It's Burke Road and yet you wouldn't know it once you're through the doors of Juno and May. The sultry sounds of a swirling ambient world music soundscape transport you elsewhere, somewhere far from the Camberwell shopping strip. Somewhere with dim and yet strategically placed down lighting, hanging greenery and semi-booth seats. It's almost a velvety atmosphere; sophisticated, yet still relaxed.
Juno and May's head chef and co-owner Henry Honner grew up on the family farm in South Australia. A desire for a television set led to the purchase of two dairy cows — Juno and May — and a morning and evening milking chore for Henry and his brother. The money earned from the sale of the milk providing the coveted television and the name for this suburban eatery.
It's a little tricky to get a handle on which style of cuisine Juno and May is actually going for as its ambitious menu covers street food from various corners of the world — think dim sims, mini banh mi, duck spring rolls and buttermilk fried chicken. More puzzling is which particular street a scallop in a half shell with cauliflower puree and green apple nam jim ($4.50 each) might be sold, but nonetheless it is a beautiful mouthful of flavour and texture. The plump little scallop is tender and smoky and contrasts beautifully with the silky purée and dollop of tangy sauce.
The small plates section continues the cuisine variety with a South American offering of market fish ceviche ($15.50). This is light and summery with its avocado, tomato and coriander, although citrus dressing can often be a flavour thief when it comes to fish — and, sadly, that's the case here. More worth ordering are the lamb cutlets with moussaka ravioli and a spaghettini of blue swimmer crab. You can taste Honner's penchant for Italian food in his buttery yet light blue swimmer crab spaghettini — it's a nice balance of generous crab flesh and chilli.
Larger dishes are an Asian-South American mix, featuring the likes of beef rendang curry and gado gado alongside 16-hour beef short ribs with house mash and chimichurri ($31.50), and a roasted duck with Asian greens ($31). The desserts on the other hand are straight out of England; an Eton Mess, bread and butter pudding and a chocolate soft-centred pudding all feature ($13-14).
Variety is supposedly the spice of life, and if you're into travelling the gastronomic world all in one night, you can certainly do that at Juno and May.