Chef David Kew – ‘it’s a lot, but it’s a lot of fun too’

In a sentence: all-you-can-eat conveyor belt hot pot in nightclub setting
The damage: $ 90pp unlimited food
Top tip: follow the instructions on the “sauce station”
Quench your thirst: with a cocktail based on Taoist elements
If you like this: try the Panda Hot Pot in the former Dracula area of ​​Carlton, a two-story Sichuan restaurant with live entertainment and a 1.5-ton steel ceiling-mounted steel kite.

This week I have combined a nightclub with a hot pot restaurant with a sushi train with an all-you-can-eat buffet.

Enter Chef David Kew. It opened earlier this year at 140 Cotham Road and is the latest iteration of the popular David Hot Pot restaurants scattered around the city, Box Hill and Glen Waverley.

This version is completely different. Treat me as I guide you through it, for this is a total experience. When you enter through the first door from the street, you are in a concrete, gallery-like space with white neon dates on the walls, stretching from 2019 to 2042. Italicized neon writing on the second wall sounds like an inspiring wellness meme: try new things; feel alive, etc. Continue through a curtain of chains and you will reach a giant KAWS-seque figure guarding a mirror door. There is a sign telling you to wait to be seated, which is misleading because I can assure you that after standing there for two minutes, no one will come to pick you up.

However, a host will greet you on the other side. When we visit, a house-y Michael Jackson remix plays, but not too loudly. The room glows blue, contrasted by LED flames on the right wall that will later change to a snow-capped mountain landscape.

The host will ask if you are attending a la carte, in which case you will be escorted to the restaurant seating at the back, or shabu shabu; the all-you-can-eat option, conveyor belt that costs $ 90 per. head, sitting up at the bar.

In front of each envelope there is an individual electric hob for your hot pot. But before you can eat, there are some choices to make. You start with a tasting menu that includes five out of eight possible dishes. It can be lobster sashimi with fish roe, a selection of five pieces of sushi from unagi to roasted salmon and fatty tuna, uni chawan mushi, tempura and M9 + wagyu slices with truffle pasta.

While you wait for the dishes, someone will come around with a Little Rose aperitif. Your next choice is your soup base. There are eight in total and the staff recommends the rich, eight-hour-long tonkatsu pork broth. I think the better option is mushroom and pork bone broth, which is lighter and more balanced. If you want something spicy, they will recommend the salmon and steer you away from the characteristic Chengdu-spicy broth, which simmers for 48 hours with 130 herbs and spices, but it obviously makes even chili connoisseurs sweat.

While you wait for the food to start, you can visit the sauce station at the back of the restaurant. This is where you will find hot pot dip sauces along with recipe cards attached to the wall so you can accurately mix the ingredients for seafood, meat, etc. For info, the little red cans are sesame oil.

When the time comes to attack the conveyor belt, know that some dishes are ready to eat, such as oysters, marinated squid, seaweed salad, steamed chicken and sushi. The rest goes into your broth, with the cooking time suggested on the included cards. There are about 40 dishes on rotation. Think thin slices of beef and lamb, quail eggs, abalone, scallops, king prawns, noodles, fish balls, lunch meats, vegetables, tofu and more.

If you’re thirsty, there’s sake, Asahi and Edge Brewing on tap, mostly Australian wines and extravagant cocktails based on elements of Taoism (thunder, sky, mountain, lake, etc.).

Towards the end of our meal, I was halfway through a mouthful of noodles when dessert arrived unannounced – a matcha-heavy square of cheesecake and a scoop of coconut ice cream. When I asked to have it back in the fridge to avoid melting, a waiter explained that at. The 20:00 session usually ends at 22.00. The time was 21.26. Despite this, the service was actually fantastic and very systematic. There is a lot to take in and they do a wonderful job of explaining it and then they make sure that the glasses are filled and that the space is cleared as the plates pile up.

Chef David Kew may be a lot, but it’s a lot of fun too.

Chef David Kew
Shop 1, 140 Cotham Road, Kew
cd-kew.com.au

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