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Yu Kitchen & Truffle Melbourne Fresh Truffle Discovery & Wine Dinner

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by Nadine Cresswell-Myatt (subscribe)
Freelance writer exploring Melbourne and beyond. If you enjoy the following article click on the Like button, Facebook it to your friends or subscribe. I'll update you with yummy and often free events. Like my photos? I instagram @redbagwilltravel
Published June 16th 2019
Truffle season is here so don't miss out this year
Yu Kitchen Chadstone
Source Yu Kitchen Facebook

Yu Kitchen is the type of restaurant that serves culinary creations you'll remember long after you have forgotten the occasion that brought you there in the first place.

Let me take you inside this glittering and gastronomical experience. Yu Kitchen is immediately above Calia, an affordable Michelin star Modern Japanese restaurant and the split-level building hosting the two restaurants flanks the entry to Chadstone Shopping Centre's luxury precinct. It is the entry where you can step in and ogle creations by Valentino, Louis Vuitton, Prada, Tiffany & Co, and Chanel if you so choose.

Yu Kitchen Chadstone
I got there early before the hordes arrived so I could take this shot.

Yu Kitchen is very much in keeping with this grand entrance. And while I understand that the restaurant with its trip-the-light-fantastic ceiling of endless lights and its dramatic staircase reaches the highest echelons of modern design, the wide balcony supported by grand pillars also reminded me of an opulent southern belle's mansion.

Yu Kitchen Chadstone
Outside Yu Kitchen - Photo Yu Kitchen Facebook

I noticed we were dining a few tables away from food writer and doyen of the Australian food scene Rita Erlich, so figured we were pretty close to unearthing a rich seam of black gold.

'Black gold' is the expression used to describe truffles. Another is 'gastronomical diamonds' and they have even been termed 'the culinary counterpart of sex.' No wonder they are the most sought after and expensive gourmet delicacies on the planet trading at around $2500 per kilogram.

And we were there for a six-course degustation truffles dinner matched with Margaret River's superb Cape Mentelle wines.

Seated across from me was truffle grower and founder of Truffle Melbourne Nigel Wood, who believes in the democratisation of the earthy truffle. 'It's now an affordable luxury,' he said. 'As little as $80 worth is enough to serve six people over three courses and even after generous servings, they'll still be leftovers to shave over your scrambled eggs the next morning.'

Yu Kitchen Chadstone

He also drew me into the winter wonderment of truffle hunting, describing how subterranean truffles exude an aroma that screams 'come find me and eat me'! 'We reward our dogs when they sniff them out, but they wear booties so they can't damage the truffles,' he explained.

Executive Chef Bernard Kong who boasts more than 16 years experience and two Chefs Hat from the prestigious Gault & Millau Restaurant Guide, created our six courses.

Talented chefs covet truffles because they allow simple ingredients to transcend the everyday. The nudge of woody, earthy flavour and that rich tantalising smell transports you to the earthiness of dew on the ground in an ancient forest and of truffles calling your name.

Truffles work well in a variety of dishes but the flavour and aroma are particularly well carried by even small amounts of fat. Pork, chicken, eggs and even butter and cream all partner well with truffles.

Below are details of the courses we had alongside a few tasting observations and perhaps some of these creations will inspire you to create your own six-course truffle dinner party. I believe they will certainly inspire you to visit Yu Kitchen.

Course 1 - Baby Green Lip Abalone Salad with Fresh Shaved Truffle

Yu Kitchen Chadstone
Baby Green Lip Abalone Salad with Fresh Shaved Truffle

What the photo can't show you is the pungent, musky tantalising waft that suddenly hit us as the waiter carrying this dish neared our table. Or the crispness and freshness of the ingredients. The dish was served on a bright green bed of seaweed, the chunks of dark green cucumber were refreshing and crunchy and every now and again our spoons would pull out a small translucent jewel of caviar.

Yu Kitchen Chadstone
Baby Green Lip Abalone Salad with Fresh Shaved Truffle - note the generous serve of truffles

Course 2 - Truffled Mayura Wagyu Beef Xiao Long Bao

Yu Kitchen Chadstone
Truffled Mayura Wagyu Beef Xiao Long Bao

Xiao Long Bao is one of the most famous Chinese steamed dumplings, but one of the most time-consuming to make as inside are pockets of steaming soup and the aim is to have no seepage. Proper xiao long bao is crowned with a ring-shaped dough skin on top and as you can see these ones have been perfectly crafted. We did need a few tips from others on the table as to how to eat these but once you finally master the art, the rich, warm and truffle enhanced broth washed over our palates.

Course 3 - Hokkaido Scallop wrapped in Yunnan Ham, Truffle & Pumpkin Veloute

Yu Kitchen Chadstone
Hokkaido Scallop wrapped in Yunnan Ham, Truffle & Pumpkin Veloute

Hokkaido scallops are highly prized and sought-after Japanese delicacies and these were wrapped in Yunnan Province's famous dry-cured ham. The hint of truffle transported this dish to even higher levels. In the photo, you can see the colourful pumpkin velouté (French word for velvety) sauce being poured over this most special dish.

Course 4 - Crispy Berkshire Pork Belly, Truffled Pear foam, Spiced Carrot Puree

Yu Kitchen Chadstone
Crispy Berkshire Pork Belly, Truffled Pear foam, Spiced Carrot Puree

A favourite with many at the table this had a thin crispy skin. Imagine biting into a layer of perfectly brittle crackling. Berkshire pork is prized for its juiciness, flavour and tenderness. It was originally bred for the King of England for his personal meat supply. So a dish fit for a king.

Course 5 - Drunken Free-Range Chicken Roulade, Velvet Truffled Egg, Asparagus Fried Rice

Yu Kitchen Chadstone
Drunken Free-Range Chicken Roulade, Velvet Truffled Egg, Asparagus Fried Rice

This chicken is cooked and marinated in wine to create a deep taste and served with a mini tower of fried rice. I'll tell you more about that crown of blissful scrambled eggs in a moment.

Course 6 - Soybean Panna Cotta, Truffle Honey, Freeze Dried Blood Peach Snow

Of the six dishes, I found a couple grandstanding and yanking at my attention. Surprisingly, it was the velvety scrambled eggs in dish 4 that sealed my lust for truffles forever. Every mouthful was one of 'oohing and ahhing' and so yes, the orgasmic joy of totally fulfilled tastebuds.

Truffles rely on animals digging them up in order to spread their spores, which is why they have that pungent aroma that attracts animals to them. And that scent is the secret to their potency. It seems truffles send humans as well as other animals into a frenzy of desire

I could carry out the truffle dog's job now admirably as I am a confirmed truffle tragic. As once you have 'oohed and aahed' over a truffle dish, you'll pretty much do anything to be transported back to that moment of bliss.

Yu Kitchen Chadstone

The other standout was the soybean panna cotta, truffle honey and freeze dried blood peach snow. It was the grand finale, a mesmerising magic show with a huge globe of freeze dried blood peach worked with dry ice and this created plumes of dense fog as diners looked on in amazement.

Yu Kitchen Chadstone
The creation of freeze dried blood peach snow

But magic aside it was the taste of this incredible dessert that kept me dipping my spoon in. The freeze-dried peaches were still shrouded in fog as they were heaped onto the rich and creamy panna cotta and then as they hit, the new temperature they burrowed down until there was no trace of them left.

Yu Kitchen Chadstone
Freeze dried blood peach snow burrowing down into our panna cotta

But when you put spoonfuls of the dessert into your mouth there were sudden bursts of flavour as you discovered the sunken treasure.

I gather this dish symbolised the humble little truffle waiting patiently underground to be discovered.

The dessert was spread over two levels. On top was a glass conical brimming with the panna cotta and underneath were little meringues shaped fungi on a bed of sweet crumbs representing the earth. The meringues were flecked with edible gold dust reminding us of their worth.

Yu Kitchen Chadstone
A symbolic creating of the truffle's world in the soil

The two Yu Kitchen Fresh Truffle Discovery Degustation dinners sold out but you can experience other truffle dining experiences as part of the Melbourne Truffle events throughout June and July. Click here.

And fortunately, you can dine at Yu Kitchen any time you are in search of a special meal. They do a creative yum cha daily Here are some photos including one of their signature treats which is pastry swans filled with lotus paste.

Yu Kitchen Chadstone Yum Cha
Source Facebook Yu Kitchen

Yu Kitchen Chadstone
Yum Cha photo Yu Kitchen Chadstone

In the evening, you can order a set menu for $88 a person with 8 courses or there are la carte options. You will find truffle dishes on the menu such as Braised Baby Green Lip Abalone with Velvet Egg White and Black Truffle and Wok-tossed Free Range Chicken, Assorted Wild Mushrooms and Black Truffle as well as a range of crispy pork dishes.

There is an emphasis on fresh seafood alongside innovative creations such as Tasmanian Oysters with Passionfruit and Moutai Granita, Seafood Pumpkin Soup with Hokkaido Scallop, Tiger Prawn, Snapper and Prawn Oil and Double-boiled Fish Maw Soup with Red Dates and Goji Berries.

The service at Yu Kitchen in my experience was impeccable with the magician's touch of dishes held high and hovering and then landing before you as if from the heavens and wine glasses filled without the blink of an eyelid.

There is a shop at Calia downstairs which features a selection of premium local and imported products such as truffle oil, gifts and gold salt. I kid you not.

Calia Chadstone also offers pastries and sweet treats from well-known Melbourne establishments Penny For Pound and Bibelot.

Calia Chadstone
Cake display Calia Chadstone

For those like me who have become hooked on truffles, you can snuffle along to the Truffle Melbourne festival at Queen Vic Market on Saturday 22 June, 9am-7pm and Sunday 23 June, 9am-4pm in A Shed.

Here you can enjoy the largest truffle celebration outside Europe offering a huge range of affordable truffle dishes ranging from truffle soup and truffle pizza to truffle crepes and cheesy raclette. The Truffle Bar will serve truffle bubbles, ale, cider and cocktails.

Truffle dogs
Source Truffle Melbourne

There will be live music and Melbourne's best truffle chefs will share their secrets. Truffle dogs Spice and Arrow will show you their truffle hunting skills. And I'll bet they're hoping the humans won't beat them to it.

For more information click here.

There will be a stand with specialised truffle products and you can also buy them online. Click here.

There will also be a seasonal truffle van at Victoria Market serving affordable and tasty treats on market days 10am- 2pm and that includes scrambled eggs with truffle hashbrowns ($12), fries with Gruyere cheese and truffle salt ($9) and Cauliflower Soup with Truffle Oil and Crème Fraiche $8. And that's just a few of the items on the menu.
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*Nadine Cresswell-Myatt was invited as a guest
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Why? Once you truly taste truffles your are hooked
When: LUNCH - Monday to Sunday 11am-3.00pm, DINNER - Sunday to Thursday 6pm-9.30pm/Friday & Saturday 6pm - 10pm
Phone: (03) 9569 8301
Where: Luxury Precinct Entrance Chadstone Shopping Centre Next to Tiffany & Co, Saint Laurent and upstairs from Calia via stairs or lift Shop 41B, Ground Floor Chadstone Shopping Centre 1341 Dandenong Road, Victoria Chadstone
Cost: See article for regular prices. The degustation menu was $113.13 – $146.68
Your Comment
Amazing as always X
by Jen (score: 3|3017) 777 days ago
Great article Nadine. That food looks delicious.
by Amanda I (score: 2|819) 776 days ago
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