Sunda’s innovative lockdown alter ego, takeaway service Sunda Exp, took Southeast Asian dishes and gave them the Italian treatment.
But while they were previously reserved for delivery or pick-up only, Sunda Exp has found a semi-permanent home at the iconic Windsor Hotel (in the space once occupied by Lekker), so you can get them to dine in from December 5.
“When writing the Sunda Exp menu for home, I wanted to make the dishes as fun as possible,” head chef Khanh Nguyen said in a press release.
“Then, talk of outdoor dining came up, and the first thing that sprang to my mind as a concept was Italian dining, al fresco style. I wanted to bring the two together – the fun Southeast Asian flavours and the casual, easy nature of European outdoor dining, and that’s how this hybrid menu came about.”
While it’s business as usual at Sunda on Punch Lane, expect a slightly more casual experience here – with the inclusion of on-street dining on the corner of Bourke and Spring Streets.
Heading up the kitchen will be Nguyen’s “right-hand man”, Sunda sous chef Nabil Ansari, who started selling refined Indian takeaway from his tiny Carlton apartment during lockdown.
Starters include ooey-gooey burrata with all the condiments you’d expect from a good plate of nasi lemak; prawn toast with radicchio, basil and Marie Rose sauce (similar to a seafood cocktail sauce) spiced up with red curry; and roasted bone marrow with onion rendang, green sambal and cassava focaccia.
In the pasta-slash-noodle department, Sunda’s egg noods will come laced with ’nduja XO and rice pangrattato (breadcrumbs), and another variety of hand-cut ribbons will be aglio e oglio (garlic and oil) style with the addition of fermented black bean and soybeans. There’ll also be spicy baked baby snapper with the unusual pairing of tamarind butter and cannellini beans.
And for dessert: Vietnamese coffee tiramisu with wattleseed and coconut, or freshly churned soft serve in flavours such as pandan, roasted peanut and caramelised white chocolate.
Summer Exp by Sunda opens on December 5 and will run throughout summer. Book online or walk-ins are welcome.
Summer Exp by Sunda
1 Bourke Street, Melbourne
Thu to Sat 5pm–10pm