Yu Kitchen Extraordinary Chinese Dinner at Chadstone
Yu Kitchen has already made a huge impact as a Chinese restaurant that respects tradition, but brings a modern twist to dishes for a first class curated experience.
After a wonderful recent Yum Cha experience at Yu Kitchen on the day it opened in Chadstone Shopping Centre, The World Loves Melbourne was invited along to experience dinner at Yu Kitchen. It was a pleasure to dine with Morri Behrmann from Stonebarn Truffles with wife Raya from The Ruby Report, and Alex and Rita Erlich (Melbourne foodie identity and author).
Yu Kitchen is a joint venture between The Oriental & Ruyi Group in Malaysia and Calia Collective of Australia. The entire menu is a curated collective of experiences.
Yu Kitchen’s menu has been designed and curated by 2 Michelin-starred chef Chen Kentaro and offers first class Chinese Yum Cha during the day and an a la carte dining in the evening. The dishes offer a sensory experience and feature classic dishes with a touch of modernity. This is both old world and new world Chinese cuisine.
Chef Bernard Kong (ex Silks) is at the helm of Yu Kitchen day to day (pictured above with Rita Erlich and Morri Behrmann).
Dining at Yu Kitchen brings with it a real sense of occasion. You feel like you are dining somewhere special. No short cuts. If you want to impress then Yu Kitchen is a great option. For locals as well as worth a drive across the city.
The location is surprising in the Luxury Precinct of Chadstone Shopping Centre. Walk up the stairs (or take the lift) to a well appointed and restaurant of class, yet approachable. During the day there's plenty of natural light, and at night the vibe changes with the lights of the burbs in view.
There's a consistency here as well - sometimes you find certain restaurants have a few hits and some fillers - but Yu Kitchen has a smaller menu than some Chinese restaurants but does everything with excellence and flair. As a restaurant that is still in its early stages they have hit the ground running.
Fried wonton skins with dips, a moorish, cheerful and interesting appetiser at Yu Kitchen. Clever to use wonton skins as crisps.
Abalone salad was a spectacular and refreshing dish. Delicate, flavoursome and luxe, the inclusion of green apple took the dish to the next level. Here we are taking the traditional concept of abalone and having some fun with a modern interpretation.
Whole Peking Duck carved at your table, one of the specialties of Yu Kitchen.
Quality and consistency are a hallmark at Yu Kitchen. Acclaimed 2 Michelin-starred chef Chen Kentaro chose 7 core dishes on the menu that only 3 people are allowed to cook - Wok Master, Sous Chef and Executive Chef Bernard Kong. It is planned that Chen Kentaro will be on hand for special dinner events.
French Fois Gras Chawanmushi with Crab Meat Soup was memorable in terms of both flavour (sweet nuances of crab) and silky smooth texture.
Here we have Japanese influences and another delicate dish. A curated dish that hits the high notes.
Curated dining at Yu Kitchen from the successful Calia Group is highly recommended.
Crab Meat Truffle Dumpling with Pumpkin was a surprise luxe dish. Delicate with perfect dumpling paired with silky sweetness of pumpkin soup.
Acclaim from our table for clever combinations and outright deliciousness.
Henschke Riesling is always a good idea, perfect with the curated cuisine.
Stir fried Whole Live Lobster with Chilli Sauce is another show stopper dish. In cold yet pristine waters approximately 100m deep off the shores of Apollo Bay you’ll find small bee hive pots that are home to Yu Kitchen selected Southern Rock Lobsters.
Lobsters are selected from Apollo Bay as the colder water makes the lobsters flesh sweet, firm and white. The chilli is a nuance but is not overdone, with the lobster as the hero ingredient. Lobster perfectly cooked and spectacularly presented.
French Chablis also the perfect wine pairing.
Here is the Stir fried Whole Live Lobster with Chilli Sauce up close, along with Wok-tossed Bok Choy with delicious Assorted Wild Mushrooms and Black Truffle in the background.
Bell Pepper Beef with Wildflower Honeycomb was a personal highlight. The beef was melt in your mouth and Executive Chef Bernard told me it is prime 1000 day grain fed beef used in the dish. Wildflower honeycomb is an inventive accompaniment.
Chrysanthenum Fried Rice with Dried Conpoy, Egg White and Goji Berries. This fried rice was a highlight in itself, let alone an accompaniment to the other dishes.
McLaren Vale Shiraz also hit the spot, perfect with the next dish.
Sweet and Sour St Louis Pork Ribs with Bell Peppers and Pineapple featured free range pork and a compelling sweet and sour sauce. As with all dishes, presentation was first class.
Here it comes. Stunning Raindrop Jelly Cake Infused with Sichuan Pepper topped with Strawberries and Palm Sugar.
Another show stopper, this time with dessert.
As the "smoke" dissipates, the dish is further revealed. The texture of the raindrop jelly sphere was extraordinary.
Salted Egg Yolk Chocolate Lava Cake with Curry Leaf Ice Cream was my favourite dessert. The salted egg yolk inside the cake was spectacular. I didn't take a picture of the cake after being cut (by the wait staff) but rather took a video for my social media.
Red Bean Soufflé with Tangerine Peel Créme Anglaise was a delicious delicate soufflé. With red bean a well known flavour in Chinese cuisine, to include this flavour as a soufflé was imaginative.
Here is the soufflé with the top taken off. Pour on the Anglaise!
Yu Kitchen is a revelation with Chefs of the highest excellence, commitment of the owners, top quality sourced produce, and curated dishes presented with flair and great flavours and textures. For lovers of Chinese food in Melbourne this is a must visit. In fact it might challenge your mindsets about Chinese food. This is Chinese cuisine in a fine dining setting and is a top notch showcasing of what Chinese food can be. Highly recommended.