A Melbourne based writer who is a travel junkie, dedicated foodie and emerging photographer.
Published September 29th 2014
Nothing fishy about this restaurant
Looking at the website for Red Salmon before a recent visit, what struck me most strongly is what an extensive menu the restaurant has! The other interesting fact is that it is open from 11.00am to 10.30pm seven days. Long opening hours, breakfast, lunch AND dinner services (without an afternoon close) AND a wide range of dishes on offer; that suggests to me that to be successful, Red Salmon needs to be well staffed and EXTREMELY well managed.
Owner Bill Bilwani can therefore be rightly proud of the fact that Red Salmon has been operating for 12 years. Bill seems to have a good understanding of how to run a successful restaurant, as the popular Fiesta Mexican Restaurant in South Yarra is also in his stable.
Red Salmon is located in the Knox Ozone strip in Knox City, Wantirna South, close to the Village Cinemas. Located in a restaurant strip, there is plenty of competition to keep Bill and the team on their toes. Having said that, many of Red Salmon's near neighbours are distinctly on the 'fast food' side of things, where Red Salmon is unquestionably a 'real' restaurant, offering a range of quality dishes, in a true restaurant setting.
Walking into Red Salmon, my first impressions are that it's a large space with high ceilings. To the right is a bar, and the main dining area runs along the left side of the room. The decor gives it a bright, welcoming feel. It gives the impression that a lot of thought has been put into the interior design. I feel immediately comfortable.
A bright, friendly interior
It's a Thursday night when we visit, and the restaurant looks like it's pretty much full; a good test for the kitchen and floor staff.
Well appointed bar
And so to that amazing menu. For entree, you could choose from Mexican (chicken enchilada - $9.90), Turkish (kofte - $12.90) or Italian (rustic salmon fish cakes - $13.90) cuisines, to name just a few. We opt for duck rolls - roasted diced duck rolls shallow fried with carrots and spring onion served with hoisin sauce ($13.90) and bruschetta a la Red Salmon - diced roma tomato/onion/basil in balsamic-olive oil dressing, smoked salmon & fetta cheese, served on grilled tuscan bread ($14.90).
We select a bottle of Pepperjack shiraz ($39) from the wine list, which has a reasonable selection of red, white, and sparkling wines (by the glass and bottle), beers, and spirits. There is a separate cocktail list.
The duck rolls arrived quickly and looked beautiful on the plate. The wrapping was crispy, while the contents remained moist, and tasted delicious. The hoisin sauce was the perfect complement to the dish.
Our duck rolls were finished, and our delightful waitress 'Hudge' ('like fudge with an 'H', she explained) was about to clear our plates, when we pointed out that we were yet to receive the salmon bruschetta. This prompted a quick trip to the kitchen by Hudge, and our missing dish appeared shortly thereafter.
Again, it's a lovely looking dish, with a very generous amount of smoked salmon atop the tomato, onion and basil mix. We savour every bite.
Salmon bruschetta - a generous serve
There is more deliberation in selecting our main courses. 22 main courses on the menu, but that's before you get to the pasta section (another eight dishes), the risotto (five more dishes), and then there are the stir fries and salads! There is surely something for every palate.
Dave opts for the reef and beef - 300 gram porterhouse steak topped with seafood medley house special (served with chips & salad) ($31), while I select the barramundi - grilled barramundi fillet served on a bed of vegetable noodle stir fry ($24.90).
My barramundi is perfectly cooked. It is tender, and flakes away beautifully with the fork. There is a pile of noodles under the fish, dotted with small pieces of vegetable. The sauce through the noodles has quite a strong flavour that I can't quite identify, but it manages not to overwhelm the subtle flavour of the fish.
Perfectly cooked barramundi (the fish is somewhat hiding the big pile of noodles underneath!)
As is often the case, I get half way through the meal and feel full. Hudge is quick to notice this and offers to pack the rest to take away. I'm happy to accept the offer.
Dave greatly enjoys his reef and beef and devours the lot!
Reef and Beef
There is simply no way I can contemplate dessert, I am too full. Looking at the dessert menu, there are fewer dessert than savoury choices, but the list includes some old favourites, such as: tiramisu ($12.90), sticky date pudding ($12.90) and chocolate mousse ($12.90).
I should say too that there is a children's menu, again with safe choices such as fish and chips ($8) and beef and cheese burger ($8).
Overall we greatly enjoyed our meal, and the whole experience at Red Salmon. There are certainly cheaper options nearby, but if you're looking for a 'real' restaurant experience, with an extensive range of meal options, and friendly service, then Red Salmon is well worth a try.
Bookings are encouraged, and can be made online, by calling (03) 9801 8962, or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Red Salmon also has function facilities available for various events, and can offer banquet menu options.
Today we ordered the eggs benedict with salmon but it came with ham and the salmon was served on the side with some rocket and a little tomato salsa. We always go to red salmon for eggs benedict and have never been disappointed before. Good effort with presentation. Please give the option of ham or salmon as opposed to both. Maybe even substitute it for a vegetarian option of tomato salsa or avocado smash?