Recently myself and a girlfriend visited Kekou, a modern Asian restaurant in Richmond’s bustling Bridge Road for lunch. The light filled, grunge-chic space has been expertly designed to preserve the buildings 120 years of historical charm, whilst giving it a modern twist. A lot of thought has been put into the dining space, from the rendered, sculpted and painted walls, splashes of greenery right down to the furniture made from recycled red gum railway slippers.
Menu wise, Kekou ticks all the boxes for modern Asian fusion foods in Melbourne. The head chef, Oak Kunnalok, brings all the tastes and textures needed to breathe fresh air into the very popular Asian food scene here in our food driven city. Hailing from Thailand, where he grew up with a chef for a Mum, his vision is based on the sharing feasts he watched his mother regularly make in his childhood. At Kekou, he has created a menu with this in mind- the culture of food sharing. At Foodie Melbourne, this is something we value very highly as that experience of trying different dishes, passing things around and experimenting with different dishes is one of the things we love most about dining out.
Like many great restaurants in Melbourne, it is the passion and drive behind the scenes that is so important to understanding why and how the restaurant is what it is. The owners travelled through Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia where they fell in love with the hidden dimensions of Asian cuisine, and decided to bring it to Bridge Road- along with the perfect match of boutique beers to match with the food. Kekou features 18 rotating craft tap beers, alongside its ripper menu featuring farm produce. The menu offers everything from light snacking and dining options (washed down with one of those beers!) to a fine dining dinner experience, complete with shared ‘feed me’ options (priced well, at $69 and $79 per person).
We aren’t big beer drinkers, so we stuck to the cocktails (which were also very good) and worked our way through some of the chefs favourite dishes. Stand outs for us were the zesty starter of Lobster Betel Leaf with toasted coconut, finger lime and chilli caramel, and the absolutely divine Crispy Rice Buddha Bowl, a tropical, textural sensation that transported us directly to a beach in Thailand.
Main wise, we loved Kunnalok’s twist on Pad Thai, served with huge chargrilled King Prawns. The Five Spice Pork Belly with palm caramel was decadent and rich, cut through by the pomelo and mint salad.
Our dessert recommendation- a delicious steamed banana pudding with coconut liquor butterscotch sauce and coconut icecream.
Overall, we loved every dish that we tried and definitely left Kekou feeling very full, satisfied and having travelled South East Asia with our tastebuds. We highly recommend this new Bridge Street gem for your next girls night, date night, or couples dinners- with the extensive beer list, gorgeous space and varied menu, there’s something for everyone. Kekou is open for lunch Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and dinner Tuesday to Sunday.
Have a delicious day,
Disclaimer: This article is written in collaboration with Kekou Melbourne, but all opinions are genuine.