully? spectacular:
|Coconut mousse, coconut ice-cream and wafer thingy|
|Can't remember what this was but it was VERY GREEN AND MELTY|
|Fairy floss & raspberry goodness|
And then I took a few more decor shots for you as well. You can thank me later. By buying me dinner at Gingerboy. (See what I did there?)