Supernormal in Melbourne, March 2016

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If you’re looking for upmarket Japanese (and Chinese-y) food in Melbourne, there’s no going past Supernormal. They have an extensive drinks menu as well as some exciting dishes on the menu.

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Our drinks were the irresistibly cute-sounding Aloe Kitty, which was Jasmine tea with aloe vera and lychees; and the equally adorable-sounding Pink Panda, a ginger, cranberry, lime and soda drink. Both were nice, but the Pink Panda just won out with its subtle hit of ginger and tang from the lime.

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The first dish to arrive at our table was the Bean salad with crisp pork belly, fried garlic and Szechuan pepper.

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The beans were crunchy with the delicious flavour of garlic and slight spiciness from the peppers. The fried pork belly was juicy and crispy on the outside. No complaints whatsoever.

We ordered three dishes from the Dumpling and Bao menu. Firstly, the New England lobster roll.

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Our regret with this dish was that we could order only one! Sweet chunky lobster meat with rocket and Japanese mayo on a brioche bun. So simple, yet so delicious… but at $16 a pop we reluctantly opted for variety rather than indulgence.

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The Prawn & chicken dumplings with chilli & vinegar sauce arrived immediately after the lobster roll.

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The wontons were pleasant, with silky skin and generous filling. The dish was not as spicy as it looked and probably lacked the punch that it promised with the sauce. It was a nice dish, but a little unmemorable.

For the Duck Bao, we ordered the duck leg. The twice-cooked duck came with 4 baos, and vinegar and plum sauces.

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The duck was intriguing, with its crispy, crusty skin that shattered as you forked it apart to reveal the juicy, pink meat beneath.

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The meat was extremely tender, and sandwiched between the soft, pillowy baos and with a spoonful of the tangy, sweet and sour sauces, it was bang on.

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The pretty-looking Wagyu rump with spring onion sauce, eggplant and radish arrived at the table with the mouth-watering smell of barbequed meat.

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The meat was seasoned beautifully and melt-in-the-mouth tender, with charry bits from the grill. The pickled eggplant and baby radishes helped cut through the richness of the meat.

In an already crowded Melbourne restaurant scene, Supernormal stands well above the pack. Come here for the twice-cooked duck baos and if you order the lobster roll, don’t share!

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