9.25/10 on Wednesday 25 July 2018.
The Walrus: Just off Punch Lane, nice industrial layout, staff very welcoming. Recommend sitting at the bar to see the magic happen up close. 9/10
The Carpenter: A new CBD hot spot, Sunda has a humble lane entry into a thoughtfully done industrial fit-out. We sat at the bar where there was intimate connection with the chef and plenty of friendly banter with the maitre d’. Comfy stools, lovely wood work in the bathroom. 9/10
W: Cant do the Martini as we normally like….however the Bamboo is suggested to take its place. The staff noted that we like our Martini’s with brine so construct of the Bamboo was such to amazingly recreate that taste using a dry Sherry and Vermouth. This is the sort of ‘on the spot’ thinking we very much appreciate. Well done. 9/10
C: A rare move away from the Martini – our friendly sommelier/maitre d’ didn’t have the mixings for a martini – and instead, after a bit of beard scratching and artful gazing, recommended the Bamboo – a blend of dry sherry and dry vermouth with an orange twist. Turned out to be a cracking alternative to the martini with about half the alcohol! 10/10
W: We chatted to our server, Tim, and we highlighted the dishes that had gained a bit of buzz around town and then asked for him to work out the sharing and the order of things for us, which he took on with great enthusiasm. Among the odds and ends was a deep fried rendang bun that used wagyu cheek in the centre (like a jam donut structure)…which was delicious. A small plate of XO sauce covered crispy bits with cane sugar was rich and tasty and if you keep going back to it after each dish, it produces a different flavour profile each time…great crunchy texture as well.
The seafood parfait with fresh crab on top was sweet and rich whilst still delivering on the lightness that a parfait promises. The home made rice cakes were super crispy as a nice contrast. Really well done.
The stand-out entree was the house made roti bread with Vegemite curry paste and oil. The crispiest (on the outside) and smooth and stretchy on the inside roti is the nicest roti I have ever eaten. Dipped in the Vegemite/curry paste with a dip in the curry oil produces the most lush version of buttery Vegemite on toast flavour I can remember. Quite special.
C: A simple pickled cabbage dish as a palate teaser to get things going – went back to it a few times throughout the meal. Like kimche only better.
Some delicious fried chip type thingys with XO sauce that were also a great leveller between punchy flavours of the shared dishes. Another big win. And returned to many times during the evening.
Then a little savoury custard in a crispy cup. Yum
Then a randang bun – deep fried with a red paste. the texture of the bun was perfect. Outstanding.
A seafood parfait with crab and rice cakes – great combo of flavors and textures
And a vegemite paste with curry oil and the best roti I’ve ever had. Sadly, despite the Walrus ‘ encouragement, I couldn’t really pick the vegemite but the subtle flavors and the incredible roti were a winning combo.
W: The Marron main was beautiful and flavoursome. The shrimp main was a ceviche number with the head left on for the dinner to suck the juices out of. Not something I would normally go for, but for a once off….very nice and rich flavour. A really nice New Zealand Chardonnay by the glass was going down a little to easily as well. With all the richness of the entree’s, the more seafood tilt across the mains worked a treat. Great stuff and a good amount of theatre from Tim. 8/10
C: So there was a little contention on the mains – in the lead up to the order we were given a hearty pitch for the “only 5 in the universe” shrimp head and ceviche salad but instead chose to go with the marron and steamed bun. In his excitement our maître d’/ sommelier/ barman/ waiter Tim added both to our order. The shrimp head was a bit too much shrimp head for me, and I’d never deliberately order a ceviche – but it was extremely tasty. Especially the brains and other muck I sucked out of that head. Very rich flavour.
The Marron was delicious. The steam bun lovely and hot. Texture just right. An impressive dish. 9/10
W: So truffle ice cream was offered for dessert. I couldn’t really resist as its not something I had ever had before. The ice cream was deep fried with yuzu custard and coconut. But the truffle was quite amazing. Very rich, but ever changing as you continued on through the dish. The crunchy bits of truffle on top were also a nice texture and added a smoky note. Quite extraordinary. 10/10
C: An amazing dessert – truffle ice cream. With a crunchy black crust. Deep fried. With shaved truffle. And a yuzu custard. The flavor was extraordinary. Rich and multidimensional – sounds a bit wanky, but it was an amazing flavor/texture combo. 10/10
W: A nice little sticky was recommended by Tim and it went down exceptionally well with the truffle ice cream 9/10
W: Very enthusiastic service. We were very well looked after on all fronts. 10/10
C: Exceptional service – Tim, our maître d’/sommelier/waiter/entertainer only missed one beat – from his thoughtful choice of opener, to his recommendations, and his clear and extreme enthusiasm for the menu. It was that enthusiasm that lead to the addition of the prawn heads to our order – but they were pretty special! 9/10
W: Great fit out in side, very intimate feel when sitting at the bar as you are nice and close to the chefs and can discuss dishes with them. Service was outstanding and the dishes were very fresh with high levels of innovation on display. They are trying to get an Australian/Indo fusion going without resorting to putting eucalyptus in everything….and that is a great win in and of itself. 9/10
C: A really cool space to have dishes that are a constant delightful and unexpected twist on any and all indo classics. Coupled with engaged and enthusiastic staff (well, Tim really) and some thoughtfully recommended grog, Sunda is really up at the top of the list. 9.5/10
W: We asked for a boulevardier and after 10 seconds of jogging his own memory, Tim was onto it and delivered a very good version. 9/10
C: Tim whipped us up a fantastic boulevardier. Almost, but not quite, up to Graeme’s standard 9.5/10