Tian 38 introduces Melburnians to progressive Cantonese cuisine, with a fine blend of traditional and new approaches, crafted from carefully sourced ingredients.
Tian 38 made its much anticipated soft opening in July. The new restaurant is the second Melbourne venture by the group behind the ever-popular Vietnamese BBQ, Co Hanh. Tian 38 adheres to the much lauded approach of the restaurateurs – refining the time-honoured dishes while marrying contemporary touches to create delightful re-interpretations of classics.
Located on the Parisian end of Flinders Lane the restaurant’s façade is a glass fronted partition with elegant bead curtains imprinted with its signage. Past the glass door is the reception, where the friendly staff welcomes guest with a smile and a menu in hand. The restaurant’s interior is well-lit with ambient lighting – from warm illumination of the bar, ritzy neon signage and rows of Edison bulbs leading guests into the depths of the venue. The décor is playful yet elegant, with large abacus beads adorning the walls, a quirky glowing Sakura tree centrepiece and Oriental wooden partitions.
The food program in Tian 38 is curated by Chef Nicholas Soon (Ms.G’s Sydney) and Chef Kha Nguyen (Jamu Melbourne). The co-chefs work in tandem to create Tian 38’s inspired contemporary Cantonese cuisine. For those who swear by the classics, there are all-time favourites such as barbecued pork and Hainan chicken rice. Diners looking for something different should go for the restaurant’s inspired contemporary creations such as the mushroom truffle fried rice.
The beef hor fun is Chef Nicholas Soon’s favourite dish on the menu. The Ipoh-born chef guarantees its authenticity and wok hei (charred umami fragrance). The mushroom truffle fried rice is a firm favourite amongst the diners. The fried rice is buttery with earthy truffle notes, studded with eggs, pieces of shiitake, king mushrooms and garnished simply with spring onions.
For dishes to accompany your mains, the soy butter corn is sweet and nutty, with warmth imparted from pulverised chili, accompanied by caramelised sous vie pecan. Another vegetarian-friendly dish on the menu is the Kung Pao cauliflower, a lovely rendition of the popular dish – crunchy deep fried cauliflower coated in a sticky spicy and sweet sauce, with slices of capsicums and brown onions.
To end off your meal on a sweet note, do yourself a favour and order the tea cakes. Fragrant, tea-flavoured mousse (taro, jasmine, Assam and Matcha) is wrapped in a silky homemade snow skin, best paired with a teapot of piping hot Oolong tea.
350 Flinders Lane
T: (+61) 3 9629 7175
Prices $$ (fair)
Cuisine Progressive Cantonese Cuisine
Tip Try the Singapore cheese and chilli crab jaffle – shreds of fresh crab meat, tangy red sauce, mozzarella cheese and a dab of mayonnaise, in crisp grilled toast.