Melbourne is blessed with a kaleidoscopic array of stunning Asian fusion dining spots. From Vietnamese ingredients cooked using Japanese techniques to Korean pickles paired with Chinese flavours, this vibrant foodie city has it all.
And whilst many of Melbourne’s top eateries may lean more towards one part of Asia than another, it’s not unusual to find an unexpected influence from a neighbouring culture cropping up on the plate.
This magpie approach to combining produce, flavours and methods often goes hand-in-hand with cutting edge interior design and hip pop-culture references. What’s more, the service tends to be chilled and confident and the staff – from chefs to servers to mixologists – cool, but welcoming.
Ultimately, Asian fusion food is in for all the right reasons. So if you’re not across it already, it’s time to start experimenting.
With this in mind, here are our top Asian fusion restaurants in Melbourne.
Location: 125 Flinders Ln, Melbourne VIC 3000 Ph: (03) 8663 2000
Much imitated but arguably never bettered, for many, Chin Chin is the trail-blazer when it comes to Asian fusion restaurants in Melbourne.
Since it first threw open its door 11 years ago, Chin Chin’s infectious blend of music and art, bustle and crackling energy, delicious drinks and daring food has made it a firm favourite for a night out in the CBD.
Our advice is to get a group of mates together and settle in for one of the excellent Set Menus. Depending on how hungry you are, Executive Chef Ben Cooper and this talented team will lead you from Thailand to Vietnam with a side trip to India, and back again.
Amongst our favourite dishes are DIY fun of the Chin Chin Pork “Roll Ups” – Slow Cooked Pulled Pork Pancakes with Slaw & Asian Herbs and the Lime Chilli, Coconut & Thai Basil-spiked Kingfish Sashimi. For Mains, we love the Choo Chee Curry of Chicken, Pumpkin, Coriander & Kaffir Lime and the Braised Wagyu Beef Pad Seuw, Gai Laan, Rice Noodles & Crispy Shallots.
And did we mention the truly outstanding Cocktails? Both Chin Chin and it’s buzzing little sister – GoGo Bar – down in the basement, mix up awesome Asian inflected tipples. Our current favourite is the gorgeously dramatic Lychee Violet Daiquiri ($23) which tastes as good as it is eye-catching. If you fancy trying one yourself, don’t hang about – the list waits for no man (or woman!).
Yes, we know it’s probably not the ideal choice for a quiet, intimate date. In fact, the noise levels can be one of the few minuses at this thriving eatery. But despite that, Chin Chin still attracts queues of the hip and fashionable outside its doors, to wow them with brash, bold flavours once inside.
If you love the citrus and chilli, see our rundown of the Best Vietnamese Restaurants in Melbourne
Location: 396 Bridge Rd, Richmond, VIC 3121 Ph: (03) 9089 7299
Brilliant Asian fusion dishes, craft beer, extremely cool industrial chic decor and a belting a cocktail list? There are so many reasons to love Richmond’s Kekou.
Bangkok born Oak Kunnalok pilfers heavily from his Thai heritage, but doesn’t stop just there. The menu showcases confident, exciting pan-Asian food, sprinkled with Aussie touches.
The Lobster Betel Leaf, Kerisik, Finger Lime & Miang Kum ($9) is as explosive a mouthful as you’ll ever try. In contrast, the Smoked Balloon Bread & Lemon Myrtle Butter & Caramelized Onion Miso ($11) never fails to impress as it floats to the table.
Moving on, the menu reads like an Asian fusion wish list. There’s crunchy, sweet Twice Cooked Pork Belly, Chilli Palm Caramel & Pomelo Mint Salad ($40) which sings on the palate. The normally humble noodle dish – Char Kway Teow ($43) – is transformed into a sumptuous treat with juicy, umami Wagyu Flank, Baby Tiger Prawn & Lup Chong. Even the Baby Cos Lettuce Salad ($12) gets a make-over with the addition of Coconut Mint & Cashew Sambal.
And if you find yourself on Bridge Road but aren’t hungry (seriously – what’s wrong with you?!), you could do far worse than nipping into Kekou for a drink.
The bar is suitably dark and moody and makes a great place to hang. Even better, it has a large selection of Craft Beers and a heat and spice-friendly Cocktail List. If we had to recommend a drink, we’d suggest the kicking Anti Hero ($22) – Tequila Correlejo Blanco, Lime, Wasabi & Tamarind Infused Agave. It’s not for the faint-hearted, but then neither is the food at Kekou.
For a taste of native Australian cuisine, see our review of Mabu Mabu
Location: 180 Flinders Ln, Melbourne, VIC 3000 Ph: (03) 9650 8688
In a city of great restaurants with a galaxy of star chefs wowing diners on a daily basis, few are as revered as Andrew McConnell.
The man with the culinary Midas touch has a stable of successful eateries. And one of the most popular is his Asian fusion gem, Supernormal.
Whilst a first glance at the menu shows a strong Japanese influence, further investigation reveals a peppering of Chinese and Korean cuisine. So you can graze your way from Kingfish, Pickled Fennel & Yuzukosho ($26) to Spiced Wagyu Intercostal, Smoked & Pickled Turkish Snake Chilli & Shiso ($34). Along the way, why not try the Sticky Rice Cakes, Lap Cheong & Sweet Soy ($12) and the Spencer Gulf King Prawns, Fermented Chilli & Saltbush ($29)?
One of the staples of Asian kitchens from Japan to India to Indonesia is rice. And to cook perfect rice – time after time – you need a Rice Cooker. After all, no Asian home is complete without one! For more information and prices, see here.
However, the real star of the show is the now legendary New England Lobster Roll ($23). Undoubtedly, it a deceptively simply thing – soft, fragrant brioche, buttery poached Lobster and tangy dressing. It really shouldn’t be so damn addictive. But irresistible is is. The fact that so many copy-cat versions dot menus across Melbourne is testament to the stellar quality of this one classic dish.
And confession time. During Lockdown, the impossible luxury of sitting in the clean, chic Supernormal dining room, watching the chefs toil in the open kitchen, whilst devouring one of those luscious lobster rolls was a recurring food fantasy!
For grilled delicacies, see our review of Robata Japanese Grill
Location: 35 Little Bourke St, Melbourne, VIC 3000 Ph: (03) 9078 2285 & 65 Swan St, Richmond, VIC 3121 Ph: (03) 9077 5098
With its signature bright pink livery and fresh, zingy food, this Asian restaurant in thriving in both its homes.
Whilst Vietnam is the main influence, the menu pinches the best bits and pieces from other cuisines as well for a vibrant mix of dishes.
So there’s Vietnamese inspired Banh Mi Sliders ($16 for 2) with Prawn Patty, Sriracha Mayo, Pickled Carrot, Mushroom Pate & Chilli. But there’s also Japanese Salmon Sashimi ($20) complete with Kewpie Mayo and Mama’s Secret Spicy Sauce. Thailand gets a look in with Mama’s Pad Thai ($26) whilst it’s not hard to work out the origins of the Traditional Chinese Broccoli ($24) with Pork Belly or Tofu.
Best of all, Hochi Mama does a great value Feed Me Now menu – $42.50 for lunch & $44.50 for Dinner. It’s based on diners choosing dishes to share in pairs. And having done it a couple of times, we can confirm that the portions are generous.
The Cocktail List is similarly diverse. Tokyo Drift ($20) combines St Germain, Midori, Sake, Rhubarb Bitters, Cucumber & Lemon in a fruity, boozy winner. In contrast, the Vietnamese Espresso Martini is a luscious spin of a well-known classic.
And the vibe? Fun and cool. This is very much a spot for the young and hip. The Staff are relaxed and helpful, the mood is chilled and bubbly. What’s more, the 90s R’n’B thumping in the background works surprisingly well.
If you’re up in the NSW capital, these are our Best Asian Restaurants in Sydney
Location: Fulton Lane, 1/ 155 Franklin St, Melbourne, VIC 3000 Ph: (03) 9043 1530
It’s a crying shame (in our opinion) that Melbourne has so few Indonesian restaurants. Especially when they are as good as YOI Indonesian Fusion.
This lively family-run inner city restaurant serves traditional favourites with a modern twist in a relaxed, cafe-like space.
The menu is big and extensive. But then that leaves a curious diner plenty of reasons to make repeated visits.
Salted Egg features heavily, and if you’re not familiar with this staple we urge you to try it. The Mie Goreng Salted Egg Chicken ($23) is a great place to start, as is the delicious Salted Egg Chicken on Rice ($19.50). Another winner is the backpackers go-to Gado Gado ($16).
And if you wish to wander on the fusion side of things, the Yoi Curry Katsu Curry ($22) eats really well, whilst the Salted Egg Fries ($13) are a revelation.
Finally, we have to mention the innovative drinks list which delights in unique non-alcoholic creations. Lotus Biscoff Coffee ($8) is a double-whammy caffeine and sugar hit. Meanwhile, the Ice Bandung ($7.50) is a fragrant glass of Rose Cordial with Grass Jelly – very refreshing on a summer’s day.
Port Douglas has some superb dining spots – many of them Asian influenced. For a look at our Best Restaurants in Port Douglas, see here
Location: 79 Swan St, Richmond, VIC 3121 Ph: (03) 83091 1388
They call it Neo-Vietnamese. We call it delicious.
This sophisticated bar and eatery from the Commune Group (Firebird, Tokyo Tina, Hanoi Hannah, Moonhouse & Tokyo Private) pairs sleek good-looks with cleverly tweaked Asian favourites. Yes, the lively citrus and heat balance of Vietnamese fare is clearly front and centre, but there are playful twists from other cultures too.
So the French classic – Beef Tartare ($26) is shoved towards Ho Chi Minh City with the introduction of Pho Jelly and Anchovy Tapioca Crisps. Meanwhile the Taro Toast ($8) comes with Burnt Chilli and Japanese Shiso. And if you don’t fancy the sound of Duck Floss Egg Noodles ($28), may we encourage you to think again? This dish is a revelation – with the delicate strands of crispy Duck dissolving into the warm embrace of the glossy, salty, umami-rich sauce.
If you want to nip in for a quick 333 Rice Lager (from Vietnam), the bar area is moodily inviting. Personally, we recommend the Finger Lime Collins ($18) where the native bush food really raises the Cocktail up a notch.
All in all, New Quarter is a great addition to the Richmond restaurant scene.
Here are our recommendations for the Best Cafes in Camberwell (and nearby)
Location: 23 Oliver Ln, Melbourne, VIC 3000 Ph: (03) 9639 5777
Everything about Lucy Liu Melbourne is cool. From the oh-so-hip laneway location to the scarlet signage that indicates the entrance to the moody industrial chic interior.
So it’s a relief to learn that the food (and drinks) more than match the glamour of the aesthetics. Descend the stairs into the always busy dining room and you’ll find the open kitchen knocking out dish after dish of thrilling pan-Asian food.
Amongst the must-trys include Lucy Liu’s Fried Chicken Ribs, Sour Plum, Lemon & Kewpie ($20). We bet you can’t stop at one! Then there’s the excellent Barramundi & Scampi Wontons with Spring Onion Ginger Dressing ($16) and the Crispy Pork Bun, House Made Kimchi & Sriracha Mayo ($9 ea). Throw yourself into the Mains with the punchy Cape Grim Shortrib Rendang, Turmeric Pickles & Jasmine Rice ($48). Or take a tour to China via the Chilli & Black Pepper Spiced Duck, Plum & Ginger, Lettuce & Pickles ($42).
If you’re confused as to which path to plot around Asia, Lucy Liu offer 3 Banquet Menus – one of which is Vegan.
Lastly, Eatability has been known to nip into Lucy’s simply to people watch from her Cocktail Bar with a drink in hand. The Tokyo Drift ($22.5) – Lucy Liu Arancia Rossa Liqueur, Frapin Cognac, Yuzu-shu, Fresh Lemon & Lime Juice – is a particularly refreshing tipple.
But don’t take our word for it. Book a table and see why Lucy Liu Kitchen & Bar is one of the best Asian fusion restaurants in Melbourne.
For fabulously authentic Bangkok street food in a car park (!), see our review of Soi 38 Melbourne
Location: 294 Glen Huntly Rd, Elsternwick, VIC 3185 Ph: (03) 8692 2680
If you don’t know Bang Bang in Elsternwick, then tracking down the details for this effortlessly cool Asian fusion eatery can be a little confusing.
Firstly, there are the multiple names – Bang Bang, Bang Bang RC and Bang Bang at the Rifle Club (as the building was home to the Caulfield Rifle Club many moons ago). Then there’s the fact that there’s another Bang Bang whipping up Hawker-style street fare just down the road in Mordialloc.
But for now, we’re focusing on the French-Indochine food served up in a gorgeously landscaped space on Glen Huntly Road.
Whether you lean towards stir-fries or South East Asian curries, cooking authentic Pan-Asian fare is easier in a Wok. Trust us. Wok-tossed noodles are so much better than those made in a frying pan. For more information and prices, click here.
Whether you decide to eat at the bar inside or out in the sun on the shaded terrace, the plates emerging from the kitchen are a treat. We’re talking big hitting flavours from Vietnam, Thailand and beyond. Dishes like Chicken Drumettes ($18) with Fish Sauce Caramel & Smoked Chilli Mayo. Or Banh Xeo ($26) – Crispy Turmeric Pancake, Pork Belly, Ginger Nuoc Cham & Peanut – which is a vibrant as you’d imagine. A pleasing colour contrast comes from the fabulous Sri Lankan Beetroot Curry ($32) of Poached Heirloom Beetroot & Crispy Kale.
Of course, when a venue is hip and the clientele are beautiful, there’s always a bar to prop up. Drop by for a cold Beer on a hot day, or maybe a Cocktail. The Phrik ($23) – Saffron & Chilli Infused Olmaca Altos Plata Tequilla, Cointreau, Mango & Lime is sure to put a pep in your strut!
If you make the trip up to Bendigo, why not dine at one of these excellent spots?
Location: 223 High St, Prahran, VIC 3181 Ph: (03) 9088 8093
Another effortlessly cool dinner and cocktails joint from The Commune Group (see New Quarter above) is Firebird.
Here, the Asian fusion tweak is applied to Vietnamese cuisine. But that’s not all. As the name suggests, fire is a key ingredient in this particular open kitchen, with many dishes either coming from the wood-fired oven, or kissed by the charcoal grill.
And the result? Smoky culinary magic, where a zingy Nuoc Mam gets an extra level of flavour from Burnt Chilli and black-edged Wood-Roasted Cabbage is a revelation.
Start with the Flat Pressed Baguette, Black Garlic Relish & Tofu ($10). Dip into the sepia delights of the Grilled Squid Ink Noodles with Caramelised Nuoc Cham, Witlof & Papaya ($24). Slurp your way through a fragrant plate of Canh Chua Pipis, Tamarind, Charred Pineapple & Sawtooth Coriander ($39) and mop up the juices with a Woodfired Chinese Doughnut ($6).
And if you arrive a tad early, no worries. Grab a stool at the funky bar and admire the shabby/cool warehouse conversion that houses this fashionably distressed dining spot, whilst sipping a cold Beer. Or maybe the aptly-named Tropical Cocktail sounds more to you taste? This is a refreshing mix of Rum, Green Chartreuse, Kiwi, Rambutan, Orgeat & Citrus ($23) – its South East Asian sunshine in liquid form.
Yes, as one of the finest Asian fusion restaurants in Melbourne, Firebird is another superb addition to the Prahran dining scene.
Location: 263 Lygon St, Carlton, VIC 3053 Ph: 0447 525 573
For many Melburnians, Lygon Street is synonymous with Italian cuisine. However, slotted in amongst the pasta bars and pizza joints sits the distinctive modern Chinese fare of Lagoon Dining.
Whilst many of the restaurant’s Mediterranean neighbours favour packed raucous dining rooms, spilling out onto the street come summer, Lagoon Dining is intimate and moody. Here, white-washed bricks and a dark ceiling throw the dimmed lighting back on customers hugging the walls on banquettes or hovering at the striking black granite bar. The space is chic and dramatic – as is the food.
As with all the best Asian fusion food, dishes at Lagoon start familiar and then verve into the unusual – without destroying the integrity of the original.
So Lightly Cured Kingfish ($27) – surely one of the most popular entrees in town – gets a blast of perfumed heat from a Sichuan Vinaigrette. Meanwhile, Sticky Lamb Ribs ($19) are given an Anglo-twist with Marmite Glaze. Over on the Protein section, Steamed Humpty Doo Barramundi ($48) visits China via France with a Doubanjiang Bisque & Sorrel. Even the Char Siu ($42) gets a revamp being Charcoal Roasted and served with Spring Onion Relish & Japanese-inspired Tare.
If a dynamic menu such as this appeals, you can eat either A La Carte or try the Feed Me for $80 pp. Also, the kitchen is currently running Sunday Lunch for $75pp. Check the website for details, but last time we looked the offerings included Cheesy Sardine Jaffle and Lagoon Luncheon Meat. Now if that doesn’t sound intriguing, we don’t know what does!
For cleverly balanced food in a hip spot, Lagoon Dining is one of the top Asian fusion restaurants in Melbourne.
From Cantonese favourites to Peking Duck, check out our take on the Best Chinese Restaurants in Melbourne
Location: Basement/141 Flinders Ln, Melbourne, VIC 3000 Ph: (03) 9650 3155
For many contented diners, Coda is opening of Coda more than 13 years ago was their first experience of how delicious Asian fusion cooking can be. And although there are dozens of eateries balancing Thai with Chinese ingredients or Japanese techniques with a Korean pantry, few do French-Vietnamese with the sophistication of this restaurant.
From the effortlessly cool basement setting to the Asian-tinged Cocktails and the mouth-watering menu – all is a notch above at Coda Melbourne.
Why not open with the Shucked Oyster ($7ea)? Plump and ocean-licked it arrives with sweet Spanner Crab and a feisty Nam Jim Dressing. Eatability can never forego a Steak Tartare ($32) and the one at Coda is excellent, served with Quail Egg, Mustard Cress & Caper Melba Toasts. Looking to share something bigger? Well, the Javanese Curry with Warrigal Greens, Choko, Tempeh & Macadamia Rempeyek ($38) is a vegan’s dream of deeply flavoured sauce and textural exciting vegetables.
If you find choosing individual dishes a bind, the kitchen has both a Lunch and Dinner Set Menu, encompassing many of their best-loved plates, at $100 pp.
Whether you nip in during the day, or in the evening, you’re sure to agree that Coda is one of the finest Asian fusion restaurants in Melbourne.
Heading up to the Queensland sun and wondering where to dine? For are our recommendations for the Best Restaurants in Noosa and also for Hervey Bay
Editor’s Note: We are currently in the process of updating this article. Please pop back regularly for more of the best Asian fusion restaurants in Melbourne.