21 Jul Sunda Dining, Melbourne CBD
Sunda made waves when it opened mid-year, known for its intriguing and contemporary take on South-east Asian cuisine. Given that we had a large number of people for our booking that night, we partook in the banquet menu.
I’m always a little concerned when it comes to set menus; I prefer to pick dishes that I know I’ll enjoy. I needn’t have worried, as there was a large range of dishes served and all were tasty. Right from the beginning, the crispy tempeh impressed. It had an addictive chew and plenty of umami. We received a number of lighter dishes including Pie Tee, Otak Otak and Raw Scallops, before moving on to the more substantial Egg Noodles, Nasi Ulam and Lamb Rump. My highlights of the spread were the flavoursome Egg Noodles with XO sauce, chicken crackling and pepperberry, and their take on Otak Otak.
Our meal at Sunda left such an impression that I returned shortly afterwards to try a few other dishes, and my second visit did not disappoint. The Wagyu Rendang Bun was deep-fried and crispy on the outside, whilst the rest of the bun had a nice chew to it. There were strong kaffir lime flavours running through the rendang, and the ginger and fermented sambal were delicious. Pickled radish helped to refresh the palate between bites. Could have easily eaten more than one of these.
The Buttermilk Roti with Vegemite Curry was an off-menu item that was available in limited quantities each day. Admittedly I’m not a fan of Vegemite, but the flavour of the Vegemite was very subtle and I may not have picked it out if I didn’t know it was an ingredient. The roti itself was incredibly buttery, flakey and crisp. You could smell the butter wafting up when it hit the table.
To finish was the seasonal special of Toasted Rice and Black Truffle Fried Ice Cream with kaya coconut and pandan custard, wattleseed crumb, and fresh shaved truffle. It was a very fragrant dessert with plenty of truffle flavour and lots of texture. The kaya was authentic, and the dessert as a whole was not overly sweet.
Sunda went down as one of my favourite dining experiences of the year, and is already tabbed for a revisit.