Freelance writer and blogger from Sydney (ex-Melbourne). Avid foodie and traveller. Loves dogs.
Published February 1st 2017
A contemporary twist to Penang classics
Rarely do you find interesting dining choices at hotel restaurants (unless you're into stodgy buffets and overpriced bacon and eggs…). Orient East, however, defies this trend and offers an interesting menu that takes your appetite on a adventure full of aromatic spices and heat.
Situated on the ground floor of Seasons Botanic Gardens Hotel on St Kilda Road, Orient East was the brainchild of Penang-born Li Teoh who wanted to showcase the food she grew up enjoying during her childhood days. Inside the unassuming façade, bright coloured walls and kitsch furnishings and artefacts from the British Malaya days create an atmosphere of old world glamour and warm Malaysian hospitality. It's the perfect spot to enjoy a mid-week lunch with colleagues or Friday night drinks after a long week in the office.
I've got friends who work in St Kilda Road's advertising agencies so I've been to Orient East a few times for drinks. Orient East offers a great selection of craft beers from local producers – my favourites so far have been the pale ale from Brookes and the Prickly Moses Cleansing ale, both beverages perfect for balmy summer nights. They also do cocktails and wines by the glass.
The highlight of any Orient East drinks session for me, however, would be their little plates – they go so well with beer. I've enjoyed their appam coconut pancake with braised beef and toasted young coconut and I've also loved their signature black pepper soft shell crab baos, encased in a fluffy sweet white bun. From their larger plates menu, their Flinders Island lamb ribs with chilli bean sauce and steamed buns have also received thumbs up from yours truly as well as my friends.
Orient East's appam coconut pancake with braised beef and toasted young coconut
I really want to try Orient East's more traditional hawker-style dishes such as their wok tossed char kuey teow with prawns, lap cheong sausage and smoked pork crisps or perhaps their chicken and prawn nasi goreng. However, I suspect those dishes will have to wait another time.
Address: 348 St Kilda Road, Melbourne VIC 3004 Phone: 03 9685 2900 Opening hours: Monday to Friday 6:30am to 10pm, Saturday and Sunday 7am to 11am and 5pm to 9pm Website: www.orienteast.com.au