Arriving on a Friday evening at 6pm, we lined up behind two other couples where we were all told that we could put down our names on the waiting list and that it would be just over an hour wait. We honestly were not thrilled to have to wait over an hour for dinner but they did have a SMS service which meant we didn’t have to wait around at the venue. And given it was located inside emporium, it meant we could do some window shopping to past time.
Luckily for us, we got the message that a table was ready after 30 minutes and by 7 pm we could visibly see seats freeing up waiting for those who were on the waiting list to arrive.
On entry, the dining area and counter is to the left while the retail store is straight in front. A range of goodies are available, from seasoning to alcohol to noodles.
Turning left into the dining area, much like the retail area, it was also a modern contemporary design paired with dark wooden floor and a mix of white marble tables and wooden table tops (both in the light and dark wood variety). A range of large communal tables to smaller tables occupied the entire area.
Between the two of us we shared an entree, had a main each and shared a dessert. While we were satisfied, we were not stuffed/rolling out the venue.
The wagyu croquette was a special when we dined and wasn’t what we had imagined when we saw the word ‘croquette’ (we had imagined something more like a creamy potato). It was instead a very meaty croquette that was nicely crumbed and went nicely with the curry sauce.
Mr J had the wagyu bowl which no doubt is a very popular dish there but unfortunately for us it was overcooked and dry the night we dined; not something we wanted to experience given the price of the bowl. I had the chirashi which came out beautifully presented. While the sashimi didn’t have much of a flavour (our personal preference is sashimi with a bit of the natural rich flavour), the texture was nice. The menu listed the sashimi as ‘sustainably caught’ which is an interesting read for those who care about how their food ended up on the plate.
The highlight of the night was the matcha lava cake we shared. This was one of the dishes that put Calia on my list and it was not a disappointment. The chocolate cake was slightly crisp on the outside and the rich vibrant green matcha ganache had a nice strong matcha flavour which went nicely with the cake and ice cream (which didn’t have a strong matcha flavour to it).
Customer service while not overly attentive, it was not overly inattentive either. We just spent a little time trying to wave someone down to order our dessert.
Calia is on the pricier side so we did have to justify a birthday celebration to finally tick this venue off our list. While not all the dishes were perfect on the night we dined, we have friends who love their bowls so we may have to come back for a re-visit at some point.
Dishes that make up this review
- Wagyu croquette; deep-fried beef croquette served with Japanese curry sauce ($12 for two)
- Calia wagyu bowl; chef’s selection of single origin premium grilled wagyu with a 63° egg ($33.80)
- Chirashi; selection of fresh, sustainably caught sashimi ($29.90)
- Matcha lava lava; chocolate lava cake oozing warm matcha ganache ($14.90)