It can get noisy, but you won't feel anything but calm after stepping through the door at Benjamin's Kitchen. The all-day restaurant floats in the clouds. In an homage to Ernest Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea, the walls are daubed in fluffy whites and greys, and illuminated clouds dangle from the ceiling.
The fit-out purposely reflects the food, which is light and refreshing. Like owner Benjamin Ruan's other restaurant, Northcote's Taxi Boat, the menu is proudly pan-Asian. This is a place where you can move seamlessly from red duck curry with pineapple on to succulent dim sum, or ginger-spiked yakitori beef – it'll all be great.
The plates are small but hover around the $16 mark, making the menu fairly affordable. Factor in the brief wine list (mainly South Australian) plus the expected Asian rice lagers, and you have a venue as worthy of a quick brunch or lunch as it is of a multi-course dinner. Thankfully, the generous opening hours mean both are possible.