Saturday, 17 January 2015


Address: 180 Flinders Lane, Melbourne, Vic 3000
Phone: (03) 9650 8688
Facebook: Supernormal

A few days ago, I had my first food adventure for the new year. Kind of late, I know, but I thought it'd be better to start visiting restaurants after everyone had left on their summer holidays. My sister and I had talked about going to Supernormal, another venture by Andrew McConnell (who you may remember was the chef behind Cumulus Up), pretty much since it's opening. But we didn't get around to it till the other day. We arrived at 2 o'clock, to a comfortable open-space environment and ordered some dishes. The first one to arrive was the New England Lobster Rolls. 

The brioche buns were crisp on the edges and deliciously soft and buttery inside. Wedged between each bun was a slice of tender lobster meat which laid on a bed of shredded lobster and mayonnaise The combined flavour of the buns and the lobster meat was sweet and satisfying. At $16 a pop, they were by no means cheap. But I had no regrets ordering these rolls and I would have totally ordered another if I had not made so many dinner plans for the following week which would require saving some cash. But yes, those lobster rolls. So, so delicious.

Next came the Pork Baos with Tamarind Sauce. Baos are all the trend in Melbourne at the moment and pretty much all modern or fusion Asian restaurants will offer an interesting take on the traditional Chinese bread. The Pork Bao was interesting at Supernormal. Instead of streamed or straight out fried meat, the pork patties were crumbed nuggets of juicy, chunky meat served with a spicy, Tamarind sauce on top of some cucumbers. It was definitely not the traditional filling for a Bao, but the meat was flavoursome. I don't think I enjoyed the Tamarind sauce too much though. But the Bao texture and consistency was just right. It was good, fluffy steamed bread.  

For our mains, my sister and I shared a fish, The Whole Roasted Flounder with Seaweed Butter, Potatoes and Spring Onions. For some reason I pictured this dish a little differently...probably because I assumed the potatoes would be roasted as well. But it was still an enjoyable dish. The fish was fresh and melted in your mouth with the seaweed butter. The potatoes turned out to be potato shreds, which were crunchy and also deliciously addictive when served with the seaweed butter sauce. I wish they'd actually provided more potatoes, rather than the spring onion as it could have made for a fancy fish and chips dish!

The part of lunch that we both looked forward to the most was dessert. I'd heard about this Peanut Butter Parfait with Salted Caramel and Soft Chocolate since the opening of the restaurant and I knew that if I had to try one thing at Supernormal, it'd have to be this dessert. And it did not disappoint.

The parfait was silky and creamy, with a light peanut butter taste. It was my favourite part of the dish and it was paired perfectly with the sweet, rich, salted caramel sauce that it was swimming in. To conteract the sweetness, the soft chocolate ganche on top was made from dark chocolate. It was slightly bitter, the natural bitterness of unflavoured cocoa, which helped to offset the sweetness. When all the elements were gathered together, along with some of the roasted peanuts sprinkled on top, it was an explosion of dessert flavours and textures that delighted the taste buds.

What my sister had been really curious about was the Miso and Fuji Apple Soft Serve Ice-cream. We'd seen some pictures of the pretty looking sundae and wondered what Miso Ice-Cream would taste like, so my sister ordered one. It turned out to be an interesting experience, but not one I'd be keen enough to try again anytime too soon. The yellow soft serve was the Miso component and it was mighty salty. Sort of like frozen, sweetened Miso soup. The pink soft serve was the Fuji Apple component and it was sour, with a slightly sweet finish. So when combined together it was a bit like salty apple. It reminded my sister of sun-dried apple chips. I will add that I really liked the seasame brittle on top. It was very thin and caramel-flavoured and the seasame was not over-powering, as with the case with some sesame biscuits.

The restaurant had a lovely dining area. Large and open with long counter-tops and simple furniture. It was lined with some Japanese sake bottles and plants. Nothing super fancy....just Supernormal. Hahaha, sorry, couldn't resist. At two o'clock lunchtime, it did have a business lunch and intimate date vibe, but not exclusively so as there was a family with some kids dining there too.

My favourite decoration in the restaurant, apart from it's hot pink neon sign, was the giant Bonsai they kept in a glass case by the front of the restaurant. It looked a bit like a Japanese pine tree. Kind of cute in it's glass case. There's something nice about plants in restaurants, don't you think?

My final verdict? I loved a lot of the items that we tried, particularly the Lobster Rolls and the Peanut Butter Parfait. But some dishes felt like they needed a little more to make them more desirable to me as I mentioned with some aspects of the Bao and Fish. All in all, it was a super pleasant experience. 

The service was polite and on point. If we asked for something, we'd get it in good time. It did take awhile for the fish to come out though, but perhaps it was the cooking time required for the dish. It was an enjoyable meal and I'd love to come back to try some other dishes sometime. 


Service: 7/10
Ambience: 8/10
Food: 18/20

Worth Visiting? Yes - Peanut Butter Parfait! And other dishes are lovely too!
Price: $$$ (You're looking at anything between $6-$69. There's some entree dishes, Baos and such, that are well over $10 for a very small serving. But if you'd like to try them, they are quite enjoyable. Most filling main dishes are about $30-$40, with rice at a separate cost.)

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