When Supernormal opened last year it was the beginning of an exciting time for modern Asian cuisine in Melbourne. Sure, it was really just the relocation of Golden Fields from St Kilda to the City, but the hype of another restaurant with huge potential on Flinders Lane was reason for celebration.
We tried it as soon as we could in May last year and had a good experience. Circumstances have been against me getting back there since then. I missed out on not one, but two, work dinners when on business trips to Perth. Tonight we want something high in quality but quick as we are off to watch TV On The Radio at the Forum. Thankfully Supernormal has room and we only need to wait fifteen minutes while enjoying a glass of the Cabernet Franc.
Especially during the wait time, as we peruse the menu and make our selections for instant ordering, we notice how friendly and polite the waitstaff are. They offer to answer questions about the menu, quickly serve us a wine, and just make some general chit-chat. In no time the wait is over, but the rapport has been built, setting up a pleasant experience.
Last time we had tried a bunch of the smaller dishes but tonight I really want to try the Szechuan lamb. So we begin with a selection from the raw dishes. The tuna is extremely generous in its portion size, but to our tastes, is a little chewier than we expected. The flavour is great though, and the combination with the avocado puree, and the crunch of the saltbush is very nice. The saltbush is basically used instead of soy and its saltiness is quite addictive. There was no saltbush left on the plate at the end and it would work as a nice snack.
The Szechuan lamb does not disappoint in any way. In fact, it is absolutely gorgeous. The meat pulls apart easily, the spices used making for an exceptional depth of flavour, and a perfect amount of heat. The spring onion pancakes are more akin to flat bread in their harder texture, making for a strong vessel for the giving meat. The coriander paste is delicious and we probably could have gone for more. Once the pancake is finished we turn to the steamed rice which soaks up the remaining juices, and the lettuce leaves with nashi and miso are excellent in themselves, as well as providing some refreshment between tastes of the amazing lamb.
Having finished our glass of Cabernet Franc we turn to the Sangiovese from Beechworth which has been recommended by our waitperson who continues to be perfectly attentive. It combines well with the lamb and we are completely satisfied and ready for the concert.
I really like eating on the bar at Supernormal. It is interactive, but you can easily have intimate conversation and forget about the world around you between chats with the waitstaff. For the second time we’ve had a great experience here and judging by the full restaurant, so are many others.