Disclosure: I was invited to dine as a guest as part of an event
We could smell it as we walked down the street. There are lots of places that are doing contemporary South East Asian, French Indochine cuisine, but Bang Bang smelt like it - in all the best ways possible. Lemongrass hung in the air, and the irresistible smell of barbecue was impossible to miss.
Bang Bang has been a long time coming, but it’s been worth the wait. On a balmy evening like the one we had, and are still having (late Melbourne summer’s for you), the indoor-outdoor deck is bright and so inviting, especially with a cocktail or three in hand. The Vermouth Spritz is the perfect way to begin your night, with Dolin Dry Vermouth orange and holy basil, topped with soda. It’ll be one before you know it.
But the food! When Daisy and I arrived, we were a bit late, having been stuck in traffic, but really, we were just in time, as food hit the table minutes within us being seated. It was all totally planned. Obviously.
Chargrilled King prawns with roasted shallots and lime, are juicy, sweet and a great way to get the meal kicking. The betel leaf with confit duck, and the betel leaves with pomelo are both delightfully herbaceous - although we’re divided over the table which we like better. I’m a sucker for pomelo personally, and I love how vibrant the pomelo combination is.
Kingfish sashimi with caramelised cashew and trout roe is refreshing, but also textural, with a unexpected amount of zest - all the favourite flavours from South East Asia. Chilli, lemongrass, citrus - perfect.
It’s hard to dislike crispy chicken wings, especially when they’re crispy as advertised. The chicken itself is juicy and moist inside the batter, only issue? You’ll definitely need to order two serves. Why share?
Chargrilled pork neck was also tender with a hint of sweetness, reminiscent of char siu for me, complete with the slightly charred edges. The crunch of the iceberg lettuce a refreshing contrast in texture, and a hit of chilli to bring everything to life.
The roasted pumpkin curry with kipfler potato with cinnamon and anise was a hit around the table, other than the fact that there was no where near enough gravy to drown the rice in - cause it was so darned good! Creamy, slightly sweet but nicely offset with a balance of spices, would come back and order this with a bowl of rice just for myself!
For those who are looking for something a bit more filling, the chargrilled Cape Grim short rib is definitely a solid choice. Literally! The meat from his just falls off the bone, so tender and very moreish.
To wrap up? Black sticky rice with pandan sweet cream, mango and coconut sorbet - a twist on a classic Thai dessert. Very easy to gobble up, but lacking some of the punch that the savoury dishes had in flavour.
We were also served some watermelon with chilli salt, which is quite a classic combo in South East Asia and very refreshing on the palate. Having said that, I’m not sure if it’s something I would order while out at a restaurant personally, but it is a great option if you might have miscalculated in your ordering, don’t have much space for dessert, but still want something sweet to end the night on.
All in all, good vibes, good cocktails, bright and punchy food (in general). It’s refreshing to have a modern Asian space that’s approachable, friendly and fresh, and would definitely be around for after-work drinks if I lived closer to Elsternwick!
294 Glenhuntly Road