Chasing a Plate dined as guests of West of Kin and Red Agency
Amongst the industrial landscape of Braybrook, West of Kin is a beacon drawing in foodies from the western suburbs. Housed in a heritage building, the restaurant balances its industrial bones with polished wooden tables, leafy green plant life and golden lighting- it’s a beautiful yet comfortable space.
We slide into a booth and start with a jug of the Dragonfly cocktail a blend of lychee, citrus, mint, ginger and vodka. It slips down dangerously quickly! There’s a concise beer and wine list with beers on tap as well as the chance to sample the local West City Footscray Ale. The staff are friendly and adept at explaining the menu.
The ‘taste’ menu allows diners to choose 3 morsels to nibble on for $26. We err towards the bites with a more Asian influence including the kelp cured kingfish, prawn toast with yuzu mayonaise and the Jiangxi chicken style bao. We’re also swayed by the Yunnan style lamb ribs, new style son in law duck egg and the Sichuan style beef tartare. West of Kin has plating down pat. The dishes that arrive are visually vibrant and expertly composed. The ‘tastes’ are well received- the glossy, sticky lamb ribs fall off the bone and the son in law duck egg which rests on a thick disc of rice boasts an oozy rich yolk. The prawn toast is a favourite and nothing like the stodgy oily triangles you find at yum cha. West of Kin’s toasts feature golden soldiers laden with chopped prawns, black and white sesame seeds, a drizzle of citrusy yuzu mayo and finished with fresh coriander and chilli. Delicious.
The duck noodles contains a moist pile of master stock shredded duck, egg noodles, xo sauce, spring onion, coriander, chilli and a couple of fried quails eggs. The noodles are springy and the duck is subtly flavoured whilst the herbs and batons of cucumber provide bursts of freshness. It’s tasty although the flavours and spice could be punchier and we do wonder about the somewhat steep price point.
We can’t help but sample two of West of Kin’s desserts: the spiced pannacotta with scorched fruits and saffron syrup and the West of Kin sundae. The pannacotta is perfect. Creamy and smooth with just the right amount of wobble. Lightly torched, diced watermelon and pineapple and a drizzle of syrup offer hints of sweetness. The West of Kin sundae is a riot of textures and flavours. You’ll find a jumble of creme caramel or flan, ice-cream, biscuit and fruit piled into a sundae glass. Does it work? Strangely it does. The contrasting textures and flavours are appealing and it’s reminiscent of Chè Ba Màu that Vietnamese 3 coloured dessert.
It’s the new kid on the block but West of Kin is already impressing the locals with virtually a full house on the Sunday evening that we visit. It’s easy to see why- beautiful, tasty food in a unique space.
Good to know:
Dragonfly cocktail jug $34
West City Footscray Ale $12
Taste plates range from $9-$11 or you can sample 3 choices for $26
Duck noodles $28
West of Kin
17 Lacy Street
Telephone: +61 3 9317 7553
Open 7 days, 5:00pm to 11:00pm
Photographs: Thomas Southam