Published on 12 November 2019
Carlton’s newest restaurant, Lagoon Dining, is a wild ride through spicy, tingly and wok-kissed hits from China and beyond. The first restaurant from a trio of Ezard alumni – maître d’ Chris Lerch and chefs Ned Trumble and Keat Lee – Lagoon freely borrows from Sichuanese, Japanese and Cantonese cuisine and, in a nod to its Italian neighbours, adds ’nduja and bottarga to the mix. It may not be traditional, but if your MO is fun times, take a dip.
How about a drink?
Our house sour of Plantation Original, sugar cane, pineapple and palm sugar is a must-order.
I’m here for a good time not a long time.
You can’t go past the pork and cabbage dumplings dressed in black vinegar and chilli oil. Throw in some popcorn chicken with white pepper togarashi and a glass of Holly's Garden Uber Brut Blanc De Noirs sparkling and you’re set.
Got anything light and fresh?
The raw fish with crustacean oil and sansho pepper hits the mark. Pair it with the stir-fried broad beans, asparagus and sugar snap peas with black bean.
Cos lettuce with peanuts and strange flavour dressing
I like tasty food but I don’t eat animals.
Great! We have grilled cos with strange flavour dressing, shredded potatoes with pickled enoki, ma po tofu knots to offer you – and they’re all vegan.
I’m a fiend for heat. What’s your spiciest dish?
Our hot and numbing beef tartare is given a little (or is that big?) kick from Sichuan peppercorns and bird’s eye chilli.
Name the dish that is quintessentially Lagoon.
Smashed cucumber with black fungus and Chinese olive leaf. It’s simple but bold, plus it’s fun to make: we smash the cucumber with a cleaver.
Let’s go big. Let’s go crazy. What have you got for me?
Start with all the snacks, then order the steamed whole fish with Hunan-style salted chilli, the char siu pork with tare and spring onion relish, salted fish fried rice, and a few stir-fries. There’s a garlic chive, shiitake and ’nduja number, cabbage tossed with fermented chilli butter and whitebait, or snow peas with asparagus and sugar snaps.
And to close?
A glass of 2018 Patrick Bottex ‘Burgey-Cerdon’ Gamay Poulsard from Savoie. This wine is so lush and moreish it’s a perfect way to end your night, especially if it’s with our malt parfait with muscovado crumb and blueberry.
Lagoon Dining, 263 Lygon St, Carlton, (03) 9349 1939, lagoondining.com
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