Food and Drink
Posted by Steph Wade
23. May, 2013
Here we are; sitting with top buttons undone after inhaling a modern Asian-fusion feast of sorts. We’re ensconced down the back of a new restaurant at the beach end of Fitzroy Street in St Kilda. Here lies U-Village, an international brand that’s been operating for over a decade in Malaysia.
Owner Kai Yee has fitted out his place with an omnipresent industrial look: hanging light globes, a modern bar, teak furniture and terracotta pots to complete the “village” feel.
He’s also responsible for an enormously fun menu, with tapas style entrees and mains designed to share. The food is predominantly Thai but with some classic Chinese, Malaysian and Japanese dishes.
We sink our teeth into the Perilla leaf five-spiced prawn, with sambal, lime and caramel sugar ($8 for two), and the duck san choy bao with pomegranates, pine nuts & sweet soy sauce ($10). The prawn entrée is small, but respectably sweet and salty. A tip on eating the duck san choi bow: pour the light sauce all over it and slurp the juicy broth down in one messy go.
Recommended mains are the red rendang curry with soft shell crab, kaffir lime leaves, eggplant and mint ($25), and the 24 hour sweet vinegar braised pork belly, with cinnamon, chili, black peppercorns, paw paw and mango salad ($25). The serving of six meaty crabs is generous, and the familiar garlic-ginger notes creep in with the curry sauce.
Likewise, the glazed, slow cooked pork belly is excellent, however sadly for us fat lovers there was no crispy crackling due to the slow cook process. The julienned salad does make up for it.
Dessert options are a must; the lychee lime granita ($6) is a perfect palate cleanser – it’s sickly sweet but a squeeze of the lime wedge will even out the sugar. The pandan creme brulee with salted honeycomb ($14) is perfect; its unusual mint taste is an optimal finish to a satisfying meal.
What did we learn from U-Village? It’s easy to be cynical about the name or the neon logo, however the food really is fairly high end at casual prices, along with a decent wine list and beers on tap.
1/29 Fitzroy Street, St Kilda
Open 7 days, 12pm 3pm & 6pm – late
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