Tregan Borg reviews ‘Bang Bang’ in Elsternwick
294 Glen Huntly Rd, Elsternwick VIC.
Click PLAY below to hear Tregan’s review on 3AW Breakfast
I love a bit of a back-story, and Bang Bang has an interesting one to tell!
Previously a functional rifle range, the building had been derelict for over 20 years.
Situated on Glen Huntly Rd, in the heart of Elsternwick (directly opposite Elsternwick Station) it was in need of a significant face-lift, not quite fitting in with the continually evolving main street.
The land is government owned, and tenders were invited to restore this historical space into a venue where locals could casually hang-out during the day, or wine and dine at night.
After almost two years of planning and site development, along came Bang Bang, an all-day south east Asian eatery with ex-Longrain chef Matt Dunbar heading up the kitchen.
It’s an interesting venue with an indoorish-outdoorish section overlooking the also recently spruced up park.
The park was a significant part of the re-development replacing the old, and less inviting version into a more upbeat and family friendly area.
The fit out of the actual restaurant is typical, blonde woods, greenery, a long bar, you know the deal it looks nice.
On a cold winters night, we happily dined in the indoorish-outdoorish section. I initially thought “uh-oh I’m going to be cold” however the area was enclosed enough to provide warmth without sacrificing the feeling of being outside.
I imagine in the daylight the space would completely transform.
The menu is heavy on the snacks and small shares, with limited larger plates options. The snacks start from around $7, and the small shares range from between $12-$22.
The larger plates section only has five items and includes, whole snapper steamed snapper in soy broth, charred cape grim short-rib, ginger and holy basil broth and a whole holmbrae chicken with green nahm jim. Price point for these guys is upwards of $45, so overall prepare to spend a minimum of $50 per head if you’re looking for a substantial meal.
Housemade sour pork and rice sausage, scud chilli and jaew ($12) were a simple little starter.
Bite sized plump sausages, fermented pork (the sour component) with a sticky rice, finished off in the pan for a bit of colour.
Wrapped in fresh ice-berg and dipped in the a chilli dipping sauce “jaew”.
It was almost like a meatier, less deep fried version of a spring roll.
Soft shell crab’s always a crowd pleaser, but you will need to order two of this dish if you are planning on feeding a crowd, the serving size was really on the skimpy side for $22.
I can’t fault the flavour – crispy soft shell crab, a rich dry red curry, heavy in fish sauce with a nice kick of chilli.
A hog at heart I found it difficult splitting this delicious crustacean, and was a stretch to share between two.
The crispy pork hock had me feeling a little like Mrs. Flinstone.
There’s nothing like a dramatic hunk of pork joint arriving to your table accompanied by an equally impressive knife to get you through the challenge of eating it.
This dish is DYI, so roll up your sleeves dig in.
The hock’s slowly braised, producing a succulent and soft meat, then deep fried for that superbly crisp hit.
Shredding all the meaty bits off the bone was a joy in itself.
The soft braised meat, with some crackle bits in-between the soft slider baos was yum, yum, yum.
The papaya and kohlrabi salad ($13.50) was textually pleasing with zesty flavours of tamarind and lime, and worked very well alongside the fatty yet unapologetic pork.
The waitress was very sweet in her approach when it came to the dessert up-sell.
She politely told me that she initially required convincing about a black sticky rice for a dessert, but paired with the fresh mango, pandan cream and coconut sorbet it was really a lovely dish!
Girlfriend you had me at sweet sticky rice.
I would go back for this dessert.
Separate grains of black rice, sticky enough but not stodgy, sweet enough but not overly, warm enough but not too hot to melt the coconut sorbet.
Fresh mango for a kick, and crunchy pieces of macaron.
Need I say more?
It’s a family friendly space and there’s a limited kids menu all under $10.
There were a few little tackers enjoying a meal with their families sitting around us. It was nice to families enjoying a good meal.
We are seeing more of these genuinely good restaurants pop in the burbs, servicing the locals without the expense of quality.
Bang Bang is open 7 days a week from early til late, with variations of the menu offered throughout the day.