Two years after opening the doors to its Japanese-inspired restaurant-to-retail store at Emporium, Calia is opening a second spot at Chadstone. Upstairs at the new store will be Yu Kitchen, a mid-range Chinese restaurant.
At Calia, patrons can dine on Wagyu rice bowls and matcha lava cakes, then move to the adjoining gourmet food store to buy ingredients for home.
The Chadstone location (opposite Tiffany & Co.) will seat 60 more diners (both indoors and outdoors) than the Emporium spot does. There’ll also be a wine and whisky tasting area – a venture too big for Emporium – and dinner service.
“We’ll still have the core menu for brunch and lunch,” says Calia chief executive officer Jason Chang. “We’ll also have another menu where you can sit down with friends, have a drink, and have some Japanese tapas.”
Francisco Araya, who trained under Ferran Adria at El Bulli, and worked at Tokyo’s Michelin-starred 81 Restaurant, has designed the menu at the new Calia.
Yu Kitchen will be connected to Calia by an internal staircase leading upstairs and will offer formal Chinese dining and yum cha. The menu is by executive chef Chen Kentaro of two-Michelin-starred restaurant Shisen Hanten in Singapore. Kentaro is also the son of “iron chef” Chen Kenichi.
“You can have normal Peking duck, or Peking duck with caviar. What we offer is the option to upgrade. In this day and age, people want the option to add something special on top if they feel like it every now and again,” says Chang.
Yu Kitchen’s head chef Bernand Kong (Silks) will host private cooking lessons and regular masterclasses with guest chefs, including Kentaro. Guest chefs will also hold special banquets for up to 150 guests.
Australian architects March Studio – the brains behind Sneakerboy, Gazi, Lucy Liu and the new Jackalope Hotel coming to the Melbourne CBD – designed the two venues. Chang hopes, upon completion, that patrons will feel that they are dining in “a work of art” or a “museum”.
“It’s not over the top where you don’t feel comfortable. You’re not going to get marble columns or gold-plated tableware,” Chang says. “It’s designed in a way that you feel it’s comfortable but also the design aesthetic is there.”
Calia's Chadstone site is expected to open in early December, 2018.
Mon to Thu 10am–9.30pm
Fri & Sat 10am–10.30pm
This article was updated on July 27, 2018 at 9.50am.