RECAP: SECRET KITCHEN X DAI LONG
I may be biased given my background and upbringing but I think the best kinds of feasts are Asian banquet dinners that have you rolling out of the restaurant. And wow, does Secret Kitchen know how to put on a feast!
In collaboration with award-winning, Hong Kong celebrity chef Dai Long and Moutai Australia, renown for their premium quality baijiu spirit, Secret Kitchen recently hosted a dinner series titled Secret Kitchen x Dai Long.
Deviating from the typical offerings, our banquet kicked off with a garden salad. While the salad itself tasted fine, the overall dish did seem to pale in comparison to many of the dishes that followed. Perhaps this was their way of easing our tastebuds and appetites into the ten course feed. Course number two, featuring cubes of foie gras with crackers and honey seasoned baked tomato steered our dinner into finer territory. The foie gras was sensationally creamy and its richer flavour had my taste buds yearning for more. Upon first reading the menu, my mouth watered ever so slightly as my eyes scanned past the suckling pig. The real deal did not disappoint; the crackling was sensationally crunchy and the thin layer of flesh was beautifully succulent. The pork was paired with a silky light layer of steamed bao, fresh avocado and cucumber.
Helping to break up the feast and somewhat serving as a palate cleanser, the light but flavoursome balance of the abalone and sea cucumber in broth brought much warming comfort.
The sauteed fresh pearl and scallops dish really highlighted that simple ingredients when prepared and cooked right can still make quite the statement. No doubt fresh, the scallops were juicy and tender, and contrasted beautifully with the crispy crunch of the snow peas. The fresh Coral Trout fillet, coated in a salted duck yolk and basil batter was another stand out dish that had the entire table singing its praises. The indulgent and savoury nature of the yolk, with just the right amount of saltiness, was incredibly additive. A more refined version of sweet and sour pork if you like, the crispy King prawns paired with a Hawthorn berry sauce was another dish that went down a treat.
There's fried rice and then there's Emperor fried rice. And there's a world of difference between the two. For one, the signature fried rice dish was packed to the brim with fragrant, savoury flavours. Definitely no boring bites and highly moreish.
Coming to the pointy end of our feast (when you start to wonder if you maybe should have worn stretchier or looser attire), everything started to converge into one meaty blur. Three meat mains will definitely do that. The baked wild mushrooms in Emerald sauce not only provided some much needed relief from the heaviness imparted by the all the meaty and fried dishes that proceeded it, but I also enjoyed the blend of natural earthy flavours from the mushrooms.
I often struggle to pull out that second stomach that exists purely for desserts but made an exception on this occasion after seeing and hearing everyone's response to the mochi-like glutinous ball with mango filling. The glutinous casing was spot on with its gelatinous texture and the mango filling was not overly sweet and its mango flavour vibrant and fresh.
The Secret Kitchen x Dai Long dinner series has now ended but there are plenty of delicious a la carte and banquet options that make for some excellent feasts. Experience it for yourself at Secret Kitchen in the CBD or Doncaster.
Secret Kitchen Doncaster
Level 2, Westfield Doncaster Shopping Centre,
619 Doncaster Rd,
Doncaster, Victoria, 3108.
(03) 9840 2248
Disclosure: I dined as a guest of Secret Kitchen. All opinions expressed in this post are based entirely on my experience and observations made during the time of my visit.