Close to Birdport tram station. Short walk to St Vincent Gardens. PROFILED BY DE GROOTS MEDIA
The window carries a message: A journey to Asia will change the way you eat. That’s where the name comes from – A Journey to Asia – so pronounce the “j” accordingly. Will it fulfil its promise? Very likely. Owner Michael Wong is a skilled and experienced restaurateur with an unfailing sense of innovation. That’s why this restaurant, which opened in September 2006, has such great design. There’s a terrific use of colour and objects, from the Buddha’s head at the entrance to the red wall of the staircase. The restaurant is dark, with timber floors, bare timber tables and dark walls lit by a series of red lights.
The menu? If you want to explain to a visitor what Melbourne food is like, come here. There are Vietnamese accents, a Malaysian style curry, a Hong Kong steamed fish, a Japanese flavoured salad dressing, and so on. It could have been messy, but it’s not. It’s actually very assured. For a light lunch, go for one of the great value set lunches; the vegetarian consists of a big bowl of rice topped with fried tofu, baby bok choy, snow peas, and a range of mushrooms that makes the whole dish really interesting. For dinner, think char-sui marinated lamb cutlets, salmon with mushrooms, Korean beef, lemongrass chicken and Malaysian coconut curry. There are specials every week, and a monthly changing set menu at a very fair price. The wine list is long enough to be interesting, short enough to facilitate an easy choice, and all the wines and beers suit the style of cooking.