The Playmaker
Let's play
  • It's Monday
    What day is it?
  • Now
    What time is it?
  • Anywhere in Melbourne
    Where are you?
  • What do you feel like?
    What do you feel like?
  • And what else?
    And what else?


Boozy yum cha brunches and chilli crab jaffles at this CBD Chinese eatery.
By Libby Curran
January 15, 2020
By Libby Curran
January 15, 2020

Somewhere at the intersection of old-school and new-school Chinese lies Flinders Lane newcomer Tian38, the latest venture from Nic Soon (Sydney's Ms. G's) and Masterchef's Kha Nguyen (Jamu Dining).

The stylish space pays homage to the traditional, while wholeheartedly embracing the contemporary, sporting a assembly of neon, fish tanks and luxurious banquette seating courtesy of Elvin Tan Designs.

Sticking to a similar approach, the menu offering is considered with a touch of playfulness, starring creations like a prawn toast-inspired sando stuffed with minced prawn, black tobiko and citrus mayo ($12), and a flavour-packed Hainan chicken rice ($32/$52). Cheesy jaffles loaded with chilli crab are destined for cult status ($15), while traditionalists are sure to lap up classics like the signature laksa (from $17), dan dan noodles ($16) and peking duck ($39/$69).

There's an express lunch menu and a solid choice of banquet options, though weekends were made for Tian38's boozy yum cha brunch. This one's just $69 a head (or $49 sans drinks) for 90 minutes of free-flowing yum cha plates, espresso martinis, mandarin mimosas and rosé, on offer from 11.30am–3pm Saturdays.

Created by Diageo World Class Top 100 bartender Kane Clayfield, the drinks list is packed with gems of its own, reworking classic cocktails with an Asian-inspired twist. Team those dumplings with the likes of a lychee-infused Maotini ($18), or the Tian Sling: a blend of chilli and shiitake vodka, Grand Marnier, pineapple and bitters ($18).

Images: H. Trumble


  • List
  • Map


  • List
  • Map


  • List
  • Map
Tap and select Add to Home Screen to access Concrete Playground easily next time. x
Counter Pixel