Out Of Sundaland, Thornbury

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MELBOURNE | Out Of Sundaland Thornbury is a new restaurant on High Street that fuses influences from all across Asia with fresh Australian ingredients to create dishes that above all, taste great. The restaurant sources its produce from sustainable suppliers and uses native ingredients too. The City Lane was invited to try a few of the dishes on the menu recently and we’re going to get straight to the point – we’re already planning a return visit.

If you’re wondering about the name, no it’s not a misspelling of Sunderland. The “Out of Sundaland” theory posits that the now submerged Sunda shelf, which connected much of South East Asia during last glacial period of the Pleistocene, was the cradle of Asian civilization. It’s always been a theory, and most evidence points towards the “Out of Taiwan” theory, but the philosophy behind the idea suits what the restaurant is trying to do.

The space is casual, with a mixture of eclectic tunes and artwork giving colour and flavour to the plywood panelling around the walls. The dining area is divided into several zones and it all comes together quite nicely – a refreshing change from the exposed brick/industrial template we’re used to seeing. Food wise, co-owners Nathan Richardson and Kasi Metalfe (who both spent time living in Darwin which has also influenced their cooking) have an impressive knowledge of various Asian cuisines. We had a chat with Nathan after taking a look at the menu and it’s evident that the medley of flavours that they and head chef Shyam Maharjan (ex Hanoi Hannah) have put onto the menu have been done with a lot of forethought. It’s about respecting ingredients and traditional techniques while not being bound by rules.

The menu contains a selection of share plates and small dishes from the grill with a real emphasis on sharing. We started with the kingfish ceviche, simply done with yuzu kosho, baby perilla and pickled daikon. Japanese simplicity done right. We then moved to China with the house chicken ribs, coated in an addictively crispy coating of numbing Sichuan spices. To follow was one of our favourite dishes of the night – beef bones and marrow roasted with miso, dashi, shallots, lime & scorched bread. We could have happily eaten nothing but this Thai/Japanese fusion dish all night, with all of our senses being stimulated with each unctuous, zesty bite. Nathan told us that this was originally going to be coming off the Spring menu but due its popularity it’s staying put.

The crispy pigs ear salad also hit the spot, with just the right amount of fatty chewiness and crunch in each bite to perfectly offset the fresh Asian veges and the surprisingly spicy house sauce. Nathan told us of the challenges of balancing proper spice levels (and a desire to challenge taste buds) with what some customers are able to handle, and what they’ve settled on to us has just the right level of spice – heat is present when it adds something to a dish, a never just for the sake of it.

After several light dishes we opted for the slow braised beef cheek. The slow 4 hour cooked meat here is super tender. The spiced gravy is beautifully fragrant while the crispy carrot chips, egg noodles, spring onions and pickled daikon all work in unison to great effect. We were quite full by this stage of the night but this dish was too good not to finish off.

The drinks menu continues the theme of the food, with a solid selection of Asian inspired cocktails. Take the Green Tea Mojito for example – a twist on the simple mojito, the Out of Sundaland version uses aged white rum and green tea for a simple, tasty twist that retains the refreshing hallmarks of the classic cocktail. Even the Suntory Highball, a staple in Japan but rare in Australia, makes an appearance on the menu, albeit under the name “Take Me To Tokyo”. For fans of craft beer there are six beers on tap from the likes of Temple, Kaiju and 2 Brothers, and across from the bar there’s a cabinet with an impressive bottle selection. Up the top of the cabinet are your typical commercial lagers from Asia like Singha and Tiger but move down and soon you find yourself staring at properly interesting beers from the likes of Stone and Garage Project.

Out Of Sundaland has come onto the scene seemingly from nowhere and is kicking goals already, giving punters a very good reason to visit this part of town. If there’s such a thing as inauthentic authenticity, this is it. Get on it before the world gets out – if Out of Sundaland was in the CBD or had the marketing budget of a Chris Lucas restaurant, there would be lines every night. It’s not often we love every single thing we order, and with food this good, and owners this passionate, we won’t be surprised if there are lines when the weather warms up.

Out Of Sundaland

806 High Street
Thornbury
Victoria 3071
Australia

Telephone: (03) 9480 1282
E-mail: n/a
Website: https://outofsundaland.com.au/

Open
Thu – Fri: 5:00pm to late
Sat: 3:00pm to late
Sun: 3:00pm to 10:00pm

Out of Sundaland Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Paul
Paul
Paul founded The City Lane back in 2009 as a place to share photos of his travels around Europe with friends and family. The City Lane might have changed quite a lot since those early days but one thing that’s remained constant is Paul’s passion for food, travel and culture, and a desire to photograph and write about his experiences. Paul has a strong inquisitive nature that drives him to look beneath the surface in order to discover what really makes a city and its people tick, and what better way to do this than over a good meal or drink, with a city’s locals, at places that people who live in that city actually frequent. Paul is also a co-host of The Brunswick Beer Collective, a podcast that may or may not actually be about beer.

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