If you know anything about eating and drinking in Melbourne, we’re sure that you’re already familiar with Richmond as a hub of food and drink trend-setters. One of 2015’s brightest names on the board is corner bar and eatery Botherambo, whose stylish stripped-back interior put it on our map before we’d even stepped through the door. So, after nearly a year spent perfecting its modern South-East Asian cuisine (and the best lunch in Richmond), just how good can this cocktail and bahn-mi haven get?
Well, the short answer is: Very. Botherambo is the brainchild of Nathan Peck, a venue manager who’s worked within the ‘burb of Richmond for over half a decade. Together with South-east Asian food fanatic and all-round top chef, Kam McManamey, Nathan set out to create a corner venue (situated right opposite THE Corner) that was part-restaurant, part-bar, all South East Asia-inspired good times. Armed with Kam’s expert skills honed in riverside eatery Bangpop and Elwood favourite Dandelion, as well as on various oversees cooking ventures, and Nathan’s business know-how, the pair have created one of the most delicious Asian fusion restaurants in Melbourne.
With a focus on super-fresh ingredients and authentic techniques, pretty much everything you’ll find within the four walls of Botherambo is mouth-wateringly delicious. The sit-in lunch and dining menu combines traditional Thai dishes including betel leaf parcels, bamboo curries, crispy duck and papaya salad, and the juiciest pork and prawn dumplings we’ve found in Melbourne, with some lesser-known gems. Add to that an ever-changing selection of daily specials that make the most of on-the-day ingredients, and you’ve got the ultimate Viet-inspired hit-list. It’s the sort of selection that entices you to find stomach space where all common sense would suggest there is none. There’s always that one more thing that you’re dying to try.
If you’re feeling the fusion vibe, the cold smoked ocean trout with papaya, coconut, chilli and Yarra Valley roe brings together the best of Vietnamese seasoning and Victorian produce, and the banana spring rolls with salted coconut pandan cream are completely off the hook. Seriously, we were several mouthfuls beyond full and we would have still found space for another round of these hand-rolled, banana-stuffed babies.
Not to be overlooked, the Botherambo bar is home to some of the best cocktails in Melbourne if you’re on the hunt for a creative tipple that you won’t find anywhere else. You’ll find top-notch staple classics—a Negroni, Aviation, Old Cuban and Espresso Martini all feature—but the highlights are most definitely the Botherambo signature drinks, many of which contain house-infused spirits created using top quality ingredients and a sous-vide bath. White Lies, a chargrilled pineapple rum infusion that’s spiced with star anise, lychee and lemon is a true stand-out if you like things sweet, and the Ladyboy is anything but: Jasmine tea bourbon makes up the backbone of this peanut sesame-dressed hard-hitter.
But even we acknowledge that some occasions don’t call for cocktails. Like weekday lunchtimes. If you’re looking for a tasty, on-the-go lunch in Richmond, Bothermbo’s express take-away lunch menu has you covered AND leaves you change from a $10 note. If you’re a bahn-mi lover—and we know that literally thousands of you are—you simply have to try the crispy pork belly Vietnamese roll, which comes stuffed to the crust with drool-worthy pork and veggies (of course, there’s a tofu option too!). Feeling like treating yourself to a lunch in Richmond that gives you that little bit extra? The lobster, coconut and chilli kewpie bahn-mi is the best $16 you’ll spend all week. Guaranteed.
Whether it’s food that’s doing good (thank you, Feast of Merit), or wine bars that are championing the grape (welcome to the strip, The Ugly Duckling), Richmond has well and truly become a suburb that’s worth eating and drinking your way around. And, whether it’s a local’s lunch, a multi-course Asian dining experience, or a drink so delicious you’ll be fantasising about it for a good few weeks to come, Botherambo is the perfect place to start.
Editor's Note: This article is proudly sponsored by Botherambo and endorsed by The Urban List. Thank you for supporting the sponsors who make The Urban List possible. Click here for more information on our editorial policy.
Image credit: Michelle Jarni for The Urban List