Review: Yūgō at Crown Plaza Melbourne

Eat, Melbourne, Restaurants / 13 January 2021

Asian cuisine combined with traditional French cooking techniques provides a unique dining experience in Melbourne.

Nestled in the newly refurbished Crown Plaza Melbourne, Yūgō isn’t your typical hotel restaurant thanks to its Asian-meets-French concept. Before you raise an eyebrow wondering how you might mix sushi and croissants, Yūgō has cleverly blended Japanese cuisine with traditional French cooking techniques.

Chef Matthew Butcher is no stranger to the foodie scene with his international and national repertoire. His 12 years’ in the business have entailed working at hatted restaurants alongside renowned chefs including Gordon Ramsey, Shannon Bennett and Ryan Clift.

Although Yūgō’s official opening was back in February 2020, they have come back from their COVID-19 hiatus with a bang. The inviting teal blue and brass dining space has been skillfully designed to ensure every diner has the best seat in the house – focused on the main entertainment, the open kitchen.

Yugo at Crown Plaza Interior

Peruse Yūgō’s menu and you will no doubt be salivating with what is on offer. Sashimi-lovers will rejoice at the Hiramasa Kingfish sashimi. Beautiful in both its flavour and presentation, each slice is crowned with salmon roe and drizzled with yuzu truffle dressing.

The grilled local asparagus, teriyaki glazed with tofu mousse, is simple yet packed with flavour. Crunchy morsels of paper-thin garlic slices, which have been battered in rice flour and flash-fried, are the pièce de résistance to this dish. The combination of smooth mousse, al dente asparagus, and crunchy garlic is a winning trio.

Grilled local asparagus, teriyaki glazed with tofu mousse

Crowd favourite, the humble dumpling, has been taken to a new level with with a well-known French delicacy, escargot. Covered with a decadent garlic butter and tarragon sauce, this dish will leave you craving more and is an excellent introduction for those who haven’t tried escargot before.

For something a little more traditional, try the prawn and ginger dumplings. Served with a generous portion of black pepper sauce, these rich and flavoursome dumplings will hit the spot.

From the Josper (grill), the spicy beef tenderloin with red chilli and sweet soy is cooked to perfection and literally melts in your mouth. Don’t fret if you have other dietary requirements – vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free and dairy-free options are also available for some dishes, such as roasted cauliflower with a sesame butter sauce.

Yugo Spicy Beef Tenderloin

One cannot forget to save some room for dessert. Try the whipped dark chocolate with sesame praline and lychee for a decadent end to the night.

The cocktail menu at Yūgō also highlights its Asian influence. “The Last Samurai” comprises a delicious combination of gin, melon, yuzu, and yellow Chartreuse. For a take on a classic, the “Miso Old-School” mixes dark rum, miso, and orange bitters. A range of Sake, beers, ciders, spirits and wines are also available to tickle your tipple desires.

Yugo at Crown Plaza Melbourne cocktails

Although 2020 might be labelled a bit of a “faux pas”, be sure to celebrate all that the new year will bring with a dining experience at Yūgō. There’s Yum Cha on Sunday’s and a private dining space in a frosted glass cube that’s perfect for up to 10 guests. While you’re at it, why not make a weekend out of it and enjoy a staycation at Crown Plaza Melbourne. After all, we all deserve a bit of r&r, and what better way to do that than with a belly full of good food and a mini getaway.

Find Yūgō at the Crown Plaza Melbourne (Level 2, 1-5 Spencer Street, Melbourne). 

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