Chef Andrew McConnell is the King of Flinders Lane. Where once this Melbourne street was lined with garment factories, today it’s the epicentre of eateries and the heart of McConnell’s empire. Supernormal is the most recently established of them, starting off as a pop-up in the inner-city suburb of Fitzroy, it now occupies a deceptively large space in the shadows of Melbourne’s St Paul’s cathedral.

It needs to be large; even on a coolish weeknight, the line-up of people waiting for a table or bar spot is extremely long. Supernormal only takes bookings for large groups but has an internal ‘holding’ area that, no matter where you sit, you can order a drink and try to chat while you wait your turn. Greedy Girl says ‘try to chat’ advisedly. This is one noisy restaurant. You can sit up at the long bar, be lucky enough to snag a booth spot (which looks the most comfortable and offers a good vantage point for what’s coming out of the kitchen) or find yourself at one of the very many tables occupying the rest of the space.

On a night out with the Persian Foodie and ordering a very passable rosé, we were pleased that we’d consumed less than half of our glass when we were moved across to our table. There’s no doubt McConnell’s restaurants appeal to a particular demographic; the place was full of cashed up Gen X and Ys, with a lot of groups. One needs to be careful in moving around the floor because the tables are quite close together. No doubt the wait staff are used to it.

The food here is a pan-Asian mixture, taking a number of Korean, Japanese and Chinese influences. Many of the dishes are identical from McConnell’s Golden Fields restaurant which closed down in St Kilda (you can read that review here) and has been replaced by the French bistro Luxembourg, also a part of the chef’s stable. Greedy Girl was hoping to try some different dishes from that experience and, given the Persian Foodie is Jewish, happily she wasn’t fussed about not having the signature lobster roll. All good. We snacked on a complimentary dish of roasted pumpkin seeds and perused the menu.

Our first dish was sautéed mushrooms with rice cake and sweet soy, pictured at the top of this blog. Mushrooms are interesting little things. Over the years Greedy Girl’s gone from despising them to being, well, a mushroom fiend. Everything from the humble button variety all the way to the ultimate fungi, the truffle, she rarely meets a mushroom dish she doesn’t like. This was a triumph; the soy was slightly sticky and the rice cake was still crunchy, alongside the various textures of mushroom. Delish.

Next, we had the duck ‘bao’ (bun). This was a twice-cooked duck leg, served with slices of cucumber and a plum/vinegar dressing. The serving usually offers three pancakes. Our waitress asked if we’d like to ‘supersize’ it to four. Indeed we would. The duck was flavoursome although Greedy Girl found it a bit dry. Also, she’s not fond of many of the Chinese vinegars and this was no exception; it was hard to get additional moisture into her dish. The pancakes are very similar to the bar buns used in Korean-American chef David Chang’s Momofuku empire but Greedy Girl prefers the dish to come complete – gluttonous husband is a master of getting meat off bones and he wasn’t in evidence this particular evening. Still, as Greedy Girl admits, the flavours were good.

Supernormal duck

Twice-cooked duck

Supernormal pancakes

The accompanying pancakes

Finally, we had the slow-cooked Szechuan lamb, served with spring onion pancakes and a dish coriander paste (both on the side). Greedy Girl was a bit full by this stage although she appreciated the vibrancy of the sauce with the lamb. The meat itself was incredibly soft (as you’d hope). While she and the Persian Foodie tucked in, there was still more than half of the dish left over. The wait staff were more than happy to package it up for the Persian Foodie’s lunch the next day.

Supernormal Szechuan lamb

Slow-cooked Szechuan lamb

And we were done; neither of us had the room to order the peanut butter, salted caramel and chocolate parfait, which also was the ‘go-to’ dessert at Golden Fields. We out into the evening and a taxi for the Persian Foodie while Greedy Girl trundled off to catch a tram home.

Greedy Girl considers she’s tasted all the main dishes from this concept (which includes Golden Fields). She’ll be looking closely to see how the menu evolves over time.


180 Flinders Lane, Melbourne

Supernormal Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tagged under: , , , ,