A Melbourne based writer who is a travel junkie, dedicated foodie and emerging photographer.
Published October 15th 2016
Leave the winter blues behind
If you can manage to keep walking past the cake shops, there is a new delight waiting just around the corner from the eastern end of Acland Street, in Barkly Street, St Kilda - Spring and Summer Restaurant.
Newly opened Spring and Summer offers great Asian fusion food
In keeping with the name, Spring and Summer opened on the first day of spring this year. Talking with co-owner Jessica, the inspiration for the name arises from that fact that people are happiest when the weather is warm and sunny. Jessica and her husband Golf, who is also the Head Chef, want diners to have the same warm, sunny feeling when they enter Spring and Summer, regardless of what time of year they visit.
Certainly, the feeling is warm and friendly upon entering the restaurant, the decor modern and bright, and bar manager Anton effusive in his greeting. It is a long venue, featuring a most impressive bar to the left just inside the entrance, and seating around 50 people.
Bright, modern interior with a long bar
Spring and Summer is an Asian fusion venue, offering an interesting mix of Thai, Japanese and Korean influences. Keen to sample a range of dishes that were representative of the restaurant's style, we asked Jessica for her recommendations, and then sat back and enjoyed the feast.
Oyster with yuzu and salmon roe - a flavour explosion in the mouth
First up we tried the oyster with yuzu (a citrus fruit), salmon roe, crispy leek and chervil ($5 per oyster). This was a fantastic combination, a flavour explosion in the mouth, and a wonderful light starter.
This was followed by the BBQ corn with gochujang (a fermented Korean condiment) and Ashgrove smoked cheddar cheese ($8). This sounds like such a simple dish, yet somehow it ended up being so flavoursome, transforming corn into a hero dish. Interestingly, this was the dish my partner Dave said he'd come back for!
The corn was a big hit with Dave!
The next dish tried was the fried school prawns with lime mayo ($8). This came out as a tower of crispy fried prawns, scattered with chilli and fresh herbs. There was a crunch in every bite, along with a depth of flavours and a freshness from the herbs that made the dish very more-ish.
Fried school prawns - a generous pile of snap fried crispness
Next up was the grilled pork neck with tamarind sauce and mixed greens ($18). I have only recently discovered pork neck as a dish, and have learned just how succulent and melt-in-the-mouth tender it can be if well cooked. And it was! I loved the selection of fresh herbs and greens that it came with.
Pork neck - cooked to perfection
Finally, we had the Wagyu beef 'pad see ew' (stir fried noodles)($19). There was great texture in this dish, between the soft noodles and the tender meat, as well as wonderful, subtle flavours. This is the dish that I'd go back for.
Wagyu beef - my favourite dish
Feeling very full by this stage, we nevertheless pushed ourselves to try a dessert. Spring and Summer offers just two desserts, matcha pannacotta with chocolate soil and sesame brittle ($9.50) and pandan coconut ice cream with sweet potato chips and yellow bean ($8.00). We opted for the latter as it sounded a little more adventurous. It was divine! Again, the contrasting textures made it an interesting dish to eat. The sweetness of the ice cream was nicely balanced out by the nutty flavour of the yellow bean, and we loved the crispy little sweet potato shards.
Pandan coconut ice cream with sweet potato chips and yellow bean - delicious!
There is a great range of dishes on Spring and Summer's menu; it will be easy to select other dishes to try on a return visit. Many of the dishes are vegetarian and/or gluten-free or can be adapted, and the pricing is very reasonable.
Spring and Summer does not just offer beautiful food - it also has a range of original, inspired cocktails. We didn't sample one on this occasion, but they looked pretty as a picture and very enticing as they went out to other tables, beautifully decorated with edible flowers, and I suspect we may be back to try them. Anton, the bar manager, recommends Full Moon Party - spiced rum, 1800 coconut tequila, pineapple juice and coconut cream ($18); alternatively I might try Miss Nippon - Hendricks gin, St. Germaine elderflower liqueur, matcha and lime juice ($22). Do have a look on their Facebook page to see some photos of the cocktails.
Spring and Summer is located at 192 Barkly Street, St Kilda. It's open from 5.30pm til late on Wednesday to Friday, 11.00pm til late Saturday and Sunday, (closed Monday and Tuesday). To book a table or for any enquiries, call 0431 172 648. Image attribution
The images in this article were taken by the writer. They are not to be reproduced in any form without the express permission of WeekendNotes.