Fo0die dined as a guest of Sun Kitchen and as such, the rating does not give any consideration to customer service.
We attended the soft opening of Sun Kitchen, a fine dining Cantonese and Sichuan restaurant which has taken residence at what use to be The Point at Albert Park. It has now officially opened to the public.
The venue is part of a larger group of restaurants which originated from Hong Kong with Sun Kitchen brought from Macau. When we questioned why Melbourne, the answer was simple, Melbourne is known as the foodie capital of Australia (we can’t deny that!).
Offering performances such as the Sichuan face change opera and sugar dessert creation during the evening, we were excited to see whether the venue could bring quality food, entertainment and spectacular views together all under the one roof.
The venue spans over two floors and while we were in the function room which has a separate entrance to the right side of the main entrance, we were fortunate enough to be able to take a tour of the actual venue.
The downstairs dining area is filled with round tables which is normal for a Chinese restaurant given Chinese dishes are made for sharing and it’s easier to share on a round table than a rectangular table. On the side is an open kitchen where guests can watch the kitchen make dumplings and noodles.
Upstairs also offers additional tables with spectacular views of the water. There’s two private rooms upstairs and a function room which can seat 14 tables and has a stage for a live band.
On this level is their wine cellar which stores their vintage wines and wine fridges which take up a wall in the dining area. Housing approximately 6000 bottles of wine (which is a mix of wine collection and actual wine that the venue serves), the venue estimates the total value to be $1.5m!
Seated back in the function room, we were treated to a small welcome drink which was a heavily Asian influenced cocktail of jasmine tea, ginger liqueur and gin. This also acted as a palette cleanser to the media tasting menu to come.
We started with three entrees. Tofu bites that melts in your mouth after you bite through the crispy exterior. Braised beef that was so tender.
But the dish that stood out was their mung bean noodle which was in a tangy slightly spicy sauce. Noodles are made fresh daily and they were so smooth and almost a soft gelatin like texture.
We were given a choice between two different kinds of soup. Naturally we chose one each. The chicken soup was done the traditional Chinese way (way that my grandma would do it) with a good 6-8 hours of boiling while the fish soup was thick with a nice flavour from the fried fish.
Next up was the prawn dish which is a dish we often have when we dine with our families at other Chinese restaurants. And usually the restaurants offer either wasabi mayo or salty egg versions but Sun Kitchen offers something a little different, a coconut ginger sauce. The coconut gave the dish creaminess while the ginger gave it that hint of freshness to the perfectly cooked prawns.
The next dish was very intimidating looking with three types of chillies and not a piece of fish in sight. The team explained as they spooned out two full bowls of chillies out of the dish, that the fish is sliced thinly with the mix of Sichuan pepper, small dried chilli and fresh chilli placed on top followed by hot oil poured over the top to infuse the fish with the chilli. While the chilli was numbing, if you didn’t bite into a peppercorn or a chilli, it was at a tolerable level of heat for me and a little too hot for Mr J. Fish was cooked perfectly with the perfect texture (and this is coming from someone who doesn’t usually like cooked fish).
Meat dishes was a mix of wagyu, pork belly and chicken. Wagyu was beautifully caramelised on the outside and tender, nothing like the typical beef at other Chinese restaurants where the texture of the meat is tender because of the baking soda. And we like that when the menu reads black truffle and garlic, that is exactly what you can taste.
The pork belly was delicate and named after chairman Mao because it was apparently his favourite dish (bit of a fun fact for us!).
Golden crispy chicken was appropriately named with preparation before it is fried to ensure the skin is crispy (and it was very delicately thin too). However they prepared this and cooked it, even the breast meat was tender and this comment comes from Mr J who normally prefers the thigh cut as its less dry.
As a little bonus, the team served us their vegetarian eel dish which is made out of mushroom and deep fried in a sweet sticky vinegary sauce. The result is almost a puff like texture, crispy and so so tasty.
No Chinese meal is complete without a serving of rice, whether it be plain white rice or fried rice. Sun Kitchen’s version of the fried rice contained actual diced pieces of prawns and xo sauce which we ate with the meat dishes and the very fresh mixed vegetables.
Reaching the end of our tasting menu, we were served two desserts. An almond and egg white sweet soup and the vibrant osmanthus jelly.
At the end of the night, there was no doubt about the quality of food that the venue was serving. Each dish was prepared perfectly and it came to light during the evening that the team tested the fried rice dish every meal for more than a week to ensure consistency every single time.
With this kind of dedication, we are looking forward to Sun Kitchen being recognised as offering quality fine dining Chinese cuisine in Melbourne.
Dishes that make up this review
- Media tasting menu
- Golden crispy tofu
- Braised beef tendon with chilli sauce
- Hot and sour mung bean noodle
- Shunde sliced fish thicken soup
- Double-boiled chicken with Chinese yam soup
- Golden prawn with coconut ginger sauce
- Sizzling fish fillet in hot chilli oil
- Wagyu beef with black truffle and garlic (MS9+)
- Mao’s dongting-style braised pork belly
- Golden crispy chicken
- Vegetarian eel
- XO seafood fried rice
- Stir-fried country style mixed vegetable
- Almond tea and egg white
- Osmanthus jelly