Adam and I were really keen to suss out the $30 p/p express lunch deals that a few of Melbourne’s finest restaurants are offering during the festival. After ringing around to book a table for places such as Grossi Florentino and Bistro Vue, we were sadly turned away because these restaurants (and most of the city ones) were booked for the entire festival. Damn. We then decided to suss out some non-CBD restaurants before finally securing a spot at Kobe Jones, this fusion Japanese restaurant at Waterfront City, Docklands. Having heard alright reviews from a few fob friends of mine from uni and hearing that KJ has a few restaurants including one in Sydney and one in London, I assumed that it would be a decent place.
So the deal was that we’d get two courses plus a beer/wine/sake for $30. And you get a bowl of rice and miso soup with your meal too. If you wanted some green tea, you got that too. Brilliant! we thought. But as our afternoon went by, me and Adam started to think that our visit was a complete waste of time and I was even thinking that our money could’ve been spent at the Indian restaurant a few doors down that offered banquets for $35 per person…We waited about 10 minutes for the waiter to bring out our menus after we were being seated. Now, there may have been 10 billion things to do (i.e. serve the other 5 or so patrons or fold napkins), but at least give us some water to drink so that we’d have something to do once we’ve chosen our dishes! So anyway, we finally get the attention of the French (!!) waiter who writes down our orders before returning to the table with our entrees after not even 10 minutes. Wonderful! Things can finally progress!
From L-R: Tempura-fried zucchini leaf stuffed with crab meat and Japanese mayonaise, oven-baked crumbed scallops with tangy salad dressing + vegie sushi (cucumber, asparagus)While I had no opinion regarding the sushi, I thought the other two dishes were quite nice.So after we’d gobbled up everything, Adam and I spent a while talking about how good our entrees were. This went on for quite a while before we realised that our mains were taking quite a while to come out.
I seriously counted 40 minutes.
Now, I understand that the kitchen might be understaffed but I’d be a little more patient if the wait staff had told me about it or offered something to compensate. Or just told me to come back another day when I made the initial phone booking. But I guess they only did the rostering the night before or something. Either that or they really did not give a stuff about customer retention or whatever.
This was my main. As you can tell, it looked a bit sloppy as if the chef was about to finish off his shift but had to come back to make one more of these. And so he threw something in a hurry and this was the result. It was a seared pepper salmon which was accompanied by a tomato relish and garnished with daikon crackers on top. It would’ve looked amazing if it had been done properly. Tastewise, it was alright. But nothing remarkable about it and nothing that anyone cannot replicate. Heck, it didn’t even resemble anything Japanese. Sure, this was meant to be a fushion restaurant but surely there must’ve been some Japanese undertones or something?
My question was why the feck did it take 40 minutes for my main to come? FISH DOES NOT TAKE THAT LONG TO COOK. NOT EVEN AN ALPHA FISH SUCH AS ATLANTIC SALMON.
And I know because I used to cook in a fish and chip shop back in my awkward teen years. So there.
Adam had the chicken teriyaki only because there were three mains to choose from – I had dibs on the fish and the only other option was some tofu vegetarian dish so the chicken won hands down. Now, this looked a lot nicer than my dish. Perhaps the chef fancied 6 foot plus Asian men or something. Anyway, while the dish might’ve looked prettier than mine, it also tasted rather ordinary – something that any Chinese-run Japanese restaurant could whip up.
After we’d finished our mains, we realised that they had NOT GIVEN US OUR RICE AND MISO. By then, I was thinking of just leaving but Adam, being the tight arse, insisted on staying for the miso so we had to wait another 5 minutes or so for the miso to come. Had to admit though, it was good miso but heck, miso isn’t that hard to make either. All in all, not a very good experience. The only thing that I enjoyed about Kobe was their entree plates but apart from that, everything else received a thumbs down. The waiter also noticed this and kept apologising constantly. He was nice and all – it wasn’t his fault that the kitchen staff were so slow – and even offered us some drinks on the house but we just wanted out. I guess you are paying a discounted price for lunch and therefore, you shouldn’t be expecting the best food and the best service but for most restaurants (especially the newer ones), shouldn’t the promotion be used as a retention tool to get people to sample your menu and thus put more effort into making sure that their first experience is a plesant one? Pleasant enough so that they might, look I don’t know, return again?Ugh.
Even though I didn’t have a fantastic time there, I won’t rule out another return visit. Not in the immediate future though but I definitely want to suss out their “signature dishes” (volcano sushi, for example) which was, sadly, not on the express menu. That’s if they DON’T close down the joint in the next year or so!
Our next stop was the Celebrate the Bean (coffee) festival. Only because Adam works in the coffee industry and goes crazy over coffee and coffee machines. Ugh. To me, coffee is just coffee. As long as it wakes me up and doesn’t taste revolting, I am happy. But not Adam, it’s all about the grind and the crema and all that mumbo-jumbo that coffee snobs like to talk about. Heh. While there were instances where I yawned and got distracted by seagulls and boats, I actually had a great time there. We managed to try all sorts of shots from different brands of coffee machines – they DO make a difference. The Breville‘s machine made alright coffee while the brand that’s endorsed by Roger Federer churned out that awful milky coffee that Starbucks makes.
Adam would rather have one of these than a fully sick hotted up car…
Yeah, he’s crazy!Actually, he might have a point. I can see how an initial investment of a $1000 coffee machine might save you from buying $3 coffees every day in the long run. And that you might turn into a coffe snob which might do wonders for your image and make you look sophisticated and cool. And it’ll mean that you won’t have to drink that Nescafe sht at home anymore. Hehhh!
Free coffee and free tubs of Connoissuer ice cream (I took two!) – can’t go wrong!