Wednesday 18 June 2008

Somewhat drunken dinner chez Gingerboy

27-29 Crossley Street, Melbourne (map)
9662 4200

Gingerboy interior

We were hungry, it was 9:30pm on a Friday night and with several vodka and tonics under our trenchcoat belts, CJ and I stood in the crowded city bar and acknowledged that dinner could go one of two ways. Either we traipse down to Camy Shanghai Dumpling House and fill up on cheap, cheap chili oil dumplings and more booze from Vintage Cellars (as is usually the case)... or we treat ourselves and dine somewhere just a little bit fabulous. Decisions, decisions!

We were both totally up for revisiting Gingerboy. I've been a fan of Teage Ezard's cooking ever since 2002 when, in brazen defiance of my impoverished student status, I shouted my then-boyfriend (who'd that very day handed in his PhD) and I a night at the Adelphi and the full degustation menu at ezard. So naturally I was thrilled when he (Ezard, not my ex) opened a second, less formal restaurant a few years later.

I've been to Gingerboy four or five times now and have always enjoyed it, though looking back over my comments after my first visit in November 2006 (on mellie's Gingerboy post on tummy rumbles - which was certainly pre-Melbourne Gastronome and I believe may have been the first time I (as mutemonkey) ever left a comment on a food blog - hopefully my writing is not still as long-winded and pompous as it was then!), I'd had some initial nitpicks.

Gingerboy interior

But all was well on Friday night when CJ and I sauntered in at 9:45pm and nabbed the only empty table. The blaring hip hop mixed with nouveau reggae beats that so offended my delicate musical sensibilities in 2006 was now toned down and the staff were friendly and helpful. I love the constellations of pinprick lights scattered over the walls and ceiling, though the waiters must get sick of constantly knocking that fringed curtain as they serve the front tables.

Steamed prawn and ginger dumplings

I'd mumbled something about dumplings as we'd sat down, so we started with the steamed prawn and ginger dumplings with peanut chilli soy ($13 for three; at our enterprising waitress' suggestion, we'd only ordered two so as to have room to sample more small dishes). The dumplings were nice and all, but didn't really have a wow factor.

Chilli salt cuttlefish

What DID have a wow factor was the crispy chilli salt cuttlefish with lemon and roasted sesame ($13). CJ had never had cuttlefish before and wasn't expecting it to be so exquisitely tender. The dusting of chilli salt together with the lemon juice was delightful. Although we were both somewhat the worse (or better) for alcohol, our appreciation of the food was by no means diminished.

Lemon in muslin

I must be growing more tolerant (or pretentious) in my old age. In 2006 best-friend-K and I thought the wedge of lemon wrapped in muslin was completely wanky and pretentious, but I must admit that now I kind of love it... :)

Son in law eggs

And then it was time for my favourite dish, the son in law eggs with chilli jam and Asian herbs ($12 for three; again, we just got two). I know these particular ones aren't that pretty (and okay, they may even look a little like they have leprosy) but TRUST ME on this one. They're awesome. To eat them you simply MUST place the entire egg into your mouth and chomp down on that deep-fried goodness so that the still-runny warm yolk slides its way down your throat followed by a fabulous jumble of sweet-minty-spicy-piquant Thai flavours. The son in law eggs double as a sensational hangover cure, and a quick version of the recipe can be found at Totally Addicted to Taste.

Red duck leg curry

The red duck leg curry with shallots, Thai basil and coconut cream ($33.50) was thick and rich, particularly when we matched it (perhaps foolishly) with the creamed coconut rice ($7.50). But CJ and I are both coconut maniacs, so we loved it. Much less showy than the other standouts, but still really really really good were the wok greens ($7.50), which had an intense smoky flavour and were very moreish.

Although it wasn't listed on the dessert menu, when we'd arrived I'd crossed my fingers in the hope that the Steamed Pandan Dumpling in Spiced Gula Syrup was still part of the dessert share plate. As it turned out, CJ and I couldn't possibly fit in anything else after the coconutathon so I never got to find out. But that's all the more reason to return again soon...

Wok greens, creamed coconut rice


Anonymous said...

Haha...was that your first ever comment on a post?! Ooh...I feel so privileged!

I haven't been back to Gingerboy since it opened, but I do so want to go back, at least for the son-in-law eggs.

I was also really bummed at the time as I wanted to try the stingray, but Ezard wouldn't allow it to be served - it wasn't up to scratch. I've since had it in Singapore and almost died in delight at the taste/texture, so I'd like to see how he handles it. Was it still on the menu?

cp said...

so many restaurants, so little time! sigh, claire i live vicariously through your blog.

claire said...

Heya mellie - it sure was my first post! :D
The stingray was not on the menu, alas. If it had been, I too would have ordered it - I tried it once in Malaysia and loved it! See the photo here. But you never know, it may show up as a special when he can get his hands on some that IS up to scratch...

Ah, Cathy! Even by my (outrageous) standards I've been dining out far too often as of late. I have a special venue planned for this week (codename: Decadent Tuesday) but after that I'm going to be forced to tone things down - if only for the sake of my haemorrhaging bank balance - until the next monthly payday...
See you tomorrow! xo