15 Nov Calia, Melbourne CBD
Emporium’s home of premium Japanese-fusion cuisine, Calia, is headed up by Michelin-Star chef, Francisco Javier Araya. The menu is a cut a above what you’d typically find in a shopping centre, as it uses sustainable produce to create a straightforward selection of premium-sounding dishes. Despite this there are plenty of affordable options too.
Calia’s retail section sells many of the products used in the dishes on the restaurant side. Sashimi-grade fish, wagyu and truffle salt find themselves amongst the homewares and Chez Dre cakes.
Their selection of lattes include matcha, hojicha, and a sweet potato latte with an underlying ginger flavour. For something to start on the food menu, the scalloped Sākuru are smooth and supple scallops dressed in a delightful wasabi ponzu sauce. Chips are always great for sharing, and there’s certainly plenty of umami in this big bowl of Umami Fries.
The pork in the Roast Pork Bowl has plenty of crispy skin. There are two different grades of beef bowl. The sukiyaki is well marinated, and lubricated with an oozy 63° egg. The premium grade is the grilled Calia Wagyu Bowl, with its 63° egg sitting pretty in the centre. Seafood bowl options include the Ochazuke Sāmon – grilled Tasmanian salmon with a piping hot broth dashi tea broth – or you can go for all the fatty goodness of The Toro Bowl – tuna belly tartare on top of tuna belly glazed with suki sauce.
The Matcha Lava Lava is rich and delicious. On the outside is a chocolate lava cake, and the inside holds warm, strongly flavoured matcha ganache. It’s divinely decadent. Matcha Mia Tiramisu has mascarpone-matcha cream, ladyfingers, raspberries, chocolate, and coffee. There’s a good amount of coffee flavour in the biscuits, but its still nicely balanced with the matcha in the surrounding mascarpone. A lighter dessert is the airy and fluffy Hokkaidō Chīzukēki, with a lovely yuzu jelly giving a nice zing to the dish.
As a restaurant-to-retail space with gourmet food and products, Calia is a unique venue that provides a taste of premium Japanese dining.
Disclaimer: I was invited to Calia as a guest, however, opinions expressed here are purely my own, and are based on my experience at the time
Shop 8, Level 3/287 Lonsdale St
Melbourne, VIC, 3000
(03) 9662 1688