Monday, June 30, 2014

Mr Nice Guy, Melbourne CBD by Big Fil

With Ms Ruby Grapefruit heading off to Bali for a couple of weeks it was decided a lunchtime bon voyage was in order.  I’d had my eye on Mr Nice Guy for a while, located a few minutes from work in the much underappreciated precinct of Healeys Lane.  Opened by the same guys as Middle Fish (see Snooze's review in February 2012) in Carlton it had looked really nice the few times I’d walked past, and being Thai promised a few decent options for the vegetarian Ms No Meat.

First impressions of Mr Nice Guy were excellent.  Greetings are friendly and the set out of the restaurant warm and colourful.  A little squishy perhaps but just loved the tables, the open kitchen and the bustling but not rushed atmosphere.  The water brought to our table came with cute Thai style metal glasses and the menu had enough variety that we were all able to pick something to our tastes. 

First up and probably the best dish of the day was my massaman curry.  Associated with Muslims this is usually (always?) made with beef and potato in a spiced but not chilli hot coconut based sauce.   Served with rice which is perfect for soaking up the sauce, it’s a slightly sweet, comforting food type of dish which at its best has a surprisingly complex flavour.  The (wagyu neck) beef was tender, the sauce creamy, the expression on my face happy as I slowly ate my lunch.  Snooze, who also tried it, described it as better than her choice.

Which brings us to her green curry chicken.  It’s not something I usually order but was recommended by Ms No Meat (based on a very good vegetarian version at her local).  Both Snooze and I found it kind of bland in flavour.  I am hardly an expert on Thai green curry, but I was expecting more depth to the flavour.

Ms Ruby Grapefruit decided to go with the som tum salad, adding grilled chicken breast pieces.  Now while som tum is a green papaya based salad it’s not your regular salad, with strong flavours and a real slow build up chilli punch.  While I didn’t sample it Mr Nice Guy’s version appeared to be comparatively tame.  Ms Ruby did comment that she enjoyed it though, and the pieces of chicken certainly looked beautifully moist.

Ms No Meat tossed up a few options before deciding on the Salad Puk, smoky tofu and vegetables with satay sauce.  Talking to her about it while everything was fresh and she enjoyed it, it was fairly average with no noticeable smokiness to the tofu or anything to make the salad shine.

A very nice place to eat with friendly staff who had our dishes at our table quickly and with a minimum of fuss.  The food itself was good without being great, possibly toned down in flavours a little to accommodate local tastes.  Somewhere that I liked the little things so much I want to return to see if I can find a favourite dish on the menu.

Food – 7
Service – 8
Ambiance – 8.5
Price – 7

Enter Via Healeys Lane
Melbourne VIC 3000
Tel: (03) 9973 1761

Mr. Nice Guy on Urbanspoon

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