MELBOURNE | Moonhouse, the new restaurant from the team behind popular restaurants Tokyo Tina, Firebird, New Quarter and Hanoi Hannah, has just opened in Balaclava. I was invited to a preview canape-style event to check out the space and sample the offering.
It’s housed in a heritage listed art deco building originally built as a bank, before becoming a Red Rooster, and just prior to Moonhouse, Italian restaurant Ilona Staller. Renovations have been sympathetic to the original architecture, with dark fittings, exposed plaster walls, and flourishes like gold accents and intricate door handles leaning into the building’s heritage.
Downstairs it’s a 74 seat restaurant and bar, with a 30 seat private dining room and event space, complete with its own kitchen and bar, upstairs. Head chef Shirley Summakwan’s menu features Cantonese inspired dishes, with a contemporary spin. It’s follow the same philosophy as the contemporary Japanese, Thai, and Vietnamese inspired food at Commune Group’s aforementioned venues.
Expect dishes like prawn toast, presented as a prawn crisp with bisque dipping sauce, Hainanese chicken club sandwiches, and soft shell crab with with garlic, black bean, and pepper. Highlights for me include the nostalgic sweet and sour cauliflower with capsicum and pineapple, and the Dan Dan noodles with mushroom and sesame.
To drink, it’s an all-Australian list of wines, beers and spirits. Try the ‘Martini 282’, a take on the classic using Idle Hour unfiltered vodka, Cinc a Sept pinot noir vermouth, and pickled grapes.
282 Carlisle Street
Wed – Fri: 5:00pm to 11:00pm
Sat – Sun: 12:00pm to 4:00pm; 5:00pm to 11:00pm