Among the likes of Tokyo Tina, Saigon Sally and Mr Miyagi, the hottest new Asian fusion restaurant, Hawker Hall, can be found. In the hustle and bustle of Chapel Street I had thought there was no room for another iconic Asian restaurant. I stand corrected!
With inspiration from hawker markets in Singapore and Malaysia, head chef Damien Snell has created a menu attracting the masses. Despite seating 170 diners at a time, and a no reservation policy, a two-hour wait is not uncommon.
Covering the best of Asian cuisines, Hawker Hall incorporates a wide variety of flavour combinations and specialties. The 60-item menu acquires praise from patrons of all ages, however this pan-Asian dining experience leans towards the moderate to high end of the price spectrum. A sharing approach is recommended with an average cost of $35 per person, with each dish ranging from 8-22 dollars.
The stand out item in my opinion was the beef and black bean noodle dish with asian greens. Deliciously tender and rich, the beef matched beautifully with the crunch of the greens and silkiness of the noodles.
The atmosphere is electric however but may not suit all. The combination of blaring beats and 170 diners makes for a loud experience.
The décor is predominantly Asian -inspired with large wooden tables and quirky oriental ornaments. the interior certainly has a modern edge with illuminated Asian street signs, the words ‘forever independent,’ and bamboo slating.
Personally, my family jokes about us all being half Asian as we could all eat Asian food 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year. From special occasions, to busy nights, we more often than not turn to Asian cuisine for meals. Whether it be home made or eating out, Asian cuisine brings memories of family and friends. The meals we share bring social and emotional powers, aiding in strong family bonds.
We are truly spoilt for choice with Japanese, Chinese, Malaysian, Vietnamese and Korean restaurants scattered throughout urban Melbourne. Most stray away from tradition adopting a modern approach to fit the ‘Melbournian’ palate.
In a competitive market, Hawker Hall still manages to flourish, as the demand for pan Asian cuisine is clearly ever-present.