Dining Asian in Melbourne roundup (part2) – Lee Ho Fook, Shizuku,
Dining Asian in Melbourne roundup (part1): “… Living in Melbourne has never been such a privilege … from the early dingy takeaway interpretations to [the present] array of niche ethnic flavours, with many beginning to push archaic preconceptions …”
Now that you have read about my recommendations in central Melbourne (Mr Huang Jin, Fomo Thai, Shandong Mama), we are going to move eastward to two locations that I would recommend you trying. Both these also deserve a Yummy+1 rating.
[Lee Ho Fook – 利口福]
Where: 92 Smith St, Collingwood
Contact: 03 9077 6261
When: Dinner daily (closed Tuesday)
It is never an easy persuasion introducing first generation Chinese migrants (i.e. parents) to fusion cuisine, especially Chinese-fusion. One expects to be bombarded with distaste and disapproval. Yet, Lee Ho Fook has found that magical balance with a transgenerational appeal. It is Chinese at heart, but with a renewed focus on seasonality and a changing menu (as distinct from the unchanging all-encompassing menus of old).
Deep fried eggplant; milk buns with braised pork belly; and sizzling wagyu beef rings true to their origins bringing bites of indulgence. The lighter, more refreshing plates of stir fried squid with white asparagus and prawn butter; beef shin & ox tongue; mushrooms and Jerusalem artichokes provide the needed balance to a feast. Aside the tea infused custard with burnt caramel (which is a sure highlight), the remaining sweet bites press on a far more western note albeit delightful – eg. fig leaf ice cream, warm chocolate and cocoa nib brownie.
Where: 309 Victoria St, Abbotsford
Contact: 03 9995 8180
When: Daily lunch and dinner.
This izakaya-come-ramen shop at the western edge of Victoria street, is one of several newer eateries bringing back some diversity to a once Vietnamese-dominated eat street. The interior is elegantly modern in black with overhanging pendant lighting.
Head Chef Ken Yoshida pays homage to the traditional process of ramen making requiring day-long preparation. The shoyu ramen brings a clean depth of pork, without too much saltiness of soy; whilst the miso broth is rich and creamy. Their contemporary izakaya offerings include gyoza, tuna tartare, and octopus balls. The sticky roast belly log is a must try if you have a few people to share it with.
You shouldn’t have too much trouble nabbing a seat at Shizuku, as compared with its city competitors – Fukuryu ramen, Little ramen bar (which I also highly recommend), and the newly opened Hakata Gensuke ramen – with their excessive peak hour queues.