Secret Kitchen

Secret Kitchen has been doing well in the Melbourne market, having opened several restaurants, ranging from those that offer a quick bite, to others that serve up a wide array of Chinese dishes in a modern and sleek setting.

Today, I will be recounting my visit to the latter of the two varieties, where I had yum cha on a weekend, something that I definitely don’t do enough. For those who are unfamiliar with the concept, yum cha is popular in the Guangzhou province and Hong Kong in particular, the idea is that waiters and waitresses will be pushing carts filled with plates of goodies around the restaurant, and when they reach you, you make pick at your heart’s desire. It can be quite overwhelming at times, given the large variety of dishes, but it is something worth trying.

Braised Chicken Feet

Braised chicken feet is a must-order for me at yum cha. The chicken feet were deep fried then braised in a sweet soy garlic marinade, and are quite morish to nibble at.

Siu Mai

Another classic, the skin of the siu mai was a little too soft, but that was made up with the plump prawn and pork filling.

Har Gow

How can you have siu mai without har gow? These translucent goodies always have me mesmerized. The filling is a lot less finely chopped in comparison to that of the siu mai, which meant you could really taste the plumpness of the prawns.

Wasabi Prawns

Onto something more innovative, the prawns in this case were wrapped in a thin, airy and crispy pastry. The wasabi mayo drizzled on top had a good wasabi kick to it, something that a lot of restaurants are lacking.

Steamed Beef Tripes

Back to the more traditional side of things, the tripes had a quite light and delicate flavour.

Sticky Rice with Chicken

One of my friend has never tried sticky rice with chicken, so we decided to order it for her sake.

Sticky Rice with Chicken

Inside the glutinous rice, there was a filling of chicken and mushrooms that had been braised in soy beforehand. If you were looking for something more carb heavy, this would be a good pick.

Vermicelli Rolls with Prawns

The vermicelli rolls were silky smooth, and contrasted well with the freshness of the prawns.

Red Bean Cake

We originally wanted to order some egg tarts for dessert, however they had already sold out unfortunately, which meant we settled for the red bean cake. Nonetheless, these were quite light in texture and not overly sweet.

Salted Egg Yolk Lava Buns

These buns were quite hard to hunt down, only because the friend that wanted to order them thought they were custard buns rather than salted egg yolk ones, but we did manage to get our hands on them, thankfully.

Salted Egg Yolk Lava Buns

The crispy top were reminiscent of both the roast pork buns at Tim Ho Wan, and pineapple buns sold in Chinese bakeries. The bun itself was quite sweet, and the salted egg yolk centre was rich and creamy.

Secret Kitchen offers a somewhat less traditional but more enjoyable experience than most yum cha restaurants, and that comes from the atmosphere and service mostly. The food may not be particularly authentic, but they were all enjoyable, and it would be a good place to take those who have never had yum cha before. Remember to make a booking though, especially on the weekend, as the restaurant has become quite popular.

How to get here:
Secret Kitchen is located on level 3 of Doncaster Westfield Shoppingtown, which is accessible via many buses.

Secret Kitchen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Hakata Gensuke

Back when Hakata Gensuke first opened its third store in Doncaster Shoppingtown over a month ago, everyone went crazy and the line was massive, considering that its food court location. I checked it out and because everything was half price on its opening weekend, of course we went ahead and ordered pretty much everything on the menu.

Chicken Karrage – $5.00

The karrage were quite crunchy, but it was a bit too round for my liking. Because of its shape, there just wasn’t enough surface area for every bite to be crispy.

My mum loved the complimentary pickle they had on offer though, they were spicy and had a great texture, and she said they made the chicken better haha.

Gyoza (5 pcs) – $5.00

We shared the gyozas, and they were quite morish. The skin was crispy at the bottom and slightly chewy on top, and it was extremely thin. The filling of pork and spring onions was very flavoursome, which meant we had to fight for the last one.

Signature Tonkatsu (Deluxe) – $19.00

The signature tonkatsu was sticky and full of umami, albeit on the lukewarm side, and the ramen itself was cooked perfectly bouncy. The egg had a lovely liquid-y yolk, the only thing is I wish the cha-shu were fattier! This comforting giant bowl of ramen is just the thing I need on a Saturday night, and then I’ll happily be in a food coma for hours LOL.

God Fire (Deluxe) – $20.00

We also got the God Fire to spice things up, and although we only got level 2  (there’s a total of 4 levels), it was pretty darn hot! The spiciness did kind of overpower the flavour of the soup towards the end, but overall it was still quite enjoyable.

I think Hakata Gensuke serves up one of the better ramens in Melbourne, but when it comes to the spicy one, I still prefer the one at Fukyuru Ramen. The steep price might also deter some people away, especially considering its food court location. However, I’m still keen to try out Hakata Gensuke at their proper restaurant venues, since you get to choose a bunch things and toppings, and who doesn’t love a little bit of DIY.

How to get there:
Hakata Gensuke is located at The Drum food court in Doncaster Shoppingtown.

Hakata Gensuke Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato