Village People Hawker Food Hall
Walk up to the first floor of 127 Brunswick Street to find this lively restaurant, where groups sip Asian-inspired cocktails and share dishes scented with lemongrass, tamarind, galangal and other Southeast Asian ingredients.
Chef Arté Assavakavinvong (ex-Longrain) isn't afraid to cross national borders. The kitchen works with flavours and techniques from Laos, Cambodia, India, Malaysia, Burma and Thailand.
This isn't to say Village People is a fusion restaurant - everything is treated with respect, with little deference to Western palates. If you're averse to the sting of chilli or the pungent smack of fish sauce, this probably isn't the place for you. That said, there are plenty of crowd-pleasers in the mix, such as crispy pork belly, beef rendang and pad thai. Use the well-trained staff to guide you through the menu.
The restaurant is split into a number of sections, including a big balcony that's magical during summer; a hall of long tables suited to large groups; and a side room of generous booths. The multi-room layout and low ceilings create an intimate yet festive feel.