This Sichuan barbecue joint is from the team behind Dainty Sichuan, but the focus here isn’t heat; it’s meat.
Led by the scent of grilled meats, hike upstairs and take your ticket: you’ll be waiting a while. Once you’re seated, scroll through categories on an iPad menu of Australian lamb, seafood, pork, poultry, vegetarian, grilled skewers and dessert, and send your order off to the kitchen with a quick tap.
Next, your personal grill is fired up and plates of raw protein and vegetables arrive at the table. Release your inner grill master, or leave most of the cooking to your host.
The spread might include spicy pork ribs; squid tentacle skewers dusted in salt, black pepper, cumin and chilli; marinated pork belly packing loads of garlic; and mashed sweet potatoes blended with velvety melted mozzarella cheese. The star here, though, is the Wagyu.
The beef is from purebred Wagyu cattle from Strathbogie in regional Victoria, all with a marbling score of 9, meaning a good amount of fat to melt on the grill, adding flavour and richness to the meat.
For dessert, there’s fruit salad dusted with sour prune powder and a sweet drink made with mung beans. There’s also a combination of tea and yoghurt, which is meant to help with the greasy feeling you can get after eating too much meat.
The fit-out is a blend of traditional and industrial. Neat rows of black tables and tall hard-back chairs sit under a massive thatched roof, painted white to match the exposed steel beams that run below. On the mezzanine, there’s a wall-to-wall monochrome photograph of Chinatown by Melbourne-based artist Allan Li. Hanging plants break up the otherwise almost entirely black and white interior, and lights shaped like little clouds float overhead.