United Kitchen A Fusion Sensation in St Kilda
United Kitchen Dining and Tapas is a stunning modern Latin American fusion eatery and cocktail bar in Fitzroy Street St Kilda with excellent culinary technique and flavours, a strong cocktail game and stunning ambience. The brainchild of exceptional chef Tong, the cuisine boasts influences from Mexico as well as other South American nuances. The World Loves Melbourne was invited along to experience United Kitchen, and we feel this is the perfect destination for corporates, group catch ups, families, dates, and for general casual dining.
The name United Kitchen is a reference to the fusion elements in the cuisine. The story of young Head Chef Tong Li is a story that should be heard in Melbourne; a star chef who has won best chef in ShanDong Province in China (in the 5th biggest city in China) and who has appeared on Discovery Channel in his chef role.
Tong is also known for opening several successful restaurants in China serving western style food, as well as a successful few years in Mexico cooking in top restaurants. His love for Latino and Mexican food can be seen in the dishes at United Kitchen.
Partner Lee Li is on front of house and is a super talented jewellery designer having worked internationally in this role. Together Tong and Lee can be considered a glamour couple of Melbourne.
Cocktails are top notch at United Kitchen with some of the best cocktails we’ve enjoyed for a while. The refreshing signature Margarita’s are stunning including the Pear Margarita’s above featuring Tequila, Poire Williams, homemade pear syrup, fresh lime served with sea salt and poached pear. We loved the sophistication of this Margarita and the nuances of the house made syrup and poached pear.
Also stunning is The Sphere cocktail above; featuring Vodka, Semillon Sauvignon Blanc, raspberry syrup, watermelon syrup, cranberry juice and fresh lime served over a vodka raspberry frozen sphere.
Design is a feature here with Tong and Lee strong influences behind the design of the restaurant; which features textures of marble, rust coloured walls, funky light fittings, concrete floor and a sleek bar. Also a feature is the booth and lounge areas, adding a relaxed feel. Images above: St Kilda Tourism.
Guacamole is a must have started with an attractive presentation (not yellow corn chips but more blue/purple) and high quality traditional creamy Mexican guacamole.
Edamame is one of the best we’ve had; a simple meal but the use of spices here with chilli, lime and lemongrass dressing.
The Winter Azteca Soup is a sophisticated dish with high quality broth, infused with generous amount of quality seafood, prawn, Atlantic Salmon, squid, avocado, roasted tomato, crispy tortilla, coriander, fresh corn and lime. Here we have delightful crunch and creaminess and hit of seafood.
A humble but delightful dish is the Grilled Cos Lettuce and Mossvale blue cheese, crushed peanuts, brown butter, roasted sesame and garlic dressing. Big flavours and wonderful textures.
Light and crispy fried Liligo squid, Salsa Fresca, and Chimichurri is a nuanced dish that again celebrates textures and big flavours.
Image above: St Kilda Tourism.
With many venues serving up tacos United Kitchen specialises in crunchy Tostados; crispy corn tortillas served with refried beans, Pico de Gallo and guacamole. This was a welcome change from tacos and full of freshness, tang and crunch.
Also appealing is the Slow cooked Octopus, King Edward potato, fresh chorizo and Chimichurri. The Octopus was cooked to perfection and combined wonderfully with the creamy King Edward potato, with spice kick of chorizo. This is the kind of modern dishes we like; big flavours, fresh ingredients and interesting textures, with balance.
The Soft Shell Crab is a highlight with generous portion of two large soft shell crabs, King Edward potato, Chimichurri sauce, chilli and garlic. This was perfectly cooked with a creaminess and sweetness evident, complemented by the potato and kick of Chimichurri sauce. One of the best soft shell crab dishes we’ve had for a while.
Smaller dishes pack a punch with Parmesan Cauliflower both fried and bake and with Shichimi spice; while the Grilled corn comes with lime and blue vein cheese mayo.
Desserts are excellent at United Kitchen with a standout being the Salted caramel peanut butter spring rolls; decadent and flavoursome with vanilla bean ice cream and caramel sauce. These indulgent treats are a must order at United Kitchen.
United Kitchen is an affordable and innovative modern dining destination in St Kilda that impresses at every level. We would describe the food as honest, innovative and sexy; the service as engaging; and the cocktail offerings as exceptional. We enjoyed the house made and fresh local produce ethos of this restaurant. Parking is easily available in surrounding streets (or even on Fitzroy Street). There’s a sense of fun and playfulness at United Kitchen that appeals to modern diners. Get on it!