I will put my hand up and admit it right now; I could be described as a little judgemental at times. I mean, I like to think it’s in a witty and funny way, but I’m sure there would be some who don’t agree. (Whatever.)
So, when I talk about the western suburbs, or ‘The West,’ with a judgey tone to my voice – (I’m an eastern suburb snob now) it’s all in good fun…
Recently I got asked if I wanted to visit West of Kin in Braybrook, a suburb located in the west of Melbourne. Of course I was keen, but not without a little consideration regarding paying a visit to The West. Admittedly, I was a little apprehensive upon driving along the street in the area that I thought it was located. It was an industrial looking area that didn’t look like it housed anything even resembling a restaurant. My friend was making all kinds of exaggerated comments about The West while I shushed her and scanned the street for signs of life. We finally found it (I’m also the first to admit I have absolutely no sense of direction, which probably didn’t help) on the corner of Lacy Street and Ballarat Road.
The exterior is a little inconspicuous, with the courtyard surrounded by glass walls near a building that almost looked like a hospital or office building. Stepping under the strings of fairy lights, through the courtyard and inside, you are instantly at home. The beautiful interior has exposed brick, high ceilings reminiscent of a warehouse, and a cascade of hanging lights to make you right at home.
We start off with some cocktails recommended to us by our friendly host – the Geisha ($16), which is a strong passionfruit, vodka malibu concoction, and a Dragonfly ($18), which has vodka, lychee, ginger and mint for a refreshing kickstart to the evening.
The menu is designed for sharing – a winner for indecisive gals like me. We opt for a share plate of three of the ‘taste’ starters (choice of 3 for $26), because why not!
The cheese croquettes with bacon mayonnaise are a winner -you had me at cheese. How could you go wrong with something like that?
The Jiangxi style chicken bao packs a flavour punch. With mint, coriander, chilli and chicken, it is fresh and zingy.
The star of the trio though (and probably of the whole night) is the Yunnan style lamb ribs, with sesame seeds and sweet and sour soy laquer. With four hours of slow cooking under its belt, the meat slides off the bone and melts in your mouth. It is the perfect combination of savoury with a touch of sweetness. I would go back in a heartbeat for those ribs. And I will!
For main, we decide on the master stock shredded duck with egg noodle ($28), xo sauce, spring onion, coriander, chilli and fried quails eggs. The meal is generous in portion size, perfect for sharing while still allowing room for dessert after. And the flavour – rich and tasty duck, perfectly balanced with fresh cucumber and mint. Plus the mains come with seasonal sides – ours was kimchi and pickled veggies.
Of course we had to get dessert, as if that’s even a question. We were just going to share two out of the three desserts on the menu (restraint) but our host talked us into (totally twisted my arm) getting all three.
While all the food is pretty darn Instagram or Snapchat worthy, the desserts take the cake (See what I did there?). The West of Kin Sundae ($12) is fresh and delicious, with ice cream and freeze dried fruit.
The Chocolate delice ($12) is a rich, decadent indulgence with the right amount of fresh berries and freeze dried fruit to balance it out. Plus, it’s super pretty #foodstagram
My friend got a fair amount of entertainment from the wobbly Panna cotta ($12); are you ready for this jelly?
West of Kin is not just beautiful food – the location is pretty special too (despite my original judgements). The building that houses the restaurant is heritage listed – meaning they are not allowed to put any signage up outside. Directionally challenged people aside, this makes it a little bit more of a hidden gem. The restaurant is the sister restaurant of Chapel Street Thai restaurant, Kin. West of Kin is the cool little sister – Asian fusion style food with a modern twist. With brunch now on the menu as well, it’s definitely time to go west and check it out.
West Of Kin
17 Lacy Street, Braybrook, Melbourne, VIC
Phone: (03) 9317 7553
I Ate My Way Through dined as guests of West Of Kin