Crisp pork baos or salmon with namjim and coconut? Cheeseburger spring rolls or Omni Meat dumplings? Xinjiang lamb ribs or flambé whole barramundi? These are just a handful of the tough choices to be made from the extensive menu at Flinders Lane's latest hospitality resident Cha Ching, set to open on October 12.
The menu draws on everything from Japanese techniques of tempura and sashimi to Thai dishes such as green coconut curry and papaya salad, Korean additions including housemade kimchi, all with a couple of Chinese plates thrown in too – think five-spice crispy pork belly and fried rice. With plenty to choose from, the five-plate banquet option for just $45 per person for dinner (and $42.50 for lunch) is an easy and reasonable option.
Responsible for it all is owner and head chef Ken Leung, who has worked at a Michelin-starred Hong Kong restaurant and across many of Melbourne’s favourites such as Silks and Lucy Liu. He has been working on his new project for three years and the updated fitout by Brunswick design studio, We Are Humble, has reimagined the space with coloured LED lights, neon logos, dark green upholstery and high bar seating.
Curated by Sean McMahon, the cocktail menu will be spicy and theatrical. The Train to Busan is a hot mix of tequila, Triple Sec, lime juice and gochujang. For those with a sweeter tooth, the Bubble Gum should do the trick with vodka, Hubba Bubba syrup, lime juice, cranberry and grapefruit juice.
In keeping with the emphasis on luck in Chinese culture, Cha Ching will have diners feeling lucky, as the first 100 dine-in customers will be gifted a custom branded chopstick and cutlery set. And for one extra lucky customer, there is also a winning Golden Ticket up for grabs. The Golden Ticket prize includes dinner at Cha Ching and an overnight Melbourne CBD staycation, valued at over $450.
Time will tell whether Cha Ching will prove to be a new Flinders Lane favourite.