Jamu Dining, Richmond

Eat, Melbourne / 19 September 2019

Perfect for group business lunches, intimate dinners, and bottomless brunches, Jamu is your ideal destination for modern Asian-Australian cuisine.

 

When it comes to Asian cuisine in Melbourne, Richmond has long been the go-to place for delicious, cheap-and-cheerful fare. Whether you’re craving a comforting bowl of pho, a hearty massaman curry, or a savoury fluffy bao, the suburb’s rich migrant history ensures that all can be found at various bustling eateries just a short wander up Victoria Street or Bridge Road. Enter Jamu. Tucked away in a quiet residential street, just off the main drag, Jamu combines flavours and influences from all across Asia and the Indochina region in a relaxing and refined dining setting that makes it just as ideal a venue for business lunches as it does for an intimate dinner or for their famed bottomless brunches.

Nestled on the ground floor of a chic apartment complex on Dyer Street, Jamu is just a short stroll off Bridge Road, and it’s amazing how quickly the cars and chaos fade away as you walk the few hundred metres away to the restaurant’s quiet hiding place.

With an open plan kitchen, and modern decor, Jamu is a calm and elegant space, with its corner location at a unique wedge junction between two side streets allowing light to flood in from every side. Despite its sleek and stylish decor and design, Jamu manages to avoid the coldness that plagues so many ultramodern venues, with warm lighting and rich timbers a focal point throughout the venue.

Jamu’s warmth carries through to the menu, which features all of our favourite comfort flavours from across Asia, married together with modern Australian cuisine that is as inspired by the coffee shops of Malaysia and izakayas of Japan, as it is by the chef’s grandma’s kitchen. Dishes are rich, flavourful, and nourishing, and prepared with a finesse that elevates Jamu’s cuisine and stands it apart from its contemporaries.

Among Jamu’s atlas of dishes, you’ll find traditional flavour profiles nestled comfortably along-side East-meets-West fusion dishes, as well as dishes that cherry pick the most delicious ingredients from across the region and combine them for flavour bomb dishes that will win over even the most staunch meat-and-three-veg devotee in your crew.

Offering an express lunch option, with a smaller best-ofs menu based on their dinner offering, Jamu is a huge hit with local workers, who flock to the Dyer Street venue. If you’re treating yourself to a lazy lunch, the lunch set menu includes your choice of the express lunch menu dishes as well as a beer, wine or Prosecco.┬áJamu’s bottomless brunches are – unsurprisingly – incredibly popular. With a choice of one express lunch menu dish and two hours of bottomless selected beverages – including everybody’s favourite brunch tipple, the Mimosa – Jamu is definitely one to add to your must-visit brunch list.

Pumpkin Salad at Jamu

But it’s the extensive dinner menu where Jamu really shines. When it comes to appetisers, you’ll find everything from oysters with calamansi sorbet – a Philippine Lime known for its tartness and zestiness – to cheeseburger filled spring rolls, and my personal favourite: a vibrantly yellow hued and deliciously smooth curried hummus served with strikingly purple Congo potato chips that make for a dish that is equal parts delicious and stunning to look at.

The larger dishes are designed for sharing, and you’ll find familiar seafood favourites like Kingfish Ceviche and charred octopus given a pan-Asian vibe by way of fresh and zingy Thai sweet and sour sauce and rice crisps. There’s also plenty of options for your plant based friends, with crispy eggplant served with a vegetarian friendly fish sauce, or the mushroom and tofu roll with watercress making a perfect hearty veg friendly option. Jamu also boasts a menu in which almost all dishes are – or can be made – gluten free, so everyone in your gang will leave feeling satisfied and happy.

We tried out the roasted half chicken served in a silky turmeric and lemongrass curry, and it was the highlight of our night (to be honest, probably my week). This dish was the ultimate in comfort food. Perfectly tender roast chook, served alongside sweet potato and okra in a rich and flavoursome curry, with a few dots of chilli oil for a kick, this would definitely be one I’d recommend to anyone visiting Jamu for the first time. If you’ll be hitting up Jamu for the express lunch, don’t worry – they have a smaller 1/4 size serving with rice available for a lunch on the go.

Milk Donuts with Black Sesame Ice Cream at Jamu

Jamu’s sweet offerings menu is concise, leading with a vegan friendly soy flan served with poached nashi, ginger syrup, and vegan honeycomb, while the coconut and lime ice-cream sandwich – a heavenly combo of ice cream, chocolate brownie, candied almonds, pineapple and spiced rum – will be a favourite all round. We couldn’t go past the milk donuts. Served with a tangy and rich orange curd and luxurious black sesame ice cream, the milk donuts were delicious, fluffy balls of fried sugary goodness were the perfect end to an amazing dinner at Jamu.

Venture off the main thoroughfare and pay Jamu a visit, and we’re sure this little gem will become your newest go-to.

If you want to read more about Jamu – and other dishes we’ve tried there – check out our visit last year here.