On his way to work at Mr. Lawrence, Ashley Richey would pass the decrepit shell of the R Bar. Once a jewel of the beachside strip, the run-down restaurant had fallen on hard days.
When its lease came up for grabs, the partners, who found success rejuvenating the London, decided to continue on their mission in Port Melbourne.
They renamed the site Tenpin (after a giant bowling pin scavenged from the Mentone Bowls that has since taken up residence), restored the pitched roof, improved the polished-oak flooring and added plush gold banquettes, square dividers and a giant marble table.
Richey, an ex-Chin Chin chef, returned to his first love: South East Asian cuisine. On the menu you’ll find crisp-skinned pork belly with apple and wombok, served with cashew nuts and nahm jim. There are Port Arlington mussels wok fried with chilli jam and basil. A duck larb is served with chilli, mint, lime, roast rice, cucumber and lettuce. A skirt steak comes with hand-cut rice noodles, roast chilli and gai lan.
The wine list tends to natural and European, while the cocktails have an Asian beach-side vibe – which is fitting, given the view out over the Southern Ocean.