Kinya Japanese Cuisine – Hidden Treasure

Kinya Japanese Cuisine is a hidden treasure away from the hustle and bustle of the city along a quiet dock of the Yarra river in South Wharf. If you don’t know where I’m talking about, it’s just off Lorimer St, South Wharf area on the other side of the Docklands. The food is authentic Japanese Cuisine with a plentiful array of Japanese beer and wine. Their prices are a bit expensive with little on the plate but, aren’t all fancy Japanese restaurants?

Kinya caters for outdoor and indoor seating which may make sense on a beautiful summer night although in Melbourne, that’s a rare occasion. When I went, it was freezing and windy, plus there wasn’t many people around in that area so the outdoor seating area was a bit of a waste.


Their dinner menu is al le carte but I would of appreciated some banquet options.

The waitresses are all dressed in a kimono which made me feel like I was in Japan and they all smiled and were very polite.

The setting, ambience and decor was lovely and the sunken floor dining is a favourite of mine and would love to have that in my own home. They also have a regular seating area with high cushioned chairs (looks cosy) and a private room/area.
I tend to order sashimi as entree, plus I love the way they present the dish.

Also for entree we had some pickled vegetables with some shaved bonito flakes (it moves around like it’s alive). I’ve seen these bonito flakes before on top of some octopus balls and I thought my octopus was still alive. You need to see it to understand. Also some soba noodles which is nothing without its sauce. It was quite nice but I think the soba noodles at Yu-U are better.
It doesn’t look like it but this was the Asali Chawan Mushisteam egg custard with clams and Japanese mushroom. Somewhere buried inside the custard was those cute little mushrooms and clams but the flavour of the custard seemed a little strange to me but I still enjoyed it as I kept on tasting.
My favourite entree was the Salmon Tartar chopped fresh salmon with caviar top on quail egg. Just the name of the dish makes my mouth water. It was gorgeously plated up and a teaspoon of the salmon and quail egg just melts in your mouth.

Another dish that my partner and I seem to order is scampi. I just love the meat of the scampi and this dish was topped with a mushroom mornay sauce which complemented the scampi well. I could eat scampi all day.I can’t get enough of eel and I totally love the way the Japanese prepare the eel and the sweet sauce they dress it with which just brings out the best of the eel.

The Golden Fish – Grilled marinated snow fish with chef’s special miso (Kinya’s signature dish, a must try). Honestly I can’t remember what it tasted like but looking at the picture it looked very delicate, lightly seasoned and I would of most likely gobbled it up in 2 bites 🙂
Ikiyakigrilled squid, garnished with daikon, spring onion with mayonaise and pauzu sauce. The mayonaise and pauzu sauce complimented well with the grilled squid. I really enjoyed this dish and the scampi.

We opted for the Dessert Platter Combination of 3 types of desserts.. We chose the Vanilla Panacotta, Creme Brulee and the Banana Tempura. My eyes are always greedy so I wanted to taste everything but it served me right as I was really disappointed in the desserts. They were flavourless and very tiny for a large price. In my opinion, you’re better off without dessert but if you must, I suggest you go for the ice-cream option.

Kinya a bit pricey but the food speaks for itself and stays true to its descriptions on the menu. I can say that Kinya’s food is similar to that of Shoya but I still rate Shoya higher in food quality and presentation. Kinya is hidden but is a beautiful scene for a romantic dinner or a wonderful celebration as the food is authentic, well crafted and you get service with a smile. Honestly, the only reason I found out about Kinya was through Spreets group buy site but I’m glad I came across it even though we ended up spending double the discount price but it was all worth it and I wouldn’t mind eating there again but not any time soon.

Location:64A River Esp, Docklands VIC 3008, (03) 9646 2400
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www.kinya.com.au

 

Bella Vedere – Fresh Produce from the Yarra Valley

Bella Vedere Sign Post
Bella Vedere, I learnt Italian when I was in high school and I definitely know Bella means Beautiful. With “Vedere”, I mistakenly thought it was Verde which is the colour Green in Italian so I had to look the word Vedere up. Google says it means ‘to see’, ‘to look at’, ‘meet’, ‘visit’, etc…

So If I put the two words together, “Bella Vedere”, I would say it means something like Beautiful To See. But I went further and consulted Google Translate and it told me it means Nice To See.

OK, enough Italian for today. Lets talk about Bella Vedere. Gary Cooper is part owner and head chef of Bella Vedere and has maintained a one hat Michelin rating for Bella Vedere three years in a row. I can’t believe I ate there and didn’t realise he was in the kitchen cooking my lunch (If I paid more attention I would of taken a photo with him).As you drive in, you’re greeted with a lovely town house building with some grape plantation on either side. The grapes were covered, most likely to protect the grapes as it was a week before harvest time when I went.The front is welcoming, with a small section on the right dedicated for wine tasting and on the left is the Bella Bakehouse for when you walk into the restaurant you are drawn in by the freshly baked bread.As you walk past the small bakery, you see a wall of local produce. Did I mention, Bella Vedere is known for using local produce that make up their menu and the menu always changes from season to season or available stock.In the back, they have their own garden where a number of their vegetables and fruits are sourced from. You can also see their neighbour from the garden which from memory was Oakridge Vineyard which looked spectacular.On the left hand side of the corridor directly after the jars of local produce you are tempted with freshly baked cakes and dessert. I think the first dessert pictured below is tiramisu. If you duck your head and have a peek inside the kitchen, the chef’s are very welcoming and are happy to say hello. The restaurant is nice and cosy, white clothed tables, dressed with cutlery for a three course meal, freshly baked bread and fresh flowers and produce from the garden. There’s also a bar and an open kitchen for all to see.The waiters were very helpful and polite and offered water and wine as we settled onto our table. There were 7 of us for lunch and we heard great things about this restaurant so we weren’t about to hold back. We started with entree…scampi…Ox Tounge salad…Thickly Cut chips with egg and another one with some special sauceWhile we were waiting for the food, some of us went outside to look at the garden and as everyone walked back in Miss J, casually started a convo with one of the chefs. Who convinced her to order some smoked or grilled eel that he was preparing. Later on we realised she was speaking to Gary Cooper. The eel’s skin was quite rubbery but was warned by Gary to take off the skin. I think the eel was grilled but it had a real smokey flavour to it which I didn’t mind.
Not onto the lunch mains…don’t let the pictures deceive you, these dishes were a treat and I would recommend all of them but then again, when you visit the restaurant, the menu most likely would of changed or there would be a slight variant.
Half a duck, looks small on photo but looked fairly large on the plate.Next we have quail. The entree serves one quail and the main serves two. If you’re not hungry I suggest just the one will satisfy you.A thinly slice minute cooked steak is next on the list which we though was going to be a small dish but it was fairly sized and filled up the two that ordered it. It looks thick on the photo, but it’s actually a thin slice of beef ontop of mash potato or vegetables.My favourite was probably the rabbit dish which I scabbed some off Miss J. The dish looks small on the photo but it was a generous serving of rabbit.Two of us were game enough to try something that sounds pretty disgusting but as foodies, we were up for anything. And that dish was “LAMB BRAINS“!!! I’m not pulling your leg, look at the pictures below. It was pure lamb brains with a nice tangy sauce.Here’s a close up of the lamb brains with the outer layer peeled off. YUMMMMM!!!I have to admit, it did get a bit sickening after the 5th piece. It would of been nice with some rice, in my opinion.

We made sure we made some room for dessert. A bit of tiramisu, strawberry cheesecake & a rich chocolate ganache cake with a biscuit casing.

I came with little expectation and an empty stomach and either way I definitely enjoyed the dishes, the setting, the service, the company and the fresh air of the country side. Make it a day trip, there’s definitely plenty to do in the Yarra Valley area. Make sure to visit some other places around the area such as Domaine Chandon, Little Creatures Brewery, The White Rabbit Brewery, Healsville Sanctuary and so much more.

Location:874 Maroondah Hwy, Coldstream VIC 3770
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Good Times At Queen Vic Night Market

 


Have you been to the Suzuki Night Market yet? Well next week (March 2nd 2011) is the last one until Nov later this year.

Do you go for the food? maybe for the entertainment? the great bargains? or maybe because of the awesome buzz you get being at the Suzuki Night Market! Whatever it is, it’s worth a visit, entry is FREE, plenty of parking at a low flat rate and it’s great to catch up with mates.

I love going for the food and for the people.

Gozleme is soo good and it’s perfect to share.

My new friend from Foooooodpamperingyourself recommended the crocodile burger so I gave it go. Seeing it get cooked on the BBQ made my mouth water and I had to try one. A little chewy, didn’t taste like chicken so it was satisfying to my tummy.
Another favourite are the Churros but then again, churros are easily available at your nearest San Churro’s cafe.

On a warm night, everywhere you look, you’ll see someone holding a Sangria. I found it a bit strong but, what the hell everyone has one, why not just hold onto it and look cool like everyone else.

I don’t know why, but another thing you see a number of people holding and eating are these potato twists! So I had to try one. Very simple concept, the flavours are simple, I think it’s because it looks different.


Another popular item is the dutch pancakes! I have to say, the cream, butter, chocolate and sugar they put on these things make it a deadly sugar overdose dessert!!!

There’s plenty more food available and great entertainment on both ends of the market. Arrive early to avoid the lines and goodluck finding a table after 7pm. If you haven’t been yet. Next week is the last one for a while. But then again, there’s always next time. Enjoy the rest of the food pics.

Actually I forgot to show you my friend’s creativity or immaturity. It’s all good, my friend’s and I think he’s alright.

Location:155 Victoria Street, Melbourne VIC 3000
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China Bar Signature – All You Can Eat


Love asian food? Wish you could eat all the oysters and peking duck you can eat? Then you have to try China Bar Signature Buffet in Burwood!!! It was like a dream come true walking into that place.

The tables are prepared nicely, there’s plenty of space and the place is nice and clean.


Their dinner sessions are from 5:45pm-7:45pm & 8pm-10pm. 2hrs you say? Trust me it’s plenty of time and I advise you to take your time because it’s easy to get full at this place.

Want some raw fish? Ask the sushi chef and he’d slice you some raw salmon, yellowtail & raw tuna. I couldn’t stop myself from having too much sushi & sashimi but thought to myself I can get sushi anytime, so I diverted my tactics to seafood!!!

I probably had 2 dozens oysters, a dozen prawns and a whole lot of scallops.

Peking duck is my favourite and there was an unlimited supply of it. There were two chefs stationed at the peking duck and duck soup section making sure there was enough duck to go around. At one point they were struggling to keep up but managed to keep up with my demands.

They even had a section for noodle lovers, where you could tell the chef to put together the ingredients and then he’d cook the noodle dish for you.

You can’t call it an asian buffet without the dim sim section.

I didn’t manage my time well and got full with 45mins. I had another 1hr 15mins to go but couldn’t help myself to the beautiful wall of desserts!!!

And if you’re a fan of those $1 asian flavoured ice-creams at your local asian grocery store then stuff your face with all these (I know I did)

I would have to make this place one of my top 10 restaurants to try and I’m going to make any excuse to go here at least once a year from now on.
There’s plenty more food there but I can’t cover it all, so only my favourites this time around.

Here’s a few tips for you:
-No need to arrive early (just make sure you book – plenty of tables)
-Take your time (eat slowly)
-Don’t have too much sushi (filled with rice = get full quickly)
-Don’t waste food, I think they have a disclaimer that they’ll charge you if you waste food
AND
-Make sure you leave room for dessert!!!!

Checkout their website for prices, times and reservation details

http://www.chinabarsignature.com/

Location:380 Burwood Highway, Burwood East, VIC 3151
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