Highly rated across all review sites such as Zomato, TripAdvisor, Yelp and Facebook, Calia is a unique 'restaurant-meets-retail' experience. It is located on the 3rd level of Emporium in the Melbourne CBD. Calia brings Japanese fusion to Melbourne with the menu created by Michelin Star Chef, Francisco Javier Araya. Surprisingly, the price point is reasonable- an average of $20 for a main. The restaurant thrives on a stellar line up of suppliers including Robbins Island Wagyu beef, Yarra Valley Truffles and Red Hill Truffles, Coffee by Seven Seeds, as well as pastries and bread by Chez Dre and sweet treats by Bibelot.
The front of Calia made me go wow. It reminds me of a Kate Spade store with pretty greenery, golds and bright colours. The retail part of Calia was beyond beautiful. Being in a 40 minute long waitlist, I had a good browse of all the different products. There were food products, gluten free foods, specialty international products, stunning 'traditional-meets-modern' cutlery, dinnerware and teapots. It was a very aesthetic experience. After a long wait, we were seated and served promptly. The food came out quickly and it definitely didn't disappoint. For starters, we ordered some umami fries and crispy prawns with mayonnaise. I highly recommend both dishes as it was delicious and got the juices going, just in time for our mains. We ordered the Crispy Roast Pork Bowl and the O' Bara Bara. The ginger sauce that came with the Crispy Roast Pork Bowl was amazing. Probably the best thing about the dish. I personally have had better Roast Pork before as I thought the crackle was not crispy enough. Still delicious but I would have to say it was the sauce that held the dish together. The O' Bara Bara on the other hand was visually appealing and tasty. It is a mix of diced tuna, salmon, kingfish, tamago and ikura. It was light, healthy and very fresh.
I have also previously had the chance to taste some desserts from Calia- The Matcha Lava Lava a rich enticing chocolate lava cake oozing warm matcha ganache. If you are a chocolate fan, you will absolutely love it! Although for $15, I wouldn't be rushing to get it without an occasion. The Hokkaido Chizukeki is a take on the Hokkaido cheesecake with Yuzu jelly. This was delicious and my favourite, I would highly recommend this. After a meal, the light flavours and cheesecake combined with the tangy Yuzu jelly was just divine.
Food & Drinks: 4.5/5
Delicious! Have been back a couple of times since.