On 15 April, Melbourne diners will not only receive a new noodle restaurant in their CBD, but the first venue from multi-cuisine restaurant group Dining Concepts, which plans to roll out restaurants across Australia in the coming years.

The first of these is Noodle Lab, a concept intended to change the way diners think of noodles. With young chef Ryan Domingo (Pure South, Ten Minutes by Tractor) at the helm, the menu will deliver playful and inventive takes on classic dishes while still paying homage to Asian recipes and ingredients.

Some of the familiar dishes on the menu will be given a twist in the form of an unexpected ingredient, such as with the Duck Mee or ‘Lab’s Duck Special’. Noodle Lab’s spin on this classic Chinese marinated duck dish will involve duck that has been slow-cooked at a low temperature and paired with spicy red curry sauce, caramelised pineapple and grapes.

Although traditional Asian ingredients will be used throughout the menu, the team has emphasised a strong focus on local provenance, such as lamb sourced from Warrnambool and seafood from Port Lincoln. An example of a dish where fresh ingredients will sing is the King Ryu Soba, which comprises Kingfish cured in citrus and served with green tea soba noodles, tree mushroom and edamame dressed in roasted sesame and pickled ginger.

One of the more inventive aspects of the menu is the addition of flavour-enhancing ‘shots’, which diners can choose to pair with their meal. Each dish comes with its own recommended condiment to match – such as housemade XO sauce or sweet citrus – and diners can choose how much they want to add.

Lawrence Tse, CEO of Dining Concepts Australia, comments, “Noodle Lab is all about turning what we think of Asian Noodles on its head. Everyone loves a Pad Thai or Malaysian Laksa, but why not have some fun and play around with different sauces, spices and noodle styles and make your own tradition? We’re so excited to bring this new restaurant to Melbourne, which prioritises provenance and the freshest of ingredients whilst handing over some of the menu control to you.”

Noodle Lab is the first venue from Dining Concepts. Over the next few years, the group plans to roll out restaurants across Australia, including in Perth, Sydney, Brisbane, Gold Coast, and further venues in Melbourne. The group has announced that amongst their next locations are The Star Sydney, where they will open a South-East Asian restaurant in September 2020, and the Ritz-Carlton Melbourne, where they will open a fine-dining Chinese restaurant and bar in January 2022.

Noodle Lab will open on Rose Lane on the corner of Little Bourke Street in Melbourne CBD on 15 April. It will be open for service from Tuesday to Saturday from 11.30am to 9.30pm, and available for delivery through EASI and UberEats.