Type of Venue: Cafe, Restaurant, Bar
Cuisine: Modern, Pan-Asian food
Highly Recommended: Five Spice S&P Calamari, Benjamin’s ‘Crap’ Bun, Lamb Rib Addiction, Vermicelli Salad with roast duck, Summer Mango Curry Chicken
Off the beaten track in the inner eastern suburb of Alphington, Benjamin’s Kitchen offers pan-Asian cuisine in a contemporary venue. Eliciting a sense of relaxation and serenity, the cloud-like ambience of their gentle hues and interior furnishings are further strengthened by natural sunlight streaming through the street-facing windows. The polished-clean look of Benjamin’s Kitchen gives the impression that they are brand new, yet the execution of their food delivers their two-year experience in an impressive way.
Promoting an all day dining concept, their liqueur license is generously on display via bottles of wine and champagne behind the bar, whilst the food menu offers a range of small and large sharing dishes that are available for both lunch and dinner. Harnessing a fusion approach that successfully differs from other similar approaches throughout Melbourne, Benjamin’s Kitchen combines Thai, Malaysian and Vietnamese flavours and ingredients to produce elegant and thought-provoking food.
Lychee Lime Soda ($6.00 each)
Delve into ‘Small Eats’ such as hawker style Malaysian Satay Chicken, or the popular Benjamin’s ‘Crap’ Bun (not a typo), presenting as two brioche sliders, each filled with crispy soft shell crab, mayonnaise, cucumber, crispy lettuce and coriander.
Benjamin’s ‘Crap’ Bun (2pcs for $15.50)
Larger dishes are heartier in substance, though they retain a fresh-tasting lightness that doesn’t leave you feeling heavy. The Lamb Rib Addiction is glazed in a garlic and honey soy marinade, finished with Asian herbs for some freshness. Aptly titled, the addictive quality of these ribs justify the action of licking your fingers so as not to lay waste to any of that deliciously sticky glaze.
Lamb Rib Addiction ($15.80)
Equally addictive is the Five Spice S&P Calamari, whose enjoyably chewy texture is complimented by a light and crispy batter, all wok-tossed and perfectly seasoned with salt, pepper and lemon.
Five Spice S&P Calamari ($19.80)
A separate menu showcases their ‘Summer Specials’, further emphasizing their valued importance of utilizing produce that is fresh and in-season. Vermicelli Salad is tossed in a sweet chilli and lime dressing, interspersed with shredded roast duck, delivering a tasty meal that will also get your body Summer-ready.
Vermicelli Salad with roast duck ($16.80)
Summer Mango Curry Chicken is another ‘Summer Special’, whose complexity of flavour hints at the impressive skill level of the chefs in the kitchen. A quintessential east-meets-west dish, succulently tender chicken is cooked with fresh mangoes and mango chutney, both of which disperse a level of sweetness that perfectly balances the spices within the curry.
Summer Mango Curry Chicken ($18.80″)
+ Jasmine rice ($3.50)
Although initially mesmerized by the calming nature of the intriguing venue, which extends upstairs into further seating and a private function space, it is the delicate balance between traditional and modern flavours that leaves the customer immensely satisfied, along with the creative amalgamation of cross-cultural cuisines that captivates our attention. Hence, if you’re seeking a different kind of Asian-fusion experience, look no further than Benjamin’s Kitchen.
Note: I dined at Benjamin’s Kitchen as a guest, on behalf of The City Lane. Thank you to the management and staff for their generous hospitality throughout our experience.
758 Heidelberg Road
Alphington, VIC 3078
Ph: (03) 9499 3743
Hours: Tues-Sun 12-3pm, 5:30-10pm. Monday Closed.