Elegantly tucked away within Melbourne’s prestigious ‘Grand Hyatt’ hotel, surrounded by the likes of Emporio Armani and Bvlgari lies Collins Kitchen – and upon entering the restaurant; the impressive upmarket dining scene is met. Whilst the ambience on this particular night was rather lackluster, (in comparison to the number of restaurants completely booked out for the night) – a dimly lighted venue; with a highlighted main attraction of a spectacular open kitchen set the scene for an enjoyable night.
We were directed to our seats, as mandatory menus were placed in front of us to make our dining decisions. A complementary loaf of white sourdough rustically presented alongside a herbal butter to indulge in whilst we waited for our orders to arrive. A fluffy texture, with a brilliant ‘fresh’ crunch; provided for a warm appetizer on a cold Melbourne night.
Whilst Collins Kitchen offers a self-guided tour around the fabulous open kitchen in which guests can watch their meals being cooked; the hype surrounding this aspect does not make up for the delay in both adequate service and the time in which it took for meals to arrive. We often found ourselves attempting to capture a waiter’s attention; and more often than not, failing.
Seafood Pizza – $24
Bug Meat, Scallops and Prawns
Proceeding a disappointing 25 minute wait for our entree to arrive; countless blank looks directed towards the kitchen in eager anticipation of what had to be something special being brewed up – placed in front of us was.. a seafood pizza. Complete with a distinct ‘fishy’ aroma, an initial opinion of this dish wasn’t favorable. Nonetheless, we dug in; whilst the bug meat and scallops were cooked exceptionally, the prawns.. well, where were they? The base was thin and crisp; which we adored; however, overall the pizza lacked a healthy dose of seasoning amongst other elements which defied it from being anything special.
Barbecue Combination Platter – $36
Char Siu, Roasted Pork, Duck, Soya Chicken
A dish that does exactly what is says on the packaging; however, clearly incomplete and carelessly presented. The pork was cooked delicately; delicious crunchy crackling complimented it nicely. The Char Siu was rich in fat; no different to any lackluster representation you’d find within cheaper restaurants along ChinaTown. The duck lacked flavour besides the skin; whilst the soya chicken was rather tough and overcooked. The dishes presentation left something to be desired, careless splashing of cooking juices surrounded the rather monotonously stacked meat and a distinct feeling of incompleteness as the thick flavour of fatty meat was left on the palette. This dearly needs to be accompanied by some vegetables both as a palette cleanser and for presentation purposes.
Complimented with an array of dipping sauces, namely spring onion and garlic (which worked quite well with the pork), chilli (which infused a nice touch of Asian-inspired elements) and plum (not worth reviewing, too sweet and worked poorly with all meat selections – tasted store bought!)
Crispy Pork Belly – $35
Red Wine Roasted Pears
Whilst this dish made a slight improvement upon the barbecue combination platter’s shortfalls; in its provision of some sort of greenery – a lettuce and asparagus combination can understandably raise a feeling of disappointment. The inarguable standout was the roasted pears (or rather, poached); which packed immense flavour, and complimented the crispy pork; which was juicy yet lost its initial intrigue following a few bites.
Collins Kitchen Dessert Sharing Plate- $35
Contrary to previous dishes, the dessert platter arrived reasonably quickly and elegantly presented. Despite the unimpressive mains, the dessert platter presented a valiant effort in its attempt to sway our opinions of Collins Kitchen – arguably able to cater to three or even four guests.
A coconut filling with shavings of coconut throughout created a smooth, bearably sweet; yet disappointing first component of the platter. The sugar chip garnish complimented it well, however, the gelatine base was both flavorless and unfavorably textured.
Seeping out of the cake like chocolate dessert was a gooey, thick sauce. This element created the chocolate component every dessert platter should rightfully include. Crisp where it needed to be, whilst a smooth and luscious filling provided for the highlight of the dessert platter. Our only fault was in a slight taste of flour throughout the mixture.
Definitely for the sweet-tooth’s, the pineapple crumble delivered a pungent sweet punch, in it’s comforting, warm bite. A few spoons of this left our mouths throbbing with sugary aftermath; in saying so; a simple vanilla ice-cream accompanying would do wonders to this dish.
Passionfruit, Coconut and Strawberry Sorbet
A refreshing palette cleanser complimented the entire dining experience nicely; the distinct flavours of each sorbet were evidently there and worked well together.
The main attraction; an open kitchen which guests are more than welcome to take a sneak peak in – Complete with a sushi, pizza and seafood station amongst others!
Food: 6/10 (Lackluster, poorly presented and improved by an impressive dessert platter)
Value for money: 5.5/10 (Mains required an adequate side dish component; particularly for the price tag)
Service: 5.5/10 (Constantly failed to capture waiter attention; slow service)
Ambience: 8/10 (An impressive open kitchen layout, amongst a fire-lit setting created a romantic ambience)
Total Cost: $130
Pros: Impressive dessert platter, gorgeous complementary homemade bread, beautiful layout
Cons: Well over priced, incomplete dishes, waiters lack basic awareness skills, slow service
Would we return? No, both overpriced and poorly trained staff disappointingly detract from the impressive establishment
Collins Kitchen Info
Phone: 03 9653 4831
All day dining
Address: Collins Street Lobby Level, Grand Hyatt Melbourne, 123 Collins Street, Melbourne VIC 3000