Since opening their doors which feels like just yesterday, we finally made it to check out what the sister of Chin Chin & Kong had to offer. Keeping with the same theme of Asian street food done with a Melbourne twist, the place was no doubt pumping when we arrived on a Sunday evening.
ATMOSPHERE & SERVICE
Taking inspiration from Singapore & Malaysia, Hawker Hall is similar to its siblings in that it’s massive in size, featuring vibrant Asian decor, high ceilings, neon signage and plastic plates and cutlery to give off a true street food experience. Inspiration comes from the hawker centres located in Asia, showcasing authentic street meats and an abundance of beer on tap.
With both indoor and outdoor seating available, the high ceilings with exposed timber beams create the feeling of being in a true hawker market. Walking in, you are instantly greeted by the host and fingers crossed there’s a table available! Moving past the bar with a wall of beers on tap, we arrived at our table, mid way between the bar and open concept kitchen in the back corner. Perfect views of all staff in action!
The service was attentive and friendly, which was surprising for how busy the place was. The waiter went through the menu in detail, keeping in mind our shellfish allergy. After making our selection of food, he came back to let us know that unfortunately we weren’t able to get a few of the dishes, due to our allergy, which was very mindful and thorough on his part to ensure nothing happened to us. Not many restaurants go to such extent to ensure all dietary requirements are 100% looked after.
Like the fit out of the restaurant, the menu is massive! Split into a dozen different categories from dumplings & buns, satay BBQ, curries, stir fries and rice (just to name a few). We decided it would be best to order something from almost every section to get a good selection of something different.
Being one of the only nice days in Melbourne so far this spring, it was a must to get something refreshing to start the dinner. I wasn’t after a cocktail, more something fruity and refreshing to quench my thirst from the afternoon heat. I went with a Pineapple & Mint concoction, which was exactly what I needed!
Once we received our drinks, the food started to flow. First was the ‘Roti Canai’ with curry sauce & eggplant sambal. The roti was perfectly cooked, with all the right textures of a true roti consisting of dense yet fluffy, yet a crunchy finish. The curry and eggplant dips were amazing (& mixed together even better!).
Next was the ‘Malay Vegetable Spring Rolls’ served with a green chilli soy. Three massive piping hot spring rolls came out with a soy dipping sauce that had a slight kick to it. The rolls came straight from the fryer, which meant it took at least 10 minutes for them to cool down enough for us to try them. The exterior was flaky with the inside moist and super tasty!
Served with the spring rolls were the ‘Pulled Pork Lettuce Cups’ with pickled salad & ikan bilis. The dish is designed to build yourself, with the moist, tender pork, sweet yet sour salad all wrapped in the lettuce. Once made, it was dipped into the plum sauce for an added sweet finish.
‘BBQ Chicken Satay’s’ with peanut sauce were quick to follow. The chicken was tender and juicy with a light crunch from the BBQ, and the peanut sauce was probably one of the best I’ve had in ages.
Once we had finished all of these dishes, we had a small break before the food started coming out again. ‘Portuguese Devil Chicken Curry’ was the first dish out. They note on the menu (VERY HOT!) and for a good reason! It’s unbelievably spicy, which unfortunately I wasn’t able to enjoy, however the rest of the table loved it! If you are a lover of spicy food, and can tolerate the heat, I’d definitely recommend this dish!
Last up was the ‘Pan Fried, Rolled Dumpling of Braised Oxtail’. Again another dish that is only for certain taste buds. Unfortunately not a favourite for me, it was too sweet, however the rest of the table enjoyed them.
Overall everything was amazing! From the vibrant and upbeat atmosphere, the attentive service and the amazing food and drinks, we will definitely be heading back sooner rather than later! Hawker Hall definitely sits well with the rest of the family and can see it doing remarkably well like Chin Chin & Kong.