Melbourne is the home of global culture. We are simply spoiled for choice when it comes to food. European? We’ve got it. Asian? You would barely get it more authentic in its originating country. Fusion? Well.. that’s a tricky one. We have a handful of good options depending on what you’re looking for and what your price point is. Enter newcomer Table Lamp Restaurant & Bar, run by Head Chef Alex Chin. As an Asian born in Scotland and trained in the UK, Chin is approachable, friendly and passionate about his business. Previously working at the Hilton in Glasgow, Chin knows his strengths and weaknesses, recruiting Wayan Geard (ex-Gazi) as his head barman to keep patrons happy with all aspects of the service.
The venue itself is very relaxed. Having been to this same venue in its previous life when it was a semi-grungy Asian bar, the new fit-out is a definite upgrade with quirky twists – birdcages as lampshades and a faux-vine wall against dark wood. The Modern Connoisseur were invited to try the menu here at Table Lamp Restaurant & Bar, compliments of The World Loves Melbourne, and we have to say the menu was an interesting fusion of dishes. We started off with a rich, smooth butternut pumpkin soup, lightly spiced, served with black truffle.
We then moved to have the ‘golden scallops’ – soft, pillowy scallops enveloped in crunchy, golden, deep-fried jac fruit and mango sauce. There were multiple layers of textures in this unexpectedly technical dish; the mango sauce was served at room temperature and was smooth, the jac fruit exterior was flakey and crunchy, with just enough sweetness to the be detected by the tastebuds. Breaking the skin of the batter revealed a piping hot scallop that melts in your mouth. This dish was one of the best of the night – it demonstrates Chins skill and innovation in the kitchen.
Next up was ‘the flaming rack’ of roast lamb cutlets with black pepper, rosemary, oregano and butter. The marinade on this was simply divine! It reminded me of getting a beef pepper sauce at a Chinese takeway – sweet, full of pepper and full of flavour. This was a great fusion on two cultures.
‘Buttery Tiger prawns’ sourced from Tasmania was a great way to finish our trial of the main menu – fat, meaty prawns served in a simple, tasty dish. We ended the night with a traditional Chinese dessert – fried ice cream. While this dish didn’t do it for me, everything else was a winner. We had the opportunity to try out a couple of the cocktails served here as well, and Geard really demonstrated his skill at the bar. His cocktails were perfectly balanced, refreshing and had just the right amount of kick to it.
Table Lamp Restaurant & Bar is a great place to go when you’re catching up with friends. Main dishes average at $25-30 per dish, with signature dishes ranging between $30-40. The staff are friendly, the food is delicious and its just a little hard to find the venue, making it perfectly Melbourne.
The Modern Connoisseur was invited by The World Loves Melbourne to Table Lamp Restaurant and Bar. All opinions are fare and true to the writers experience.
Mon – Thur: 11am – midnight
Fri – Sat: 11am – 1am
Sun: 11am – 11pm