- Finally going to Gingerboy.
What’s the point of having special guests in town if you don’t take them somewhere you’ve been wanting to try for ages? On the second day of his workshop, my colleagues and I took our guest to Gingerboy for lunch. It was a last minute booking (made within half an hour of hoping to turn up), and rather rushed because of post-lunch commitments. The restaurant, near where Madame Fang used to be in Crossley Street in the city, has had rave reviews and much hype so I was a bit apprehensive about what it’d be really like. The dining room was delightfully uncrowded when we first turned up, and we were seated at the back corner, which afforded a great view of the interior. This article in Wallpaper* gives you an idea of the ‘look’ – “disco chic shop front” (their words, not mine).
To the most important thing: the food was excellent. Super tasty and aromatic blend of ingredients and beautiful plating up, large servings (quite good value for money, considering that this type of ambience and style lends itself to overpricing), perfect balance of spices and herbs. This latter point is important to me because I’ve had too many dishes where there’s been a heavy-handedness with spices in general and it drowns out the part they play in enhancing food flavours. You just end up with a mouthful of chewy cardamom or coriander. The staff had a certain attitude which some might appreciate (we didn’t) – sort of knowledgeable, sort of too-cool-for-school…
Just for the record, we had:
As starters – son in law eggs with chilli jam and Asian herbs, and steamed pork and garlic chive dumplings with coriander relish.
As mains (shared) – Singapore noodles, coconut laksa and vegetables; roasted kingfish; deep-fried whole snapper; sweet and sour pork belly.
It was really unfortunate that we had to rush the latter part of the meal. I loved the look of the desserts (esp sticky black rice, mango and jasmine tea ice cream…or the pear and cinnamon pancake, palm sugar syrup, red bean ice cream…next time!).
- Dining coincidences at Kuni’s Japanese Restaurant.
On the first evening of the workshop, we all went out to dinner at my fave Japanese place in the city, Kuni’s on Little Bourke Street. I’ve been there at least half a dozen times now and have enjoyed every visit. The ambience is spacious yet cosy, uncluttered and comfortable. We had a table of about a dozen and picked our way through a range of sashimi and sushi platters as well as a bunch of entrees (including my cold lotus root addiction). It’s not like we had a raging late night but we would’ve all been there a good 2.5 hours. It was only when we were leaving that I realised a whole other table right next to us (of about a dozen people) was made up of many of my colleagues from work! They’d all retired there after a day of conference-ing. Of all the restaurants in Melb, eh?
- And, last but never least, colleagues who make academia worthwhile.
I’ll be honest and say that I’m not sure what I meant by this now, in the dazzling light of a new year and with looming deadlines that I’m in denial about. I have a small handful of colleagues with whom I seem to be on the same page, and they have senses of humour, too (which is in desperately short supply these days, I’ve found). I’ve also recently met an ‘online’ buddy in person and that was a heartening thing. I have yet to have a bad experience meeting up with virtual buddies.