Teppanyaki Set Dinner at Koko
Level 3, Crown Towers
8 Whiteman St
Southbank, VIC 3006
03 9292 5777
My entire workplace has been having a very tough start to the year, and its taken a heavy toll on myself. On one particularly difficult weekend, I looked so downcast that Fatbee spontaneously booked dinner here to help cheer me up.
Red Crane 20.00
An elegant and refreshing combination of tsunami and plum wine, served with hibiscus flower
Rising Sun 20.00
In the Tropics – Lychee liqueur, topped with sake, mango juice and grenadine
I could literally feel the weight lift off my shoulders as I sipped on my cocktail whilst enjoying this Japanese restaurant’s calming atmosphere.
We decided to spoil ourselves a little and went for the mid-range “Kaze” Teppanyaki Set Menu, priced at $135 per person. With Teppanyaki meals, a few groups of people are seated together in tables of 8-10 and our ‘personal’ Japanese chef will cook our meals right in front of us.
Appetiser 付き出し – cooked fish with sweet and sour sauce
Assorted sashimi 刺身 – salmon, tuna and hapuka
Our appetisers soon arrived. I enjoyed the freshness of the sake, maguro akami and hapuka sashimi served with what texturally tasted like grated wasabi.
Dobin mushi 土瓶蒸し
Dashi consommé with prawn, chicken, mushroom and gingko nut, served in a clay teapot
Next came a beautifully clean soup served in a teapot.
We were told to squeeze a bit of fresh lime over it and toss the lime into the pot to flavour it up. The concept of keeping the soup warm inside the teapot flew very nicely with me, as did the gentle flavours that were cupped within.
Crayfish tempura with wasabi mayonnaise 山葵伊勢海老天ぷら
Our final appetiser came as indulgent pieces of crispy lobster tail tempura, sweet and succulent inside, with a light but confident hit of wasabi mayonnaise. I liked how even this tempura dish managed to balance the flavours gently so that you could enjoy the natural sweetness of the lobster.
Our Teppanyaki chef then took to our station and, with a superbly sharp knife and great dexterity of hand, began cooking for us.
Prawns, toothfish, scallops 海老、銀ムツ、帆立
Sautéed seasonal vegetables 野菜のソテー
While I admit I still had quite a lot on my mind right through the meal, the spectacle of watching a Teppanyaki chef at work proved to be a great distraction. His hands literally danced with the utensils and ingredients. Each of us received a platter of grilled seafood… cooked to perfection and delicately seasoned. The scallops were juicy and I liked how the prawns were cooked with butter.
Seasonal salad 季節のサラダ
The salad that came with our mains also satisfied. I liked the textural crunch that came from the pieces of crispy tofu skin and there was something light and moreish about the dressing.
Australian wagyu beef sirloin (Grade 7+) 和牛サーロイン
And here’s the highlight of our Kaze Teppanyaki Set Menu: a gorgeous serve of Wagyu cooked with the respect that it deserves.
I do enjoy having Wagyu beef at steak places whenever I get the chance (and if my pocket allows me to)… but this modest serve of Wagyu beef was the best that I’ve had in a long long while. Truly melt-in-mouth texture with wonderful depth of flavour. This plate of beef has almost convinced me to only “do” Wagyu at Japanese places from now on.
Garlic fried rice ガーリックライス
I’m glad they served the rice at the end of the meal, because by this point we were so full we struggled with this final course despite it being so good.
Koko’s version of fried rice tasted simple and delicate with little surprise pieces of flavourful beef in it. I wish I could cook fried rice as delicious as this. On top of the rice sat crisp “prawn crackers” that were made from the prawn heads that were carved off from our prawns at the start of our meal.
Fresh fruit with ice cream 季節の果物とアイスクリーム
This will probably be the most expensive Melbourne meal that Fatbee and I will be having this year. I’d been talking about coming here to try the Teppanyaki set meal and I’m glad we finally did it. Even if the sequence of events that led to this visit came from a unhappy place, the beautifully cooked food here lifted my spirits significantly.