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Coda - Fusion Heaven in a Chic Basement
Coda is an exciting chic hatted restaurant just off Flinders Lane in a groovy basement that serves up innovative sharing style with Asian influences including Malaysian and Vietnamese. Walk down into the basement and grab a stool at the bar and watch the culinary team at work. Or grab a table in the various dining spaces. Funky lighting (wire covering is a talking point), cool art and large windows welcome natural light and a view of the bustling CBD above.
Head chef and co-owner Adam D'Sylva's menu dances all over fusion with Asian and European influences. Sometimes Vietnamese. Sometimes Korean. But a cacophony of styles and tastes and combinations that excite!
The staff are engaging and helpful when it comes to menu choices. The menu is so flexible so grab choices from the around 20 smaller tapas style dishes and a main or two, including the legendary Roasted Yellow Duck Curry...
In fact Coda offers some of the more notable smaller dishes in the city... Just ordering 4 or 5 of these makes for an excellent meal. I settled in at the long chunky shiny timber bar to enjoy a memorable lunch - often conversing with the Maitre d and watching the chefs in action...
After singing the praises of the rice paper roll I was quickly hailing the Char siu pork bun with pickled vegetables and chilli jam as another triumph. The pork was wonderful against the tang of pickled vegetables and the spice of the chilli jam. I was taken by the bun itself - not mushy or dry like some around the city - but great soft consistency and shape.
Honestly the highlights at Coda kept coming. I understand why this place is so popular. Passion and pride in every dish. And a high degree of culinary flair and superb presentation.
Perhaps the absolute highlight was the Quail lettuce delight,lup cheong, shitake mushroom, coriander and water chestnuts... A large lettuce leaf inside a bowl with the most delectable filling. What a way to eat quail!
I prefer this minced up version of quail to the usual quandary of battling to get quail off the bone. The richness of the quail together with silky shitake mushrooms, punch of the chinese sausage, and crunch of water chestnuts is a serious flavoursome and balancing combination. The name "Quail delight" is apt.
Chargrilled lamb cutlet with harissa and honey yoghurt is also delightful and could eat another few of these...
Coda is a chic restaurant. There's something about dining in a basement. Coda is not dark and grungy but, as you can see in the photo, filled with light during the lunch period. The crowd builds up quickly after 12pm...
Coda is an iconic Melbourne restaurant that continues to excite. Next time I intend to try the Roasted yellow duck curry or the Cape Grim Scotch fillet and indeed the Ice cream sandwich - but the option of several small dishes is attractive.