Sunday, June 15, 2014

BangPop, South Wharf by Bureaucrat

On a cold wintry night, Ruby Grapefruit, Big Fil and I met up with Elisa from Nouveau Potato and two of her friends for dinner at BangPop.  We picked this place based on its location – as we all were meeting up for dinner during the week.

Up until this point, I had never been to South Wharf before – there’s water, bridges, apartments and collection of upmarket-ish restaurants and pubs.  It’s very reminiscent of Canary Wharf in London – where I spent two cold years. BP is a pretty big restaurant – we estimate that they can easily accommodate over 100 diners.  I quite like the design of the place – the warm candle light, the mosaic of colourful tiles, mirrors, the high, lofty ceilings and the muted rhythms of music in the background. 

We eschewed the starters and got straight into the mains.  Pad ka'nha moo krob is a stir fried broccoli dish with these delightfully moreish crispy pork belly 'croutons' tossed through w oyster sauce, garlic and chilli ($18.90).  You can't quite see the pork in the photos as they're hidden by the veg.  They were more like reasonably thick-ish slices of pork rather than crouton in size.

The pad pak tofu - stir fried tofu w gai lan, baby corn, wood ear mushrooms, beanshoots and chilli ($20.90) - was very fresh and crunchy.

I saw gaeng som pak - orange veg curry ($15.90) - on the menu and had to order it.  I've never come across an orange curry before.  It was quite sour in flavor (gets the tastebuds going!) w pumpkin, baby corn, woodear mushrooms, snake beans and Thai basil .

The pad thai ($15.90) was good but probably the least interesting dish of the night.  We got a plain pad thai (it can come with chicken or seafood) but that's not to say that it's a true vegetarian dish as it has dried shrimp in it.

The gaeng on nua - Lanna beef curry w snake beans, kaffir lime, galangal and chilli ($24.90) - was really aromatic.  As it was brought to our table, you could smell the anise/licorice wafting from the fennel fronds that was the garnish to the dish.

The khao kai yang nam prik - half a grilled chook w sticky rice, chilli relish and papaya salad ($28.90) - was quite impressive to behold.  By memory, the dish is for two.  Tender, juicy chook with a crunchy, spicy papaya salad (I didn't even dare to try the chilli relish).

We also got some large serves of rice to go with our meal ($5.90).

Although we were all quite full, I was keen to try dessert.  As is often the case, if one person is brave/greedy enough to have dessert, others will follow.  So even those that insisted that they wouldn't have dessert ended up ordering something.

Ruby Grapefruit was the only one that ordered the coconut jelly, which is comprised of young coconut jelly w coconut flesh and toasted coconut ($8.90).  We loved the presentation of it and it was a nice, generous, individual serve.

The rest of us went for the Thai style tapioca ($10.90).  This was big!  It's practically a meal in of itself - it can be easily be eaten by three people.  A big bowl of tapioca w pandan, mango sorbet and lemongrass syrup.  As much as I liked it, I couldn't finish it off.

For drinks, pretty much everyone except me got the raspberry bomb mocktail.  I think Ruby was the first person to order it and when we saw how delicious it looked, everyone had to get one for themselves.  It's made up of raspberry, lime w ginger beer ($8).

Food – 8.5
Ambiance – 8.5
Service – 8
Price – 7.5

I quite like BP.  I quite like that it has a fairly extensive menu of Thai dishes that you don’t usually see in restaurants here in Melbourne.  I also like the fact that they’ve added a twist of fusion for some of the dishes. 

All of the dishes are characterised by strong wok hei and robust flavours.  Serving size is fairly reasonable - they're bigger than I expected (since in my experience, serving sizes at Thai places can tend to be on the small side).  Most of the dishes have chilli in it - and some of the really nice ones had a lot of chilli, which made it difficult for me to properly enjoy them.  Having said that, there are enough non-chilli dishes on the menu, too.  Also, there's a reasonable range of vegetarian options.

The food comes out promptly and the service is friendly.  Although we tried quite a few dishes, there’s still a few more that I want to go back and try.

I reckon BP's a great place for a drink or a meal – the place just has a really nice vibe to it.  It’s kind of like being at someone’s swish and big apartment.  It’s surprisingly easy to get to.  It’s just opposite Crown casino, and there’s a tram stop just near by.

36 South Wharf Promenade
South Wharf 3006
Telephone: 9245 9800

BangPop on Urbanspoon

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