27-29 Crossley Street, Melbourne (map)
A few Fridays ago I went with some friends to Gingerboy, to celebrate the lovely Miss T's birthday. She had not been there before, so I wanted to make sure she tried all of my favourite dishes from my favourite chef: the son-in-law eggs, the chilli salt cuttlefish, the red duck leg curry and the side of smoky wok greens (all of which I have written about before). Happily, our waitress was able to accommodate all of these dishes plus more in the $65 a head banquet option. There were a couple of other dishes that I hadn't had before but really enjoyed, including the grilled wagyu in la-lot leaves with sour chilli vinegar, and the lime and galangal basted baby chicken with peanut tamarind caramel (and studded with cubes of dragonfruit, yum).
But what I really want to write about today is the dessert platter.
We got it to share between the four of us as part of the banquet, though you can get it on the a la carte menu for $34.50. Loved the Thai spin on each little dish!
Below, on the left, is the chilli orange sugared banana fritters, with mint and Baileys ice cream. The chilli and orange really sexed up the fritters, the mint and ice cream cooled them down. And on the right is the chilled dark chocolate pudding, with rice crusted apple and chilli raspberry. You can't really see it in the photo, hidden behind the ice cream as it is, but the rice crust on the apple gave it a great texture.
But here are the ones I got really excited about. On the left is the spiced pear and tapioca dumpling in syrup, with young coconut soup. The dumpling had a texture just like a prawn dumpling, but the taste of spiced pear and tapioca... it completely did my head in. I loved it. The young coconut "soup" was more of a sorbet, but a completely crazy sorbet with a slick smooth texture devoid of water crystals. I'm not sure I can describe it properly, but the texture was unlike anything I'd ever had before. I went to the bustling kitchen to ask the dessert chef how he did it - he said it was all about keeping the coconut cream in balance with the sugar syrup. It's still a bit of a conundrum to me - must go back there on a quiet afternoon and get the proper inside scoop.
Next to that is the tofu cheesecake with champagne ginger jelly and poached rhubarb, which I was less enthusiastic about. But boy oh boy did I love the little barrel of tom kha custard with palm sugar syrup, topped with a sliver of dried candied pineapple. Tom kha ingredients (coconut, kaffir lime, galangal, lemongrass)... but in custard form. SO delicious.
I was initially sorry to see that, after having had the same (or very similar) cocktail menu for ages, Gingerboy had completely revamped its cocktail menu. Gone are the days of ordering a Gingergirl or a Glasgow Kiss. I am however happy to report that the Take The High Road (Johnny Walker Black, Pedro Ximenez, Frangelico, lemon and black cherry jam) was excellent and very moreish.
Afterwards, we walked up the rickety stairs to the red floor of New Gold Mountain for more cocktails. The guy running the floor gave us fantastic service, and I'm really glad he talked me out of an Aperol Sour and into the Gingerbread Man - it was deeeelicious!