MELBOURNE | Benyue Kitchen is a Chinese restaurant in Aberfeldie, that’s in many ways the spiritual successor of Melbourne dining institution, Lau’s Family Kitchen. When owner Gilbert Lau and family announced the closure of their St Kilda restaurant last year, there was a collective sigh across the city, from diners who knew what a loss it was.
Enter Benyue Kitchen, headed up by several of the former Lau’s team, carrying on the torch with the blessing of Gilbert and the family. At the restaurant, chefs Yip Wu, Tang Au-Yueng, Xing You He and Qiang Wu are cooking up an assortment of traditional Cantonese delights, including several of Lau’s signature dishes.
The decision to open in Aberfeldie was driven by the dearth of quality Chinese restaurants in the area. The restaurant is housed in a brown brick building on a suburban strip mall in a primarily residential area. Inside, the feel is similarly suburban. Simple, unpretentious, and welcoming. Framed art from chef Yip’s five-year-old nephew, Wilson, dot the walls.
Cumin spiced lamb spring rolls with plum sauce, chicken with chestnuts, eye fillet of beef in black bean sauce, and some of the best fried rice in town, are all things which will be instantly recognisable to Lau’s regulars. At Benyue, they’re as good as ever.
The menu is large, and there’s a lot to like. It’s the kind of place where you should definitely ask the staff for recommendations, and also enquire as to what off-menu specials are on that day. For example, the vermicelli claypot with scallops, BBQ pork and finely shredded omelette, is a must order dish that you won’t see on the menu. Also make sure you call ahead to secure one of the 30 tender, soy braised poussins that’s on offer each day.
The Szechuan-style braised eggplant with minced pork and spice, is another must order. Finishing your meal with a serve of pineapple fritters and ice-cream is no-brainer. For drinks, it’s a selection of reasonably priced local wines, soft drinks, and teas.
As the old saying goes, there’s no need to reinvent the wheel. At Benyue, this couldn’t be more true. Traditional Cantonese food done right, with friendly service to match. You can’t go wrong.
365 Buckley Street
Wed – Mon: 12:00pm to 3:00pm; 5:00pm to 10:30pm