Teppankai – Contemporary Japanese

panda 4 rating

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Teppankai is the idea from Malaysian born Richard Tan to create a Japanese fine-dining experience in Melbourne. Located just behind the bustling Chapel Street in South Yarra – Teppankai is both an a la carte and teppenyaki Japanese restaurant.  I was invited to a Blogger’s night to trial the new menu that was being put into place and was excited to see what the night had in store.

Richard and his childhood friend (from New Zealand) are the creators behind this venue and he explained the meaning of Teppankai – the first two characters of the Japanese logo mean open-grill and the third character “Kai” – translates to ocean in Japanese but also means food in Maori. The name needed to reflect the blending of the Japanese and New Zealand cultures and as a result means “seafood grilled on a plate. “

Teppankai was designed by the award winning retail and hospitality architect, Wayne Finschi. The entrance has an alfresco outdoor dining area complete with heaters and clear “curtains” to aid out the weather elements if it is raining or windy. It is also a great option on a sunny summery day – letting the natural sunlight in as you dine or even have drinks. As you walk into the restaurant thru the timber posts you are greeted with tones of red and black.  There is a private dining area to the right which has tables for a more intimate dinner. The main feature is located past the bar to the left of the entrance – which is the Teppanyaki grill which takes up the length of the restaurant – surrounded by chairs and tables just behind the main grill so you can watch as the chef prepares your meals in front of you.

The focus of Teppankai isn’t all the fun, tricks and throwing of food that comes with the association of Teppanyaki but there is more focus on creating beautiful dishes with great technique and skill together with the importance of being attentive to customers and providing great service.

The chef is Nooei Martens who has 25 years hospitality knowledge specialised in Japanese Cuisine, Teppanyaki and Asian Cuisine. He has used his experience in the food industry to create traditional Japanese meals but in a contemporary style.

The night starts off with a Starter dish of Horenso Ohistahi – Chilled Blanched Spinach & Shitake Mushroom in Light Soy. This comes served in a small stone dish with the brightness of the green spinach standing out against the black dish. The dish was a great starter to get the palate working thanks to the light soy sauce.

The next four dishes were classified as entrée dishes and are part of their new tapas style menu. The first entrée dish served up was Salmon Carpaccio – Salmon Sashimi with Tosazu & Micro Shisho. The salmon was of great quality and literally melted in your mouth. Each individual slice of salmon came with a wedge to add extra acidity and tang.  The tosazu sauce was another great flavour addition to complete a mouth-watering dish.

The second entrée dish was the Spicy Fish Tempura Roll – Lightly tempura battered spicy Salmon Sushi Roll with our special sauce and shredded Dried Chilli. The tempura batter was light yet crispy and had the perfect amount of coating on the fish roll as well as on the vegetables that came with the dish. The salmon in the sushi roll was an added contrast to the crispness of the tempura and was soft, tender and delicious. I loved the addition of the special sauce – it was creamy and spicy at the same – it added another dimension to the dish. All the components together worked really well and it was a great dish – you must try it out.

The third entrée was the Kai Kani Maki – Teppan seared Crab Salad wrapped in Nori Sheets & Barramundi, smothered in our Secret Aioli, flamed and topped with Tabiko and drizzled with a Sweet Soy Reduction. This has to be my favourite dish of the night – both in terms of taste as well as watching how it was made. This dish is crab meat sushi which have been wrapped in both barramundi fish and nori, covered with the secret aioli sauce and blow torched to create the most amazing dish. To finish it is topped with Tabiko (fish rose) and sweet soy sauce. The crab meat is soft, tender and flavoursome – paired with the crunchiness of the fish and seaweed and completed with the creaminess of the aioli and tang of the soy. It is a definite must try – even if it is the only thing you eat!

The last entrée was the Braised Japanese Hamburger – Braised beef ball in Japanese teriyaki glazed with Poached Egg and Lotus Root Chips with Matcha Salt. I didn’t try this dish as I couldn’t eat the meat, but I did see the dish on the tables around me and it was perfectly presented – a mini hamburger stye.

There were two main dishes that were served, the first being the Kaisen Teppanyaki – Chef’s selection of assorted seasonal Seafood cooked at the Hot Plate with Soy Ponzu Dipping Sauce and the second being the Kobe style Eye Fillet – Grain-Fed Eye Fillet seared on the Hot Plate with a splash of Sake, Assorted Mushroom and Miso Dipping Sauce.

The Kaisen Teppanyaki consisted of prawns, scallops, mussels, salmon and scampi – all of which were grilled on the hot plate and presented impeccably on an oval plate. Each piece was cooked perfectly and the addition of the dipping sauces complemented the dish. Overall it was a great dish to showcase the great taste of seafood.

To finish dessert was a Black Sesame Tiramisu –Ladyfinger with black sesame syrup and mascarpone. I am usually not a fan of black sesame and have definitely never seen it being used in a tiramisu so was very interested to see how this dish would work. The flavours actually did work really well together and it was an enjoyable dish. The ladyfingers soaked in the black sesame when combined with the creaminess of the mascarpone was tasty and removes the black sesame flavour for people who are not big fans of the taste.  It certainly did reinvent the traditional tiramisu dish.

The night at Teppankai was very enjoyable and the atmosphere was buzzing. Being able to talk to fellow bloggers as well as the owner of the restaurant was a great opportunity. With fellow bloggers you get to share your foodie experiences and swap notes on which places should be tried out and speaking to the owner of the restaurant allows you to understand their vision and plans.

The food is exquisite and really does showcase delicious Japanese dishes in a contemporary style. It really has had be wanting to visit Japan even more. For a truly authentic take on Japanese dishes, located away from the hustle and bustle of chapel street, check out Teppankai – whether it be for a great Teppanyaki experience or simply enjoying the tapas style dishes.

Rating : 4 Pandas
Price: $$
Menu – Refer to http://www.teppankai.com.au/#!food/c1jo3 – You can find the Restaurant menu, Banquet Menu, Lunch/Special Menu, Sake Menu and Drinks menu here.
Fullness: 100%
Atmosphere / Ambience: Elegant and Welcoming. The front alfresco area is great for after work drinks or even drinks on a great sunny day! Also great for celebration dinners.
Standout Dish: Kai Kani Maki – Teppan seared Crab Salad wrapped in Nori Sheets & Barramundi, smothered in our Secret Aioli, flamed and topped with Tabiko and drizzled with a Sweet Soy Reduction
Service: Friendly and always full of smiles even when they get really busy! Welcoming and warm.
Online Booking: No
Restaurant Details and Location:
http://www.teppankai.com.au/
34 Bray St, South Yarra
Tel No: 9827 8822

Opening Hours:
LUNCH
Monday to Saturday: 12:00pm – 2:30pm

DINNER
Monday to Saturday: 5:30pm – 10:00pm

Teppankai on Urbanspoon

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Stokehouse – Beachside Beauty with Divine Food!


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– John Dory Fillet, Hickory Smoked Clams, Banana Chillies, Baby Onions, Carrot Purée
– King Prawn and Bug Tortellini, Smoked Tomato, Peas, Baby Gem Lettuce, Saffron and Shellfish Veloute
– Seared Magret Duck Breast and Leg Pastillas, Poached Rhubarb and Fennel Salad, Garlic Purée, Smoked Kaiser
– Crispy Chicken with Pancetta, Mushrooms and Greens
– Hazelnut Chocolate Mousse and Nougat Crunch, Salted Caramel, Honeycomb, Malt Ice Cream
– The Bombe – Frozen White Chocolate Parfait with Strawberry Sorbet and Toasted Meringue

The Stokehouse has the perfect location setting with views overlooking St Kilda beach. There are two parts to this restaurant – the Upstairs which is the elegant more stylish part and the Downstairs Bar & Grill which is a more casual setting and serves pizzas, pastas etc – perfect place for a casual catch up with friends all year round. The Bar & Grill is currently closed for renovations and will open up in November 2012. A new Stokehouse Cafe is coming soon as well – keep checking back to their site or follow them at Twitter to find out more information (@Stokehouse). Stokehouse menus are created by executive chef Anthony Musara and head chef Oliver Gould, and represent the best of Modern Australian fine dining.

My friends and I headed to Stokehouse Upstairs for Dinner and it was the first time there for all of us. We were shown to our tables by our friendly waiter. The place is decked out in white but in a classy and elegant manner. There is a balcony which overlooks the beach, where you can have some casual drinks before retreating to your table. The view is not only relaxing but calming. We ordered the King Prawn and Bug Tortellini, Smoked Tomato, Peas, Baby Gem Lettuce, Saffron and Shellfish Veloute as an Entree to share. The home-made pasta parcels were fresh and cooked perfectly. Even though in the picture there appears to be a lot of “foam” aka Veloute, there wasn’t. The mixture of King Prawn and Bug was flavoursome and together with the other elements of the dish worked perfectly. My main was the John Dory Fillet, Hickory Smoked Clams, Banana Chillies, Baby Onions, Carrot Purée. The combination of the Fish and the Smoked Clams were fantastic and dipped in the carrot purée created a smoky sweet mixture. The presentation of all the dishes had a touch of elegance and even though there were so many elements present on the plate. The dishes weren’t too cluttered, and the use of white plates enhanced the fresh colour of all the ingredients.

Next was my favourite course – DESSERT! I had read about The Bombe – as it the most talked about dessert at the Stokehouse and has been a feature on their menu for a very long time, and it sure did not disappoint. It comes standing proudly in the centre of the plate – a cross-section of frozen white chocolate parfait, strawberry sorbet on a sponge base encircled by a thick layer of blow-torched meringue, which taste like clouds in your mouth. It is simply delicious and you find yourself savouring every mouthful. The strawberries that come to the side don’t even need to be there, the Bombe on its on is all you need. The other dessert we had was the Hazelnut Chocolate Mousse and Nougat Crunch, Salted Caramel, Honeycomb, Malt Ice Cream. This was pretty spectacular as well – the mousse was light and fluffy and together with the salted caramel and honeycomb somewhat offset the powerful chocolate taste. I have never had malt ice cream before, so this was a nice addition.

The Stokehouse to put it simply has great food, wine, service, ambience and views which makes for a memorable dining experience no matter what time of day you go. You can catch the sunset or even just enjoy the night time view of the sea.

Note: The restaurant upstairs can acommodate up to 135 guests seated for an a la carte meal or up to 300 standing for cocktails. Exclusive use of the restaurant space is suitable for wedding ceremonies or any other special occasion.

Rating : 4.5 Pandas
Price: $$$$
Menu – A la Carte – can be found online
Upstairs at http://www.stokehousemelbourne.com.au/upstairs/,
Bar&Grill – http://www.stokehousemelbourne.com.au/bar-grill/.
All new Stokehouse Cafe coming soon – http://www.stokehousecafe.com.au/
Fullness: 100%
Atmosphere / Ambience: Stylish yet casual and has lovely views. Great for a dinner with friends, a private function like a wedding (where you can hire out the entire Stokehouse Upstairs) or for date night.
Standout Dish:
Service: Fantastic, Friendly and Attentive. Stokehouse is known for their great service and they didn’t disappoint when we went there.
Online Booking: Yes via website –
Upstairs – http://www.stokehousemelbourne.com.au/upstairs/,
Bar&Grill – http://www.stokehousemelbourne.com.au/bar-grill/.
All new Stokehouse Cafe coming soon – http://www.stokehousecafe.com.au/
Restaurant Details and Location:
http://www.stokehousemelbourne.com.au/
30 Jacka Bvd, St Kilda
Tel No: 9525 5555

Opening Hours:
Lunch:
Monday to Saturday: 12pm – 2:30pm
Sunday: 12pm – 3pm

Dinner:
Monday to Sunday: 6pm-10.30pm

Stokehouse (Upstairs) on Urbanspoon

Circa, The Prince – Perfect Sunday Lunch


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Circa, the Prince located in St Kilda is owned by John and Lisa van Haandel with Head Chef at Jake Nicolson the helm together with chef Paul Wilson. The dining space was cretaed not just to satisfy and delight the palate, but the eyes too with various artworks and design by Meme’s. There are multiple dining areas – all of which consist of modern table and chairs.
The dining space we were seated at was like an indoor / outdoor space. This space is both roomy and filled with light thanks to the glass ceiling. The room is filled with wooden tables and chairs in a mix of greys, yellows and ivories tones. The result is stylish, modern yet casual – definitely what was needed for a Sunday lunch. There is also a mix of industrial and greenery which gives the sense of homeliness. The greenery consists of big potted plants as well as a wall of various flowers and herbs.

We were given a set Sunday lunch menu – where we got a soup to start off with, followed by starters to share, then a choice out of four for main as well as for dessert. Can I just start off by saying that all the dishes that we were given tasted fantastic and it was resounding sentiment that was shared from the entire group ( there were six of us), hence the 5 Panda rating.

The  soup was a Fish soup, Saffron Aioli, Gruyere. The initial sound of Fish soup didn’t sound  very appetising, however once you tasted the dish it was creamy and wholesome. Initially the dish came out with the Gruyere and Saffron Aioli in the middle, and then the waiter poured the soup on top of these in front of you. There’s something about soup being poured in front of you that enhances the food eating experience. The starters were exceptional, especially the Salmon Rillettes. Grilled Baguette. The Salmon was fresh,  rich and creamy and had just the right amount of flavour.

The mains were all plated beautifully and were vibrant in colour and flavour. The fish, beef and lamb shoulder were all cooked to the right amount of tenderness. The John Dory, Creamed Leeks, Crosnes, Truffle Vinaigrette was my dish of choice. This was my first time eating Crosnes – which is a tuber vegetable  and can also be known as a Chinese Artichoke. The Crosne was crunchy and tasted a bit like potato and worked well with the creamy leek and fish. The Truffle Vinaigrette  was a wonderful addition of texture and flavour.

Desserts at Circa, The Prince were just as beautifully plated, however the combination of Rice Pudding, Rhubarb, Custard Apple Ice Cream was a little peculiar. The Custard Apple Ice cream, as well as the other ice cream’s that came out on other desserts like the Coconut Ice Cream and Strawberry Sorbet were creamy and light and tasted great! The deconstructed Vanilla Bean Cheescake, Strawberry Sorbet and Jelly was great. The base of the cheesecake was soft and crumby andd the jelly and sorbet were a great addition to the dish.

I said at the start of my post and I will say it again – all the dishes at Circa, The Prince, not only looked amazing on the plate but tasted fantastic! I enjoyed every minute here and would definitely recommend Circa, The Prince for any occasion.

Rating : 5 Pandas
Price: $$$
Menu – There is a Breakfast Menu, A la Carte menu, Lunch Menu, Bar Menu and a Chefs Menu as well – all can be found at http://www.circa.com.au/food
Fullness: 100%
Atmosphere / Ambience: Casual and Stylish, Modern and Light filled.
Standout Dish: Roasted Marron, Tarragon Butter
Service: Fantastic and Friendly
Online Booking: Yes via website – http://www.vuedemonde.com.au/reservation
Restaurant Details and Location:
http://www.circa.com.au/home
2 Acland St, St Kilda
Tel No: 9536 1122

Opening Hours:
Breakfast
Monday to SundayL 7am – 11am
Lunch
Friday: from 12pm
Sunday: from 12:30pm
Dinner
Monday to Sunday: from 6pm

Other Comments:
Circa will be extending its opening hours for the month of December, as of the 5th of December we will be open for lunch everyday excluding Saturday. Our Opening hours will be:

Monday-Friday lunch: 12-3pm
Sunday lunch: 12:30-3pm
Monday-Sunday Dinner: 6pm
Open on New Years Eve

Circa, the Prince on Urbanspoon