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June 18, 2015

Kokumi Asian Eats

At new Melbourne Street eatery Kokumi you'll find the most delicious Asian street food cuisine on one simple menu, cooked and served up by a Mum.

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  • Words and pictures: Joshua Fanning

There’s an episode of Seinfeld dedicated to the foibles of starting a restaurant that combines cuisines from different cultures, but Kokumi Asian Eats succeeds where the Dream Cafe did not.


Kokumi Asian Eats
133 Melbourne Street Adelaide 5006
OPEN Tue – Saturday
Lunch 11-3pm
Dinner 5-9pm
Sunday dinner only

Navigating a new menu in a new restaurant can be tricky at the best of times but when you’re seeing Pho listed alongside fried rice alongside fried chicken, naturally you’ll start to question the venue’s authenticity.

You shouldn’t. Kokumi is a Japanese word, like umami, that partly describes the feeling of eating something delicious, something hearty – like home cooking.

CityMag never second-guessed the menu as we were lucky enough to have a guide on our first visit to Kokumi.

Designer John Quan (creator of our magazine stands) is our chaperonge and he navigates the menu with ease. Of course you don’t need a furniture designer to get the most out of a menu but in this case it helps because John designed and built a lot of the store while his brother and mother designed the menu and run the kitchen.

John’s family is from Hong Kong and that knowledge alone is enough to make sense of a menu which combines the best of quick eats from across Asia. If a Dream Cafe was going to succeed anywhere it would thrive in the food-centric culture of Hong Kong.

Taking the pencil provided, John scans the Yum Cha-like paper menu, marking “2” alongside the pork and garlic chive dumplings. “2” next to the stuffed chicken wings. “1” next to a home made Ice Tea and “1” iced coffee.

Then some larger meals to share – the miso butter grilled beef with rice, pickle and soft-boiled egg is a must according to John and the Thai-style fried rice is excellent here.

True to its name – the food is exceptional, achieving that miraculous feeling of nourishment you only get when there’s love in a meal. Elegant home cooking with sophisticated as well as simple flavours and all served from the cutest push-cart you’ve ever seen.

Kokumi is your new go to when you think “burger” for tea but had a burger for lunch.


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