Gastrology bloggers dined courtesy of Chow City.
The kitchen is led by Kim-Maree Moore (formerly of Seamstress and Robbie Steins) and her sous chef, Olivia Badaracco. Together, they bring a wealth of experience in Asian cuisine to the kitchen, placing the focus on fresh and authentic dishes, which are at the same time unapologetically modern and unapologetically traditionalist.
The restaurant presents a vibrant menu of Vietnamese, Japanese, Thai and Malaysian plates, which feature a creative blend of authentic, traditional family-inspired dishes and modern street food. Small plates, like the Tom Sum and Thai Larb Moo (pork mince with lettuce cups) lead on to medium shared plates (although Chow City does not care if you share) including local Mt Martha mussels, Thit Kho Tau and Kim’s signature Crying Tiger.
The focus on stellar ingredients is clear with use of high quality, seasonal products from local, smaller farmers.
Chow City’s beverage offering is delightful with interesting fusion-style cocktails featuring ingredients such as kaffir lime leaf, coriander, plum wine and rhubarb bitters. Local brews sit comfortably alongside imported Asian beers in a skilful blending of Asian and Melbourne dining cultures.
The sticky plum lamb ribs were expertly prepared - juicy and succulent from having been slow cooked for over 12 hours. The outstanding ribs were slathered with a flavoursome sticky plum and served with delicious prickly ash rub & nam jim.
The thick slices of very fresh blue eye were served with young coconut, nuoc cham, finger lime, radish, micro herbs, chilli oil, purple radish shoot. The dish was notable for the quality of the fish and the interplay between salinity, sweetness, heat and acidity. It was a simple but well executed dish.
This vegetarian delight was beautifully simple and delicious. Assembled similarly to any san choi bao, a lettuce cup is used as a “base” and then layered with the cauliflower, tofu and soy bean mix.
The slow roasted Kurabuta pork belly was another crowd favourite. Each pork belly slice had been succulently roasted to retain a porky juiciness, thereby achieving a healthy layer of melt-in-the-mouth fat in the process. The feature item was the crackling which possessed the ultimate crunch and acted as an ideal seasoning for the pork meat.
Beef Tataki Rare seared eye fillet, shredded daikon, ginger, heirloom tomato, radish, micro herbs tataki
The Beef Tataki was our favourite dish of the night. Displaying technique, elegance and skilful restraint, the tataki was both beautifully presented and absolutely delicious. The melt in your mouth slices of beef combined the best of both worlds (partially cooked, partially raw). A light searing ensured that each slice was lined with a thin crisp layer packed with caramelised beef flavour. It was a wonderful mélange of flavours and textures.
The perfectly seasoned curry possessed the customary punchy flavours exhibited by South East Asian curries and was a great match for the beautifully cooked duck. We loved the inclusion of sweet pumpkin and textural snake beans.
Chow City presents a journey of flavours: from light to rich, sweet to sour; inspired by ingredients, people, experiences, conversations and a visual environment, all with a very charming hidden sense of humour.
Location: 287 Exhibition Street, Melbourne
Phone: 03 9663 7898
Cuisine: Asian, Bar, Malaysian, Thai, Vietnamese, Japanese