Topham Mall and Waymouth Street will be getting a flavour boost when Kangkong and Gypsy Dragon open their doors later this month.
Two new venues are coming to Waymouth Street, kicking off Topham Mall’s rejuvination. Kangkong and Gypsy Dragon, a new restaurant and bar, will be opening later this month at 44 Waymouth Street, the former site of the Community CPS credit union. Run by Robert Parsons and Ron Kohli, Kangkong and Gypsy Dragon will be a double-act of South-East Asian food and drink. They’ve brought in Matthew Miles to head up the kitchen; Miles has spent the last two years working at Gaucho’s, and a further eight years before that travelling Australia, Asia and the Middle East. These flavours will be reflected in the Kangkong menu. As Kangkong and Gypsy Dragon operate under separate licences, there are slightly different rules and plans in place for the venues. Taking inspiration from Melbourne’s Chin Chin and Go Go Bar, Gypsy Dragon will be alongside the Waymouth Street venue, occupying some laneway space in Topham Mall. Gypsy Dragon, says Parsons, will be a “mobile bar” with a stronger focus on cocktails. The cocktails are inspired by South-East Asian flavours, with teas and spices getting a look in. Accompanying gin are flavours like thai basil in a bitter gourd tea, or a sweeter choice will have a touch of aloe. They’re quite unlike the traditional cocktails that are seeing a resurgence around town. While the licences and premises are technically separated, the two venues will be sharing quite a lot across their menus. Miles has planned a range of generous dishes suited for sharing. Priced around $12 to $15 per plate, options include an umami-crusted salmon (coated in crushed nori and bonito flakes) with miso and sake-soaked pickles, or squid stuffed with pork mince, lily flowers and mushrooms.
There will be quite a few salad choices on the menu, and hero items like steak in a mirin, sake and Murray River pink-salt marinade. Robert Parsons also assures hungry readers that there will be plenty of vegetarian and vegan options to choose from. “I think, in this day and age, you need to,” says Parsons. “It’s more and more common. I think you’re mad if you don’t try and accommodate everybody. There will be a good spread to cater to all tastes. My wife’s vegetarian and we eat a wide variety of things at home and when we go out, so I’d be very disappointed if that’s not reflected in my own venue.” Kangkong and Gypsy Dragon will be opening later this month. Keep an eye on their progress via their Facebook page.