Yet another milestone for the Blintz family rolled around, and you know what that means: we go out and eat ourselves stupid to celebrate. For my sister Megan’s 21st we all rolled up for a modern Thai banquet at Gingerboy. How did you come to the decision to dine at Gingerboy, Megan? “I googled ‘good Asian restaurant in Melbourne’ and it was the first result.” Stirling.
Now, as there were quite a few of us we ended up going with the banquet option, which meant a mountain of food ended up coming out, and I got a touch overwhelmed in keeping track of everything. But like too much food has ever stopped me before.
I was very well catered to as a vegetarian, and the kitchen made me several special veggie versions of their standard menu dishes, starting with a mushroom san choi bow. It was pretty typical, warm mushroom pieces cradled in a crisp lettuce leaf, quite juicy, all in all a good starter dish.
Then there was the son-in-law egg, a crumbled coated soft-boiled egg sitting in a generous blob of chilli jam. The rest of my meal could have consisted of forty more of these little babies and I would have been ecstatic. I just really like a good tasty egg and this gooey example ticked all the boxes.
A veggie spring roll followed, it was all dressed up with garnishes and seasonings sprinkled all over, kicking it up a notch from your standard springy.
A wee salad then came out filled with cucumber, coriander, mint and other green things, which was very much welcomed as a refreshing palate cleanser.
Then time for a main-sized dish, where I was brought a big slab of steamed silken tofu with Asian mushrooms and XO sauce, served with these crunchy flakes that I think may have been some kind of vegetable that had been flash-fried, which I had to beat Megan off with a stick to stop her pinching them. This was such a filling dish, the tofu beguilingly soft, with all the accompaniments providing both complimentary flavours and textures.
I thought the tofu was going to be the sole vegie main meal, but no sooner had I filled myself to near bursting with it than another came out, this one a braised eggplant served with a nest of crispy noodles. I feel bad, I should have eaten a lot more of this because it was lovely, the eggplant all soft and and intriguingly flavoured and it melted in the mouth, but I was getting so full, and the last thing I wanted was to not have enough room for the dessert platter (priorities), so I only ended up having a little nibble of the eggplant, and otherwise picked at the crispy noodles.
And now for the coup de grace, the DESSERT PLATTER OF AMAZING DOOM: aloe vera and young coconut tapioca with pineapple sorbet; espresso tofu cheesecake with milk jelly and chocolate coffee beans; spiced apple and rhubarb cashew crumble with vanilla ice cream; coconut and chilli chocolate splice with candied chilli and lotus root; and banana fritters with yellow rock sugar and pandan ice cream. I manged a taste of everything, and they were all intriguingly different (though I’m pretty sure the espresso cheesecake had gelatine, so be careful vegies). The banana fritters with their bright green spheres of pandan ice cream were delightful (although I’ll say that about anything involving pandan), the spiced crumble the perfect thing for a cold wet evening, but my favourite was the aloe vera and coconut tapioca, because I love tapioca like Loki loves big gaudy horned hats (Avengers reference brought to you by OH MY GOD, GUYS, BEST MOVIE EVER OR BEST MOVIE EVERRRRRRRRRRRR).
The cocktail list is also worth a look if you like your alcoholic drinking to be a bit fancy. I had a Peach Lilly Possum Blossom, all gin, peach liqueur, lillet blanc, lemon juice and cinnamon and ginger syrup, alternately tart and sweet and very refreshing.
The only quibble I have with Gingerboy is that it really is not a friendly space for anyone with accessibility issues. There are lots of tight walkways and steps, tables are placed really quite close together and navigating the floor can be tricky, and as for the bathrooms, they are located up a VERY steep flight of stairs, which turned a bathroom visit by my 90 year old grandfather who walks with a stick into an Everest expedition.
But the food was all over very satisfactory, and for this level of dining was also reasonably affordable, especially given the obscene variety of dishes that were brought out (I haven’t even touched on the meaty dishes, but my family were very well pleased with pretty much all of them). If we were to go into a head-to-head modern Thai battle royale between Gingerboy and Longrain (as my family immediately started discussing on the ride home, because we are combative people), I’d still come down on the side of Longrain. But those son-in-law eggs, oh my. You gotta try those.
27-29 Crossley Street, Melbourne CBD
Ph: 9662 4200