Bang Bang in Elsternwick is the new home of chef Matthew Dunbar. Formerly of Longrain, Chef Dunbar’s reputation precedes him, and given the popularity of the short popup Bang Bang venture at South Wharf towards the end of last year, people have been long awaiting this new permanent home.
I attended a blogger dinner that was hosted as part of their opening launch. The weather gods turned on a glorious day.
Designed to take advantage of the location, the concertina doors were opened up to create a spacious combined indoor and outdoor area that had us basking in the afternoon sun. It was easy to see that this would be a perfect space for a summer evening (or a few cheeky Sunday bevvies).
We were treated to a selection from their menu which focuses on Indochine cuisine. The dishes are all designed to be shared, encouraging a warm and friendly atmosphere.
We began with an array of smaller plates including little parcels of confit duck wrapped in a betel leaf. There was a vegetarian version too, which replaced the duck with pomelo.
We also had chargrilled prawns served with a roasted shallot and lime sauce, kingfish sashimi with caramelised cashews and trout roe, and crispy chicken ribs with Bang Bang sriracha. Is your mouth watering yet? Vegetarians need not fear: the standout dish was a take on an egg salad served with a son-in-law egg, green mango, and a basil and lime dressing. It was amazing. I could have easily eaten about eleven serves of this.
After the starters, we moved onto the larger dishes including a tofu, avocado and sesame seed salad, with a mint, black vinegar and ginger dressing.
This had all the carnivores at the table rethinking their opinions on tofu. Everyone was in agreement that you could definitely make friends with this salad.
We were served a roasted pumpkin curry with kipfler potatoes and spiced with cinnamon and anise. It was creamy and warming, and we all piled rice onto our plates to mop up all the sauce.
The last dish of main course was a chargrilled Cape Grim short rib, served in a wild ginger and holy basil broth. It took the phrase ‘falling off the bone’ to a whole new level.
The serving sizes were very generous, but there was no hesitation in activating our dessert stomachs. We were served gorgeous plates of black sticky rice with mango, pandan cream, and coconut sorbet. Asian desserts are not usually my favourite, but this dish was lovely. The fresh fruit and sorbet added a refreshing contrast to the sweet, heavy black rice.
To finish, we had watermelon with chilli salt. It was an interesting combination, although I think the chilli salt would have been better paired with a sour fruit like green mango, or even a tart pineapple.
Bang Bang is a beautiful space with equally beautiful food. It is a great place to catch up with friends and I will definitely be back to try more of the menu — and have another serve of the tofu salad.
Moni loves food. No really, she LOVES food. She spends a lot of time eating, cooking, photographing or writing about food.
294 Glenhuntly Rd