While the inspiration behind Carlton's Super Ling is mostly Chinese, it's probably not exactly the kind you're used to. Arriving on Queensberry Street to broaden your culinary horizons, the eatery's a celebration of Hakka cuisine, the traditional, broadly influenced food of the nomadic Hakka Chinese people.
The 30-seat heritage space has been taken on by owners Iain Ling (Hotel Lincoln, MoVida Aqui) and chef Michael Li (Lee Ho Fook, MoVida), who've drawn on their own backgrounds to deliver a Hakka-inspired offering infused with tastes from China, France and Mauritius.
There's plenty of comfort factor in dishes like chicken congee with all the trimmings, sticky char siu pork ribs and a noodle stir fry with beef and black bean. Probably a little less familiar are creations such as the Mauritian appetiser hakkien — a type of spring roll made with chayote squash, carrot, pork and barramundi — and the Hakka favourite moy choy, featuring braised pork belly and mustard greens.
And then there's the mash-ups that pretty much everyone can get around: clever concoctions like a mapo tofu-stuffed jaffle, and a Chinese take on the mille-feuille, done with Sichuan custard and pineapple.
Images: Kate Shanasy.