12's Cafe & Co (Invited)

Monday, November 30, 2015 Sharon Halim 0 Comments

12's Cafe & Co opened 2 months a go (September 2015) and officially become the unique addition in Camberwell area. Why do I say unique? Because this kind of Asian vs Modern Australian cuisine is rarely located in this area, at least for now. 12's Cafe is a "Fusion without the confusion" said Jack. Jack Kwan, the owner of 12's cafe named the cafe 12 because it has a family meaning to it, his birthday as well as his wife falls on the 12th and it's a symbol of completion such as there are 12 months in one year. Jack is a very passionate man, he used to invite his friend to his home and cooked for them than finally take a big leap to open his own cafe and beer garden. He spent sometime in Hong Kong studying the BBQ meat techniques than brought it back and twist it to fit Australian taste.

I was invited by Jack to his cafe, together with several other Melbourne bloggers. The place is located 5 minutes away from Camberwell station and there are a lot parking area available. I miss the restaurant a couple times because the sign was only visible from across the road but do not worry they are making an edgy tricycle with their logo and will be located in front of the restaurant. That day, I'm the first one arrived and Jack give me the tour around the cafe. The cafe it self is decorated with light wood colour with a little bit of plants here and there. 

Honestly, I was surprised by their Beer garden. It was beautifully decorated with wood benches, pillows, barrel, grass, hanging lights, partial shades and ping pong table that could be transformed to dining table. Jack's idea was to make his own man cave and he clearly done a good job with it.

The first course is mix sharing plates of their starters. Disclaimer, this is the mini version of the menu. Jack want's us to try their food as much as we can so he thoughtfully made small version of everything. Another noticed, all prices written in this post is for the normal size menu. These nibbles are the perfect partner for a relaxing day at the beer garden. Char Siu So - BBQ pork with sauce rolled in puff pastry ($5.3) is the one on the right. It was a bbq pork filled in a flaky puff pastry, dish like this usually served at "Yum Cha". It was pretty average according to my taste.

Potato Pocket - crispy potato croquette filled with crab meat, corn and creamy sauce ($4.5). The dipping sauce is mayo mixed with BBQ sauce. The croquette it self is crispy on the outside and soft creamy on the inside, the crab and taste was very subtle dominated by the potato flavours.

Crackling Crackle - roast pork crackling chips ($4.5). This pork crackle reminded me of pork cracker back home in Indonesia. It's a crunchy pieces of pork without the grease because it was roast instead of deep fried.

Chicken Ribs - panko crumbed crunchy chicken spare ribs ($4.5). The chicken ribs was crunchy on the outside and well cooked in side but I feel the spices could be amped up a bit.

PC 007 - potato chips with 7 herbs and spices ($4.5). Since the Spectre is playing on the cinema just across the road, Jack named the chips after the famous James Bond movie. The chips was well fried but the 7 herbs and spices are very subtle.

Gold Sticker - Pan fried dumplings with crispy flake ($5.3). The dumpling was presented well and cooked well, it was tasty with chilli dipping sauce.

Pecking Duck Twister roll - 12's pekin duck with salad greens, pickles, cucumber served in a twister roll with plum sauce ($8). This is the best dish of the night. The duck is tender and the skin is crispy with generous sauce.

Crispy Hainanese Chicken - steamed chicken with crispy skin served on cold soba and salads with 12's soy and sesame dressings ($13). The skin is super crispy yet the chicken was still juicy. Cold soba was perfect for summer and sesame dressings is one of my favourite dressings ever.

Tempura Soft Shell Crab - tempura soft shell crab served with cold soba and salads with 12's soy and sesame dressing ($14.50). The soft shell crab was super crunchy accompanied by the same salad as the chicken.

Slow cooked pork belly - in master stock served on rice cake with Thai green apple salad ($24). The pork belly fat was rendered out and what's left is a melt in your mouth pork belly. This is possible because it was cooked in a 80% steam oven. It was also infused with the master stock without the grease. The crispy rice cake was enjoyable and unique accompanied by refreshing green apple salad.

Grilled butterfly chicken fillet - braised with house blended sweet soy sauce, served with shitake mushroom rice and wafu salad ($24). The chicken was well marinated, sweet and juicy but too oily for my taste.

We ended the dinner with Green Tea Latte ($3.8), it has fluffy milk, bitterness from the green tea and a bit grainy. They also served beer, wines, teas and other beverages to enjoy at the beer garden. Overall, it has a lot of potential, beautiful beer garden and could possibly be so much more later on in the future in the hand of Jack Kwan because of his hard work and passion for his business. Check out their website, they have a unique and modern design.

12's Cafe & Co Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
Monday-Thursday: 11am-3pm & 5pm-9pm
Friday-Saturday: 11am-3pm & 5pm-11pm
Sunday: Closed

12's Cafe & Co
207 Camberwell Rd
Hawthorn East, VIC 3123