Thursday, March 23, 2017 Sharon Halim 0 Comments

Calia is a brand new Japanese casual dining as well as small Japanese retails located in Emporium, Melbourne CBD. The menu is designed by Michelin star chef Francisco Javier Araya (Ex El Bulli in Spain, own 81 Restaurant in Tokyo).  Francisco is a Chilean chef who decided to come to Melbourne to cook Japanese food, what an interesting background indeed I thought to my self. He designed the menu to focus on the quality of products but with an affordable price so the food will be accessible to everyone. The name Calia is taken from an old lady he met in San Sebastian, Spain. She used to run a kitchen in her house.

I was attracted to Calia straight away. Japanese food with a modern simple clean concept always been one of my weekness. Calia is the first of it's kind in Melbourne. Customers able to buy products from the retail shop such as bird ness, truffle oil, sake, Tajima beef (this I'm very excited about since I never seen them outside Japan), recipes, cook books, tea set and more. In the future Calia will host pop up dinners with other Michelin star chefs from over the world. We had to start with their matcha latte with green tea ice cream, sadly it falls flat. Nothing really special about it.

The King - Alaskan king crab claw baked in miso mayonnaise ($18.2). This is one of the reasons, I want to visit Calia urgently. After my trip to Japan, I kinda become obsessed with big crabs and here it is. The portions was sufficient and the crab was cooked perfectly with a creamy miso mayo on top. Love it.

My brother rare appearances, decided to come with me to Calia since he also loves Japanese food and he wanted to celebrate his new job. He ordered O'Bara Bara - marinated chirashi of diced tuna, salmon, kingfish, tamago and ikura ($19.8). The dish was so beautifully presented and nicely presented, all the ingredients were fresh and complimented each other. Two thumbs up for Calia.

He also ordered Truffled Fries - truffled flavoured fried tossed in egg yolk ($8.9). We were disappointed with the fires because it was so soggy, not crunchy at all. Flavour wise it was ok but I prefer crunchy fries with stronger truffle flavour.

I, my self ordered Aburi Salmon - flamed seared salmon topped with ikura and secret Calia sauce ($17.6) which come out delicious. Thinly cut flamed seared salmon with a lil bit of spiciness on top and fresh ikura. Just simply beautiful.

My husband was debating between the wagyu and The Marbled Sukiyaki Bowl - premium Marble 9+ wagyu slices with a 63 degree egg ($16.5). The staff recommended the sukiyaki bowl since it has higher grade. The beef just melted in your mouth as well as the egg and the sweet sauce ties in all the ingredients together.

My mom is not a big fan of raw seafood so she went vegetarian instead; Kinoki Bowl - varietal mix of mushrooms for our vegan friendly clientele comprising of tofu, shiitake, fried enoki, shiso, drizzled with black truffle oil and a hit of ume ($14.7). It's one of the best vegetarian dish I ever tasted, light yeat full of flavour and texture. And all the rice presented at Calia was beautifully cooked, moist but not too soggy.

This is the dessert I wanted to try since I saw it on one of my friends Instagram story; Matcha Lava Lava - a rich enticing chocolate lava cake oozing warm matcha ganache ($14.8). It certainly does not disappoint in flavour, the dark chocolate cake was nicely baked and moist, the matcha ganache was thick with perfect sweetness. The only thing is we want more oozing warm matcha ganache over flowing from inside. 

Another thing my husband obsessed from Japan is their cheese so we had to order the Hokkaido Chizukeki - our take on Hokkaido cheesecake with Yuzu jelly ($9.8). Sadly, we weren't inform that they run out of it and we have to wait around 20 minutes for the new batch but it turn's out to be longer than 20 minutes. The staff apologise to our table several times and finally the wave the payment for the cheesecake. After that long anticipated wait, the cheesecake comes out pretty dense, lack of cheese flavour and have a texture closer to chiffon cake.

The whole experience was amazing, I love it so much and would love to come back anytime. Even though there was a hiccup in service and the disappointment of the cheesecake, all the other dishes was delicious. I also brought truffle oil from the retail shop. I went home with a happy feeling and can't wait to come back to try their Salmon Ochazuke.

Calia Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
287 Lonsdale St
Melbourne, VIC 3000
Monday-Wednesday & Saturday-Sunday: 10am-7.30pm
Thursday-Friday: 10am-9.30pm