Geez, what’s in the water on Punch Lane? The CBD’s theatre zone is one of the hottest strips in town right now. It’s the Hansel of dining precincts. In 2017 we got Juliet, last month we got Bar Saracen, and now (right next door) we have Sunda, new digs from the guys behind Hotel Windsor.
Sunda is your classic CBD Asian fusion—a little Malaysia, a little Vietnam, a little Melbourne, chef’d up the whazoo by Khanh Nguyen (Cirrus Dining, Mr Wong, Noma). The menu is built for sharing. It’s broken down into smaller nibbles and a few meaty mains like lamb rump with braised cashews, curry and saltbush. Saltbush is definitely the herb de jour right now. If you can invest in saltbush futures, we highly recommend jumping on-board.
With such a broad menu spanning multiple cultures and countries, it might be better to just order the $75 set menu and let your waiters make the tough calls. You can also whack on matching bevvies for an extra $50.
If you’re gonna go a la carte though, make sure you pick up a plate of the crispy tempeh with ginger flowers and tamarind, or the totally addictive Wagyu beef rending buns, topped with pickled radish. We would have been happy with just 30 of these TBH.
The beer list is tight—six curated craft beers, set to rotate with the seasons. Lay it safe with a Coburg lager, or mix things up with a bottle of the Boatrocker ‘Jungle Jive Sour’ IPA from Braeside. That thing is off the chain.
Like pretty much all the venues on Punch Lane, the atmosphere in Sunda is spot on. The guys from Kerstin Thompson Architects handled the fit-out, and it's almost tongue-in-cheek industrial. Exposed brick from floor to high-high ceiling. A big open kitchen. Plenty of ashy timber and exposed steel scaffolding that makes it feel a little like you’re dating in a construction site (but one of those fancy, high-end construction sites with excellent lighting and matched wines).
Image credit: Jenna Fahey-White