Kwan’s Table

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img_2748by Mantis Kane www.zantidote.com

Melbourne is renowned for its secret culinary alcoves where hidden treasures glimmer only for those in-the-know. This month we can reveal one such establishment, discovered lurking on Inkerman St.

Kwan’s Table is a Modern Thai all-day restaurant with an in-house patisserie. It’s been open for ten months, launched very softly to the small fanfare of a Facebook page and Deliveroo affiliation. You’d be excused for missing it. Marketing nous and exceptional food aren’t mutually inclusive – unfortunately even great restaurants need a nudge in such a busy marketplace.

Owner Nan (pastry chef) and her chef partner are both authentic Thai’s, trained in Melbourne, road-tested at Hotel Windsor and Sofitel respectively. Deciding to combine their sweet and savoury arts, Kwan’s Table combines traditional and Modern Thai dishes with a flamboyant high tea styled patisserie.

img_2763It’s an odd combination, one that fits the Vietnamese mould more than Thai.  But they’ve managed to defy convention, creating a heavenly union. Who’d have thought the spicy roller-coaster of Thai food could arrive delicately at a Victorian high tea party and not seem like an incongruent psychedelic daydream? Tom Yum Soup standing proud next to a vibrant lemon meringue tart – are we at Tim Burton’s canteen? But it works. Exceedingly well.

In modern food phraseology the word ‘fusion’ is ubiquitous as ’sustainable’; used liberally, yet most often lacking substance. Yet Kwan’s Table successfully takes certain buzz-dishes and adapts a credible slant.

The Pork Belly Baguette might seem bandwagonist, but the meat is Thai braised with a hot crunchy salad. Being half patisserie the baguette is astonishingly fresh; there’s no jaw-ache from stodgy doorstops – it’s both hearty and light at the same time.

The Soft Shell Crab Burger is sensational. Here’s the equation: fluffy buttery brioche bun, crispy soft-shell crab, delicate meat and tangy Sriracha mayo. Bingo.

Often the fireworks of an asian meal peter-out after the savoury courses. But Nan’s pastry pedigree maintains momentum, accelerating way past the obligatory green-tea ice cream and coconut water. The display cabinet of intricate pastries and cakes is an art installation worth the viewing alone.

If you like asian food and have a sweet tooth (which is practically everyone, right?), then Kwan’s Table is a must.

Kwan’s Table

7 Inkerman Street

3182 St Kilda

(03) 9939 3153

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