This month, we're exploring the latest and greatest Chinese restaurants in Melbourne. There's spice from the Dainty Sichuan crew, hot pots around the clock, and a luxe Cantonese-Sichuan restaurant that offers a $400 claypot.
The Dainty Sichuan empire has turned its hand to barbecue at their new joint Rising Embers. Each table has a gas-fired grill and an iPad to choose what to chuck on the barbie. There's plenty of good grilling stuff – lamb coated in chilli, cumin and Sichuan pepper, pork belly in a garlic marinade, platters of 9-score Kobe wagyu. There are non-DIY dishes, too, like spicy eggplant with spring onion.
Level 1, 139 Little Bourke St, Melbourne, (03) 9663 7616.
The building on Albert Park Lake, formerly home to The Point, is now Sun Kitchen, a 200-seat restaurant with nine private dining rooms upstairs, a 6000-bottle cellar and a Cantonese and Sichuan menu boasting luxury ingredients from lobster and snow crab to truffles, wagyu and abalone. Getting most of the attention is the $398 Imperial Treasure claypot, but there are plenty of earthier treasures on the extensive menu, including a rather good sweet and sour pork.
9 Aquatic Dr, Albert Park, (03) 9682 5566.
Dragon Hot Pot
You'll usually find a troupe of post-service chefs at 24-hour spicy-soup specialist Dragon Hot Pot. There are three versions to choose from before customising with ingredients (everything from tofu to offal) that you select from the fridge before taking them to the counter to be weighed and cooked in the soup. The signature broth is the deep orange-red malatang, alongside a hot and sour and a collagen bone broth.
213 Russell St, Melbourne, (03) 9662 1833.