Uncle Restaurant Good Fusion Times in Collins St
Everyone has a favourite Uncle. You would do well to adopt Uncle Restaurant newly arrived on Collins St into your culinary family. The World Loves Melbourne attended a media dinner one fine Melbourne night where we sampled many of the dishes.
This is fusion at its best. When you say this is Vietnamese food with a twist, there's a big emphasis on twist! Any why not? Modern dining in a modern setting - oyu can hear the buzz as you approach the restaurant. With a balcony overlooking Collins St it's a locaqtion to be envied. Your adopted Uncle has done well! Whether it’s a visit from relatives, date night or a working lunch, St Kilda’s Uncle has proved itself to be a stayer for those wishing to sink their teeth into a contemporary Vietnamese feast.
The clever team behind the Carlisle Street hangout has launched this second venue in the heart of Melbourne’s CBD, where city dwellers and beyond can get their fill of pho and banh mi. I was amazed that the co-owner Rene recognised me from a previous visit to the St Kilda Uncle Restaurant during a Good Beer Week event where they paired food with Pho style beer (what an epic night that was!).
While you’ll find some of St Kilda’s signature dishes on the Collins St menu, Executive Chef and co-owner Dai Duong has spiced up the offering to include an array of new small and large sharing plates, both savoury and sweet. We like "spiced up"!
The menu’s ‘Little Guys’ include raw kingfish with longan, sesame, wasabi peas, topped with a coconut and tamarind foam, Mum’s chay spring rolls with iceberg lettuce and a fermented bean curd dipping sauce and Burrata and heirloom tomatoes, served with pickled papaya, Thai basil, puffed wild rice and Uncle’s famous barrel-aged fish sauce. This Burrata dish is groundbreaking in terms of fusion; taking a traditional Italian dish and adding a strong Thai element for perfect balance and big flavours.
Hungry diners can tuck into an array of ‘Big Guys’, including pan-seared barramundi with glass noodles, tamarind caramel, tomato and grilled pineapple salad, grilled Sher wagyu brisket with turmeric green bean fritters and café de Paris butter and wok tossed zucchini flowers, steamed rice rolls, soy beans, black fungus and chilli bean paste. The Sher wagyu brisket dish is a standout; imaginatively presented with fusion element of termeric green bean fritters.
Residing on the thriving top-end of Collins Street, the 100-seat restaurant and cocktail destination - also named ‘Uncle’ – has interiors by Foolscap Studio who have created a tropical ambiance and rooftop-vibe in the former upstairs office block, with open windows and leafy views overlooking the picturesque Collins Street architecture to the urban bustle below. This tropical ambience at the Paris end of Collins St is playful, accesible and welcome!
Co-owner, Rene Spence, says while the new Collins St venue is undeniably ‘Uncle-like’, it exudes a distinctive personality, with its own playful quirks and flavour infusions: “We see the venues as two Uncles who share the same family values, but with their own unique characteristics and defining features.” “St Kilda is the relaxed Uncle with its open air rooftop and laid back neighbourhood vibe, while Collins St is the cool Uncle that’s always up for a good time,” says Spence.
Its prime metropolitan location makes Uncle the ideal spot for a mid-day feed, after work drinks or late-night feasting. Located at Level 1, 15 Collins St, the CBD venue is open Monday through to Saturday from 12pm until late. Highly recommended.