Son in Law, Melbourne

Clockwise from top left: pork belly, massaman curry, green papaya salad, chicken curry

Clockwise from top left: pork belly, massaman curry, green papaya salad, chicken curry

Our restaurant critics' picks of the latest and best eats around the country right now: Son in Law, Melbourne.

With its multi-pastel colour scheme, themed cocktails (a spicy Bloody Mary with Sriracha sauce, a vodka and coconut Samui Slushie, a Mae Khong Sour), and Thai-accented tacos, sliders and fried chicken, it'll come as no shock to learn that Son in Law bills itself as a "Modern Thai" restaurant. That it's also in Collingwood might lead some to presume all its moves come direct from the hipster playbook, but the place is too good natured and relaxed to be tarred with such a cynical brush. Plus it's cute. Another plus is that the food is more than cute, displaying some balance and attractive freshness, even if its relationship with the hot and sour can be a little polite. A green papaya salad, for example, is given a three-chilli rating on the menu but the chilli heat registers as a smoulder rather than a burn. The rest of the salad - slippery, crunchy, refreshing - ticks all the boxes. Seared scallops with green apple and lotus root are also good, as are deep-fried barra fillets served with chilli, mint, coriander and roasted rice, and a simple but very effective dish of stir-fried gai lan with chilli and oyster sauce. If you're after the hipster side of things, your best bet is the buns - very good Thai fish cakes stuffed into brioche with peanuts, Kewpie mayo and caramelised vinegar. Purists may not find what they're after at Son in Law, but those looking for well-priced, well-cooked food, a cute room and a good time will be chuffed.

Son in Law, 56 Johnston St, Collingwood, Vic, (03) 9410 0399. Open Tue-Fri 5.30pm-11.30pm, Sat-Sun 11.30am-11.30pm.

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