Melbourne Food Review: New Kum Den, Chinatown, CBD
Seriously, with a name like that, how could you not? Let me ask again, HOW COULD YOU NOT?!?
So I said to Josh on a working Monday – how about we do lunch to celebrate our first wedding anniversary? Where would you rather go? Bistro Vue or New Kun Den? My treat since I totally screwed up and booked us into David Thompson’s book launch that night (I forgot all about the anniversary thing. Seriously, who remembers things like this?)
The man chose New Kum Den. Not only he is low maintenance. He is also childish to the max. I guess you win some, you lose some. So we rocked up in the restaurant expecting a somewhat dodgy haunt. We were disappointed. It was all sort of new, and shiny and clean. The waiter greeted us with bowls of carrot soup and then gave us a lunch menu which was awfully boring but quite cheap (note to self for team lunch) – the usual stir-fries, fried rice, noodles. So we asked for dinner menu. Still nothing interesting however, I ended up picking salt & pepper Japanese silken tofu. Josh had decided on pork spare ribs with wuxi sauce. Mainly because neither of us had any idea what wuxi sauce is. And a New Kum Den seafood and ham fried rice from the lunch menu.
(seafood and ham fried rice -$9.50)
Our fried rice arrived within five minutes. I guess the lunch menu gets a bit of priority. The fried rice was yummy. Glossy and full of flavour. The ‘seafood’ in question must mean scallops because they were everywhere! There was no other seafood to be found but I love scallops and didn’t mind. It also had a bit of ham although not to the same extent as scallop.
(Salt & pepper silken Japanese tofu – $18.80)
My salt and pepper tofu arrived five or so minutes later. This was made from the tube ‘egg tofu’ which is slightly different from normal silken tofu. It was the best thing since sliced bread (although I don’t think that highly of sliced bread, by the way) but this tofu was fabulous. It was salty, spicy and crunchy on the outside and wonderfully silky and mild on the inside. Ah I could just eat this and nothing else.
(Pork spareribs in wuxi style sauce – $17.80)
Josh’s dish arrived last. He ordered it because he didn’t know what it was and he found the rest of the menu too uninteresting. It was pork belly in sweet-ish, tomato-ey, five spice type sauce. It was all right but Josh found it a bit too fatty and I thought the sauce was a bit sweet. Still, it was good with the salt and pepper tofu. We couldn’t finish all the food and Josh had the pork belly for lunch at work the next day and it was still quite all right.
Satisfactory lunch, I say. I would definitely be back for the salt & pepper tofu. Loved it. I imagine it’s a good lunch place too. By the way, their web site is food porn galore – this is exactly how all restaurants should do their websites, in my humblest opinion.
New Kum Den, 15 Heffernan Lane, Melbourne Chinatown Victoria Ph: (03) 9639 9857