Gingerboy, CBD

12/23/2015 , , , 0 Comments

Gingerboy is a popular South-East Asian restaurant in the CBD, in one of the side streets off Bourke St., easily accessible by tram 86 & 96 or a short walk from Parliament Station. It's known for its quirky interior designs and modern Australian take on hawker style Asian dishes, with dishes changing every few months to reflect the seasons.

As it's such a popular restaurant, you'll definitely have to book beforehand to grab a table - there's a pretty good online booking system on the Gingerboy website that send you reminders by text or email to confirm your booking, and also alerts you on the day of your booking. We went on a Monday around 6pm and the whole place was packed by about 6:30-7pm, with another sitting starting at 8pm.

The interior design of Gingerboy is quite funky and modern, with lots of small lights on the walls. When you first walk in, it feels like it'll be quite dark with the choice of d├ęcor, but there's lights above each table so it's not too bad. Despite it being filled with people and relatively loud music playing in the background, we didn't have to raise our voices at all to talk to each other, even though the restaurant itself doesn't seem very spacious. The service was really great, with attentive and friendly staff that always came to check up on us and see if we needed anything else. Another great little titbit was the complimentary small bowl of pickled cucumber that came at the start as the appetiser dish.

The menu at Gingerboy is designed to be shared between people. For three of us, the staff suggested 3 of the snack dishes and 2 of the mains (mains all come with a bowl of rice on the side), but we went with 3 and 1, as we also wanted to try the dessert. If you can't decide what to order, there's also a banquet menu option, which for $80 allows the staff to select dishes for you that add up to that price range. We decided on our own dishes, and went with the Son in Law Eggs ($13.50), Seared Hervey Bay Scallops ($16.50), Tempura Chilli Salt Cuttlefish ($16) and a Red Duck Leg Curry ($40) with an extra side of fried corn cakes ($9). For dessert, we chose the spiced pineapple dish ($16). Although most of the snack dishes state it as servings of three, they can change it to have 2 or 4 servings, depending on the number of people.

The Son in Law Eggs are soft boiled eggs with a thin layer of batter from being 'flash fried', and is served with a chilli jam and asian herbs. The use of the chilli jam added an interesting flavour to the dish to give it an extra hit, and the fact that the eggs were flash fried allowed the insides to still be runny, yet crispy on the outside for extra texture. This is one of the most popular dishes at Gingerboy, but we thought it was a bit hyped up as it was essentially an egg with chilli jam. It tasted good, but didn't really have the wow factor that we were expecting from it.

The seared scallops were served with ground shrimp and lemongrass relish, and was a really enjoyable dish. The scallops themselves were soft and juicy with a slightly smokey taste from being seared, and the lemongrass relish complimented it really well to give it those Asian style flavours and bring out the natural flavours of the scallop. The scallops were presented in their shells and sat on a bed of salt - we weren't quite sure what it was for and at first thought it was supposed to be eaten as well, but it looks like it's just for presentation purposes.

The tempura cuttlefish was served with a lemon wedge and roasted sesame, and was also a really great dish. The batter was extremely thin and sort of just dissolved when you bit into it, though it was a bit on the salty side, but the cuttlefish was some of the best I've had - soft and melt in your mouth type. The lemon wedge definitely helped to balance out the salty batter, and I thought it was interesting that it was wrapped in some sort of cloth, either so your hands don't get lemon juice all over them, or so that none of the lemon itself got onto the cuttlefish.

The red duck leg curry was served with thai basil and coconut cream, and was also quite a enjoyable dish. It is a bit of a spicy dish that may not be suited to those who can't really take spicy foods, though there was also a slight sweetness to the dish from the coconut cream. The duck itself was very tender and well cooked, falling off the bone when cut into with a great strong flavour. The curry itself was nice and thick and the amount of thai basil used was just right to give the curry that extra flavour, but not being overpowering and strong. The crispy fried sweet corn cakes were essentially corn fritters, with a really crispy batter that was smooth on the inside with lots of corn bits, and it went really well to soak up the curry sauce that wasn't all used up by the rice, though it was a little on the salty side.

The dessert we ordered was the spiced pineapple, served with coconut crumb and a black sticky rice ice cream. There was a bit too much coconut crumb in proportion to the pineapple and ice cream so the dish felt quite dry - if you had too much of the crumbed coconut in one mouthful, it felt like your throat kind of closed up and you needed more ice cream (or water) to wash it down. The pineapple had a slight cinnamon taste to them and cut through the coconut well, and the ice cream was really delicious with strong flavours, and it also didn't melt really quickly. Overall the combination of flavours and textures was good, but a bit more ice cream in particular would've made it even better.

Overall it was an enjoyable dining experience at Gingerboy with good quality food, though I feel like the prices are definitely a bit too high for the portions given. Also, some of the dishes by themselves have a tendency to be a bit salty, but when you have a bit of everything together, it all balances quite well. Even though I may not visit again, it is worth trying at least once for some great asian style street food with a twist.

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