27-29 Crossley Street, Melbourne VIC
Date visited: 17th October 2012

Time seems to fly by so quickly this year.  Tomorrow I'm heading out of Melbourne for work again and Mum is finally going back overseas, so we decided to go out for lunch.  That, and the fact that I wanted to use up my Meal Entertainment Card too.

Gingerboy was the destination of choice for lunch.  I didn't know how busy it would be on a weekday, so I made a booking the day before for 12.30pm.

It wasn't particularly busy when we got there.  The rectangular shaped dining room was quite small, accentuated probably by the dark colours of the black bamboo lined ceiling and walls, with the blue little twinkling 'stars' overhead.  The tables were modernistic black with transparent multi-coloured chairs.  Throw in red fringe curtains and you have... a modern Asian restaurant?

We had a table in the corner which I was glad grateful for, as there was a row of spotlights just overhead, making the tables here a tad brighter than the gloomy centre tables and hence more photo-friendly.

We decided to forgo the banquet menu and decided to order our own as we felt it worked out cheaper.  You can choose from the Snacks & Street Food, Shared Dishes and Side Dishes.  A good point I should mention is that with the Street Food section, most of the dishes come in 3 pieces, but you can choose to have more or less of each.  Mum and I tried their infamous Son-In-Law eggs, which were fried poached eggs.
Son in law eggs, chilli jam and Asian herbs $9 for 2
You are supposed to put on some chilli jam and take the egg with your fingers, stuffing the whole thing into your mouth and eating it that way.  What?  Images of suffocation and drowning by egg yolk flooded into my mind... of course, the waiter added, if you preferred not to eat it that way, you should make sure you don't have the egg halfway out of your mouth when you take a bite or else the yolk will go exploding everywhere.  LOL.  

Initially MerlinFan didn't want one, claiming "why?  It's just an egg."  After trying this, I can see why it is one of their signature dishes.  The egg was perfectly poached, with the yolk nice and runny.  The white was consistent throughout and had the smooth texture of silken tofu.  The chilli jam was sweet rather than spicy and complemented the egg perfectly.

Next, we had the Salt and Pepper Chicken Spare Ribs with Tamarind hot sauce.
Salt & pepper chicken ribs $15
When they brought out the chicken ribs, I initially thought they brought us a different dish.  I could have sworn the ribs looked different on pictures on other bloggers' sites - like fried chicken with sauce on the side.  Perhaps they decided now to pour the tamarind hot sauce on ribs.  The chicken ribs were crispy and saturated with the tamarind hot sauce, which brought a hit of spiciness and acidity.  MerlinFan and Mum really enjoyed it, but I would have liked the hot sauce separate as I am a pathetic spicy food eater and my face started sweating like a freak.

Next up was the Grilled Lamb.
Grilled lamb in la lat leaves with sour chilli vinegar $15
The lamb was gamey and the sour chilli vinegar was too mild - neither that nor the leaf were able to disguise the smell.  This dish was miss.

For our shared main, we decided to go with their signature Red Duck Leg Curry with shallots, Thai basil and coconut cream.  All the shared dishes came with steamed jasmine rice.  
Red duck curry $38.50
The curry was sweet and creamy, with a very mild heat.  There were two duck legs - the thigh section was tender and moist, however I had one of the drums and it was only the slightest bit pink near the bone and probably a tad overcooked.  Mum was stunned later when she looked at the receipt and saw it was almost $40.  For the price, I would have expected something a bit more than literally duck and curry.  

This brings me to my personal peeve about modern adaptations of Asian food based on the concept of plates for sharing.  It is not isolated to Gingerboy of course, but think about it, it's almost $40 for two duck legs (yes, cutting it into the thigh and drum sections does not make it four) which makes it $20 for a duck leg.  That is ridiculously overpriced in my books.    

With the small portions, we had comfortable room for dessert.  
Cappuccino $4 each
We had cappuccinos to start which were pretty good - nothing to complain about besides the fact that they were slightly pricier than if you got it at a regular cafe.

We had the Gingerboy dessert share plate, which was a small version of every dessert they had on the menu.
Share plate $39.50
I won't deny that it was beautifully presented.  I'll go through each dessert separately.
Coconut sago pudding, paw paw and lime salad
This was my least favourite of the platter.  The sago pearls were perfectly cooked, however I didn't particularly like the raw paw paw or the sprinkle of greenery on the top - couldn't quite place what it was, perhaps lemongrass(?) that I wasn't a fan of.
Cinnamon sugared banana fritters with toasted coconut ice cream
The banana fritters were amazing.  I grew up eating banana fritters, and the inside was sweet, mushy and almost overly ripe (just that way I love it), and the outside was fantastically crispy.  My ideal banana fritter - I could eat a whole plate of them.  It went so perfectly with silky smooth, rich ice cream with the wonderful flavour of coconut coming through.  For $39.50, I think they could have been a bit more generous.  Honestly.  I mean a share plate (assuming to share between two) with one measly fritter... to cut in half?  And between the three of us to cut into measly thirds?  It wasn't even a big fritter, probably as long as my index finger.  Tsk tsk.  Very sad.
Vanilla tofu cheesecake, mandarin jelly and freeze dried fruit
The vanilla cheesecake had a wobbly tofu-like texture and the flavour was nice.  The mandarin jelly not so - I think they used the mandarin zest as well, for the bitterness was unpleasantly overpowering.  Bitterness in desserts do not sit well with us at all, so neither of us liked the mandarin jelly, scraping it off and eating the cheesecake on its own.
White chocolate and tamarind parfait, chilli raspberry caramel
Sweet and slightly tangy, the white chocolate and tamarind parfait was lovely.  I couldn't taste the chilli though, but who cares?  
Calpico sorbet, watermelon and Vietnamese mint
The Calpico sorbet was light and refreshing, a nice palate cleanser with the watermelon and mint.

So would I return?  Maybe, if the food had been mind-blowingly good; however with some hits and misses, the combination of $40 mains and portion sizes that bordered on stingy, I would have to say probably not.  A previous reviewer pointed out the mains were embarrassingly small, which I have to agree.  If we got a shared dish this size (with two duck legs) in an Asian restaurant of this price and standard overseas, I think the diners would either start laughing incredulously or have their jaws drop open in utter shock. 

Gingerboy on Urbanspoon

<a href=""><img alt="Gingerboy on Urbanspoon" src="" style="border:none;padding:0px;width:200px;height:146px" /></a>


Post a Comment