Hey everyone! It feels like it’s been loooong time since we’ve published a post. We’ve been super busy travelling, working on other projects and then studying for my final exam ever! Now that’s done, we’re back into the swing of things such as our love for food.
Calia has been a place that we have wanted AND have attempted to get in to try for a while now. Located at Emporium Melbourne in the CBD, the Japanese menu has been designed by Michelin star chef Francisco Javier Araya. The reviews for this place has been high and the photos of the dishes looked amazing so we were dying to check it out. Attached to the dining area is also a retail concept space which stocks and showcases high quality, luxury food and food related products.
However they are only open until 7.30 pm from Saturday to Wednesday and 9.30 pm from Thursday to Friday, and they don’t take bookings. Therefore you really just have to show up and try your luck at putting your name on the wait list. They take your number down and text you when it’s ready. However there are no guarantees you’ll get in because like us when we first tried, if it reaches almost closing time then you’ve missed out for the night. Their dining area is not huge either so the only tip we have is to get there as early as possible.
On this joyous night we decided to get there at 5.30 pm, and lo and behold, we were seated within about 20 minutes! We were so excited! While we were waiting we just browsed around in their retail store which had items ranging from wine, cured meats and truffle slices to tea pots, whiskey glasses and honey dippers.
Once we were seated we perused the menu and realised we pretty much wanted to try almost everything because it all sounded amazing! After some time though we narrowed it down. From the grazing menu we ordered the Alaskan king crab claw baked in miso mayonnaise, Unami fries, raw scallops dressed in wasabi ponzu sauce, baked scallops (cause we just had to try both versions!), and ox tongue with yakitori sauce.
The Alaskan king crab claw was a bit disappointing as it was dry and had no crab flavour at all. I think they relied heavily on the very strong miso mayonnaise. It was probably our least favourite dish of the night. The Unami fries were absolutely amazing! They were crunchy and flavoured with seaweed and the perfect spices. We couldn’t stop eating them! The raw scallops were SO fresh and their light dressing ensured the scallops itself were the hero of the dish. This was one of my favourite dishes of the night and I took my time savouring it. The baked scallops were also delicious and the creamy mayo sauce they baked it in was perfectly balanced in flavours.
What surprised us the most however was the ox tongue. When it came out we were wondering if it was really ox tongue or whether it was actually beef as they were presented on skewers as thick square shaped pieces. I guess we were envisioning thin slices of meat being ox tongue. But oh my gosh they were ox tongue and they were so soft! The meat literally melted in our mouths. They were SO good! The best ox tongue we’ve ever had! We also enjoyed it with this special green matcha beer they recommended which went down really well.
For the mains we ordered the marbled Sukiyaki bowl which had premium Marble 9+ wagyu slices with a 63 degrees egg and rice. This dish was SO tasty! The wagyu was so soft and flavoured perfectly, a spoonful of the wagyu, the rice and the egg was heaven. We also ordered the Ochazuke Samon which had grilled sustainably caught Tasmanian salmon with a dashi tea broth. The tea broth was lovely however the salmon was a bit dry. We recently had a similar dish with the tea broth in the U.S which was better.
With dessert we ordered the chocolate lava cake which oozed of warm matcha ganache. This dessert was to die for and we loved that strong bitterness of the dark chocolate. Really yummy dessert. We were also given a complimentary dessert which was their newly created crepes filled with the loveliest yuzu flavoured cream. It was really good and I would definitely order that again.
The service was good and there were a lot of staff to attend to their diners. Food came out super quick. We did struggle a bit in communicating with one of the staff because his English wasn’t that good, but other than that they were really friendly and accommodating. The prices for high quality food such as this are also VERY reasonable.
Overall it was a great experience and we’re really glad we got the opportunity to try their food.
Approx $40 AUD per person
Address: Shop 8, Level 3/287 Lonsdale St, Melbourne VIC 3000
Phone: +61 3 9662 1688