10 Sep Spring and Summer, St Kilda
Opening right on time, Spring and Summer is the latest pan-Asian restaurant to hit St Kilda. Though I’m usually a bit hesitant when it comes to fusion cuisine, finding out that the kitchen is under the charge of ex-Lucas Group chef Golf, made me intrigued. As co-owner and head chef, Golf lends a heavy and experienced hand to the food offerings. Thai, Japanese and Korean feature here, though the current menu for the season leans more towards the Thai spectrum of things. You might find Korean-inspired BBQ corn, with gochujang and melted Ashgrove smoked cheddar cheese, or the more Japanese wok-tossed edamame with wasa furi, or even lotus root chips with shichimi salt.
The clean contemporary look has been designed by co-owner Jessica, with some greenery to inject life into the long and narrow space.
In terms of drinks, there are craft beers and wines, or for something non-alcoholic, there’s also a house-made pink-coloured lemonade. The cocktails are colourful and strong, some featuring ingredients more commonly found in Asian cuisine, like matcha, lychee and lemongrass.
The focus at Spring and Summer is on share plates, allowing us to dabble in a few different dishes. A fusion of Japanese and Thai, the superbly fresh kingfish sashimi comes sitting in a shallow pool of green nam jim, the sour and spicy flavours rounded out with a few drops of coconut cream. Fried school prawns are crunchy, perfect for dipping into the lime mayo. Simply addictive.
Coming to the larger plates, we order the tender grilled pork neck. The seasoning is subtly sweet, balancing with the chilli tamarind dipping sauce. The beef sirloin jungle curry mightn’t look it, but it’s very spicy. The thinly sliced beef is lightly cooked, still retaining a slight blush, and basil, chillis and corn can be found floating in the broth. Tame the fire with the cold, poached spinach and its slightly sweet black sesame sauce.
It’s an Asian restaurant so rice is, of course, involved. Plain rice is always an option, but Golf’s fried rice provides a tasty and filling alternative. The fried rice, which varies according to available seasonal ingredients, tonight features pineapple, egg, onion, gai lan, bacon and bits of lemongrass. A tad on the sweeter side, but dark, handsome and delicious.
For desserts we could either go the Japanese or Southeast Asian route. As tempting as the pandan coconut ice cream sounds, we decide on the former. The matcha panna cotta is accompanied by chocolate soil, and the sweetness of the crunchy sesame brittle is needed to balance the intense matcha flavour and its associated bitterness. A bit more of the sesame brittle would be helpful; it’s good when eaten all together, and perfect for those who don’t have a major sweet tooth. If you prefer sweeter desserts, the pandan ice cream might be more up your alley.
We were very impressed by our meal tonight. With their delicious menu and casual vibes, Spring and Summer bring a breath of fresh air to St Kilda.
Disclaimer: I was invited to Spring and Summer as a guest, however, opinions expressed here are purely my own, and are based on my experience at the time
Spring and Summer
192 Barkly Street
St Kilda, VIC, 3182
(03) 9534 2909