At the forefront of modern cuisine – café style “Third Wave”
Café food made with passion for you.
In the quiet back streets, one step from funky Chapel Street where the young gather, and just opposite Prahran market – the heart of fine foods, you will find “Third Wave”, a café whose focus is not just on delicious coffee, but, in keeping with the Melbourne café culture of recent times, is chosing to put their emphasis on refined and modern cuisine. This innovation has already seen them being placed firmly in the spotlight, and they are currently ranked amongst the top restaurants in Melbourne on the restaurant ranking site Urbanspoon.
The person behind this popular food is joint owner and executive chef, Ryo Kitahara. He believes, “if it is going to be done, it should be done at the forefront.”
Kitahara studied under the guidance of the “Tetsujin of French cooking” Hiroyuki Sakai, at his restaurant Le Rochelle Osaka, before at the age of 28, moving to Australia “for a bigger challenge.” Whilst keeping his roots in French cooking, he also dabbled in a range of different genres and has worked at the famous Japanese restaurant “Higashi Restaurant”, and the exclusive French restaurant “Galileo” in Sydney, as well as at the Canton and French restaurant “Duck Duck Goose”, and the modern Izakaya “Heirloom” in Melbourne.
Third Wave was launched in September 2013 with his associate Greg, and is his first venture into restaurant ownership. “To be honest, the café world was an entirely new area for me, however (with the emphasis on food getting stronger), I feel there is a great future for cafes here in Melbourne. Whilst being sure to incorporate those Aussie diet staples such as coffee, eggs, and bread, he thought that by adding some ideas from his experience as a chef, he would be able to create something truly interesting. This is what drove him to undertake this new challenge.
Kitahara says, “The trend now is to wow the clients so they think “It’s amazing that a café can produce this level of food!” and as such there are no limits to where the café culture can take modern cuisine.”
Keeping this in mind, the concept that Third Wave is presenting is a mixture of “American style BBQ”, and “PALEO- an attempt at recreating food from the stone age”. Whilst at first glance these concepts may appear to be the complete opposite to each other, they are both almost unheard of in Melbourne.
The “PALEO” style of food is especially popular amongst young women, as its focus is on healthy eating, and is not only gluten free and dairy free, but also sugar free. The “Crusty Salmon” – a serving of marinated salmon coated in quinoa and baked until crunchy, served with vegetables like cauliflower and beetroot, and the “Zucchini Fritters” – Zucchini fritters fried in Buckwheat flour instead of plain flour, and served with house made smoked bacon, are particularly popular items on the menu.
Another impressive feature of Third Wave is that almost all of the meats, from bacon, to pork ribs, beef ribs, lamb and even salmon are smoked in-house. The lineup of dishes cooked using these meats, cured with time and love, are the stars of the “American Style BBQ,” with the Reuben Sandwich being the signature dish. The Reuben Sandwich is a beef brisket, slow smoked for over 6 hours in 8 different spices and served on Rye bread with cheese and coleslaw. From the first mouthful you are met with both a wonderful smoky flavour, as well as deliciously juicy beef that melts in your mouth. Also, the “Lightly Smoked Salmon on Brioche” made with house made smoked salmon and a lemon preserve, and served with a refreshing and tangy horse radish cream sauce is popular with the female clientele.
Kitahara says that he is happy that through the medium of food, he is able to share things that he likes or thinks are delicious with the customers. After being open for 6 months, he says he is happy that they are busy, but that they still have a lot of work to do. “Our goal is to dig our roots deeper into the local community.”
And this isn’t the end of Kitahara’s dreams. “In my head I already have 2-3 other café ideas. The clientele and their wants change with each suburb, which I think is really interesting. I hope to be able to open lots of different styles of cafes, here in Melbourne. “ As he says this, it is clear that he already has the future in his sight.
Address: 30 Cato St, Prahran
Phone: 03 9510 2991
Opening hours are:
Sunday to Wednesday 8am – 4pm
Thursday to Saturday 8am – Late