There’s always an element of familiarity and homely deliciousness that comes along with any visit to an Asian restaurant – and Niubi, a newly opened 4-storey venue tucked away in the alleys of Heffernan Lane in Melbourne’s Chinatown, is no exception. Their concept is not only fusion Asian cuisine, but also somewhat of a fusion Chinatown experience, with a supremely chic and contemporary interior that creates a bright and “grammable” atmosphere. Gone are the days of indifferent customer service, cramped oily tables and MSG-loading that leaves you craving for water after, because Niubi dares to challenge your Asian family gathering stereotype in all the right ways.

The good fat: Although titled a pan-Asian restaurant, Niubi for me, definitely felt like a Chinatown restaurant that respected the flavours of traditional Asian cuisine, and particularly Chinese cooking, that made me feel at home.

We started the meal with a winner – Salted Egg Prawn Toast ($13.8 for 3 pcs). I was so eager to drizzle on the thick salted egg-inspired tartare sauce, and each bite through the crispy dough to reach the tender prawns buried inside was a combination texture explosion.

The Salted Egg Yolk Prawns ($42.8) were SO thick and juicy, surrounded by a crispy shell, clutching just at the flesh, and absolutely begging to be crunched on (so yes I ate the shell! that was some true crunch ASMR). The tendrils of salted egg floss and bed of colourful salad completed the dish.

The highlight of our Niubi meal was definitely the Niubi Special Live Mud Crab with Vermicelli in Claypot (M.P.) which you can order as part of a set meal (highly recommend for a special occasion with the family!). When a huge mud crab has been infusing the flavours of a vermicelli soup, the richness of the broth is second to none. A dash of ginger, garlic, spring onion and one cannot go amiss. Complete with gloves and wet wipes to ensure your Niubi crab experience isn’t an absolute mess, we happily slurped on the vermicelli, sipped the broth, and munched our way through the mud crab.

One of my absolute childhood favourites is Peking roast duck – and I was ecstatic when we had this dish at Niubi. The rich sweet and saltiness of the BBQ sauce and the shiny crispy duck skin…

A Chinese dinner is never complete without Stir fry Vegetables and Tofu ($22.8) – and whilst the dish was simple, the gelatinous texture of the tofu soup was commendable. The slivers of egg and smooth strips of vermicelli were a nice touch.

The bad fat: Given that the prawn toast does feature salted egg in its name, the salted egg flavour could be more prominent either within the dipping sauce, or perhaps in the toast batter itself.

I would have liked the Peking duck to also come with the thin pancakes on the side especially as it was a bit confusing with the strips of cucumbers on the side (was I supposed to make a wrap?) – this would also help to undercut the traditionally salty sauce. The skin could have also been crispier (or it could be us taking too long to take photos…)



2wofatgirls would like to thank Niubi Chinatown, Melbourne CBD for the invitation to dine – these opinions are strictly unbiased and were influenced in no way by the collaboration.


Niubi Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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