Hey Griller is a relatively new restaurant to the foodie stomping ground in Vic Park. With an Asian Fusion menu, this small and friendly restaurant has a lot going for it. It is simply decorated with exposed brick walls, and wooden panels on the ceiling. The dark wood and metal tables and chairs provide a certain moodiness in the room, added to by the dragon on the windows and bare (very trendy) oversized light globes hanging from above.
This simply makes the friendliness of the staff even more noticeable, eager to please they were quick to take items off the bill that did not meet expectations and – unlike most other restaurants – when they asked us if we were happy with the meal, they actually meant it, accepting feedback graciously. It was great service.
The other thing Hey Griller do well is their flavours – there were eight of us and every person was thrilled with the flavours – whether it be marinades or sauces – of their dinner.
For a starter I ordered the pumpkin pops ($9.50) and while I was mildly disappointed they didn't come on a popstick as the name suggests, the three balls of mashed and pimped pumpkin, then crumbed and fried, served with tiny dots of aioli and a beautifully dressed salad, absolutely made my day. If all salads tasted like that, I would eat them every day. What arrived wasn't actually what the menu said, which promised rainbow coleslaw with plum dressing. The salad was more a baby leaf salad, and I don't know if the dressing was plum, but whatever it was, it was absolutely delicious.
Then there are the skewers and I am still kicking myself that we didn't order any. There are the Fusion skewers (lamb with peri peri yoghurt, prawns with lemongrass and pork belly with XO sauce). You can order three or six or each, or save yourself the headache of decision making and buy the skewer combo which has three of each (nine in total) for $26.
If those flavours sound a little modern, you can choose the traditional skewers instead – pork, chicken winglets or lamb. Again, you can buy three or six of each, or choose a combo plate – three of each for $22.
Over the page and the menu then slips into mains territory. The signature flaming steaks are certainly crowd pleasers, with three options (salmon, beef fillet or pork belly, ranging from $30-$35 and coming with a range of delicious vegetable sides). Once brought to the table, the steak is set alight, adding a brief piece of drama and a certain charred flavour. My friend who ordered the salmon declared it perfectly cooked and full of flavour.
Others who ordered from the grill section, a cheaper option at $17.50 to $24.90, with more traditional options such a lemon pepper squid, lamb shanks and crispy skin salmon, didn't fare quite so well.
I chose the char-grilled, twice cooked pork belly ($24.90) which had a delicious plum chilli glaze, sweet potato chips (in a cute little basket) and a tasty coleslaw with crunchy wonton pieces. The flavours were excellent, although the mild curry in the coleslaw was a little unexpected, but unfortunately the pork belly wasn't cooked particularly well, with great layers of fat which should have been rendered out during the first stage of cooking, and the second cooking drying out some of the pieces. Two others who ordered the same dish reported similar findings – some of the pork belly was soft and juicy and tender, others were dry and tough.
The sous vide flat iron steak ($24.90) suffered as well, despite being cooked for six hours and then char-grilled, the inside of the enormous egg-shaped steak was still raw, not pink, raw. But again, the flavours were delicious and the accompanying potato croquette big enough to feed the whole table.
So while there are a few meat-issues that might need to be worked out, the flavours offered almost made up for it.
Desserts were also a big hit, with a choice of three regular dishes ($12) as well as the dessert of the week ($14). Making a big noise on social media for obvious reasons, the dessert of the week when we visited was a Pokemon creation – with a pink and white chocolate shell, which when cracked, revealed a cake, cream and strawberry centre. An edible Pokemon on top completed the very photo-worthy dessert.
My dessert of rosemary poached pear with mango passionfruit pearls and a berry bavarious (which tasted much like hard frozen yoghurt) was beautiful to behold, the colours of the pear like a painting. It was nice but the flavours and textures didn't seem to work together.
The chocolate and hazelnut fudge however, was a winner. It came out looking like a takeaway latte, but in reality was a layer of goopy marshmallow hiding layers of cake and fudge underneath.
Somewhat surprisingly there is a mini kids menu as well, with a choice of tempura chicken nuggets or fish and chips, both with a choice of juice or water and two scoops of vanilla ice cream ($12).
There is a lot to like about Hey Griller, and with a few small issues with meat cooking to be sorted, those incredible flavours and genuinely good service means that it will (hopefully) be around for the long haul.