Sometimes you come across a new spot that has a combination of fun, possible to get in (hurrah), and food that knocks you off your feet.
Supernormal is chef Andrew McConnell's interpretation of his favourite eating experiences while he worked in Shanghai and Hong Kong years ago. It was a rendition we saw in the former Golden Fields, his restaurant in St Kilda, that closed so that Supernormal could be born in Flinders Lane (meanwhile the French-inspired Luxembourg Bar and Bistro opened in Golden Fields' St Kilda location). You get the feeling of same-same-but-different here, as the food is everything we've come to expect from McConnell, and this time it's in a Japanese-style diner.
A pair of neon cherries marks the spot on Flinders Lane, and inside the concrete-prominent space focuses on a long bar that stretches its not insignificant length. There's blonde wooden benches and chairs, zinc tabletops and a retro vending machine of Japanese snacks. On plates there are a few Golden Fields stalwarts including the soft New England lobster roll and cold rolled pork belly with white kim chi. There's duck bao on the menu too, made for tearing up and stuffing into soft white buns with vinegar and plum sauce.
Dumplings involve an intricate lacework of crisp, with soft insides of prawn and chicken, made for drizzling black vinegar. White cut chicken comes with soft cold noodles and peanuts, sesame and chilli oil, and there's a raw bar doing Cape Hawke and Coffin Bay oysters, the often seen tuna with ponzu, and the more original smoked beef with mustard beef and clam mayonnaise.
Service is friendly, allowing our party to move to a table with better natural light after drinks orders (Instagram), and offering half orders so we could try more things. The generosity made us not think twice about ordering other dishes. Book in at this slick spot in Flinders Lane, or risk being one of those patrons queuing out the door wishing that a certain table would stop ordering more and more.
180 Flinders Lane, Melbourne, VIC
(03) 9650 8688