Time Out says
This venue has closed.
With the Duxton Hill neighbourhood colonised by foreign flavours, Prawn Star reps local cuisine with its modern zi char plates.
Narrow, darkly lit and kitted out to take on the grit of a Melbourne alleyway, this cheekily named joint has its cool vibe down pat. Recycled and raw textures feature on the tables and walls. Beautiful window arches frame the back of the space. And ironic ‘Post No Bills’ posters and splashes of graffiti – commissioned by co-owner Chris Chong, previously of The Disgruntled Chef – deck the corrugated zinc behind the kitchen.
At this upmarket zi char, expect to pay upwards of $18 for the shared mains. The claypot bean vermicelli tossed with garlic, ginger, spring onion and a slight hint of peppery heat comes with local market-sourced blue swimmer crab or juicy king prawns ($32) – it’s a comfort food favourite. The binchotan coal kissed bowl of king prawns ($26) is equally tasty, served with a kimchi miso butter that reappears in the bigger All-Hands-on-Deck seafood platter ($68). You’ll want to mop it up the provided soft baguette slices. Less successful are the flaccid and bland scallops that aren’t helped by a too-salty XO sauce ($18).
The seafood-averse are equally looked after with a meaty chicken leg coated with sriracha, honey and lime and served alongside baby bak choy leaves ($24). There’s also a hefty grass-fed ribeye ($58/300g), over which drapes that signature miso butter and a lobster mushroom ragout.
The drinks list of six fruit-driven cocktails ($15), Lost Coast and Modern Times craft beers ($14-$16), and seven New World wines ($14-$18/glass) prices Prawn Star competitively against its liquored up neighbours. Snack options such as the tower of banh mi fries pungent with vinegar brine ($12), creamy lobster poutine with tender Morton bay bug meat ($12), and moreish sriracha caramel popcorn ($8) tips the scales in Prawn Star’s favour.
Be warned, though. A meal for three without booze can easily tot up to $130 before tax. It’s not bad for the fresh and meaty seafood, familiar flavours injected with new
surprises, and chummy service – just try not to think of it as zi char and you’ll find the prices easy enough to swallow.
21 Duxton Hill
|Opening hours:||Mon-Thu noon-2.30pm, 6-10.30pm; Fri noon-2.30pm, Fri-Sat 6pm-late|
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