Supernormal Part 2 - Take Your International Guests
Supernormal delivers when it comes to entertaining your international guests, in ticking all the boxes. We visited Supernormal on a Saturday night with our Canadian friends and expectations were exceeded. Check out our Best Restaurants in Melbourne. Also check out our Best Japanese Restaurants in Melbourne.
Melbourne is full of standout culinary options but we wanted to take our friends to somewhere that's "so hot right now" and somewhere acclaimed and hatted. Supernormal has made a big impression from the "get go" winning a hat at The Age Good Food Guide Awards, let alone a bold neon window display. Bookings are taken for groups of 6 or more - lucky we scraped in for an early Saturday night sitting.
Supernormal is about Andrew McConnells favourite dishes from trips to Asia, notably Shanghai and Hong Kong. The menu is set up well for groups - just share dishes from small to large offerings and you can cover a lot of ground. Start with the Raw bar and the Snacks and appetisers. The Tuna, ponzu & tagarashi above was a killer start with clean fresh flavours.
We were keen to try out a broad spectrum of the menu and should have gone for the great value set menu at $65 a head, but we opted to choose our own dishes, ordering several of each proving more expensive. Kimchi, cabbage & radish was a satisfying journey into kimchi. My mother in law is fastidious about kimchi having travelled much to Asia and won't rave unless she has to. Thumbs up were given to this tantalising appetiser.
Supernormal boasts a raw bar, a cool concept in itself. Smoked beef, mustard leaf, clam mayonaisse was a triumph of taste and texture with cream, crunch and silky beef. By now our Canadian friends and my mother in law were impressed with the class and broad taste profile at Supernormal. Andrew McConnell translates his Asian adventures into this one great culinary adventure at Supernormal.
The famous New England Lobster Roll could not be denied so we ordered several of these. Generous portion of lobster and a killer sauce and sweet brioche, is a cacophony of flavour. Andrew McConells take on this New York snack was developed for his Golden Fields restaurant in St Kilda (now Luxembourg) and he sold 60,000 of them there. And he says he's sold 18,000 more of them since opening Supernormal. Chart topper dish.
Dishes with finesse. The White cut chicken, cold noodles, sesame, peanuts, chilli was a hearty welcoming dish that again took us to a place of freshness, quality cuts and peanut crunch. The chilli set the dish off with a little kick.
Dumplings are so hot right now. Supernormal served up these rewarding Prawn and chicken dumplings, chilli and vinegar sauce, with 6 in a serving. The skin was slightly sticky and the fillings first class. The chilli and vinegar sauce is a must, and I found myself spooning sauce all over the dumplings.
Supernormal has picked up on some trends in Melbourne, bringing its own twist. What I love is that it's a unique offering in Melbourne, not a copy of another, or indeed predictable. This is exciting modern food built on traditional roots and stories. Fried chicken has been a Melbourne obsession and Supernormal served up a teriffic compelling rendition.
Even the Vegetable plates were cooked to perfection with crispy greens.
Supernormal largely caters for shared dining and the Slow cooked Szechuan lamb, spring onion pancake, coriander paste was a highlight. The slow cooked lamb was delectable but it was the sauce that arrested attention. And we love a good spring onion pancake.
And so I had to take another photo of this dish. So pretty, and perfect to show off to international guests. We also enjoyed the Whole Roasted Flounder as a satisfying but not too heavy dish. Dishes were consumed with Iceberg salad.
Not only was the food top notch but the wine list proved a winner. The Magpie Estate Shiraz Grenache was superb with our meal, so we ordered another. Some say you should choose a good white or even a pinot with Asian flavours, but a great red can also do the business.
The ambience at Supernormal is of a buzzing restaurant with an element of quirk. This is not an ostentatious fit out by any means. Almost a sophisticated cafeteria feel about it. The bar is sleek and modern and the tables pleasant enough, but the ceiling and pillars suggest a once humbler setting. Exposed brick and polished concrete floor. Can we call it semi industrial?
Supernormal has been captivating since it opened. Next time we might launch into a few numbers in the downstairs karaoke bar. Highly recommended.