ARIA TURNS ONE! It’s difficult put into words this journey that we have been on as parents and as a family. To my little girl, you will be all grown-up one day but in the heart of your mummy, you will always be the precious little baby I once held in my arms. To my husband who’s always been there for me and been so supportive of all I do, I’m so happy to be on this journey together with you and sharing every moment, the ups and downs and everything in between.
Whilst it’s a celebration of our daughter’s birthday, we also see it as a celebration of us as parents that WE MADE IT! Our baby is alive and well and we have made it together as parents. We wanted to throw a big party and share this big milestone with our family and friends.
As many of you will know, my husband and I were married in Albert Park by the lake so when it came to looking for the perfect birthday venue, it was no surprise where we wanted to have it.
Luckily for us Sun Kitchen recently opened, bringing Sichuan and Cantonese fine dining experience to Albert Park. The venue is two levels, with seating for 200 inside and another 80 outdoors. For a more intimate dining experience there are nine private dining rooms, along with three function spaces. All the space offer amazing views across Albert Park Lake and surrounds.
Upon inspecting the venue and meeting the staff, they were extremely friendly and helpful when it came to planning the party. They were instrumental to the success of the birthday party. I couldn’t thank them enough for what a special day they created for our family and friends.
We choose a 12 course banquet sit-down lunch for the adults and they were also able to cater for the kids and offered a 4-course kids menu. Sun Kitchen‘s Chef carefully selected and put together the menu for us.
To start, it was Golden Crispy Tofu, Vegetarian Eel, Braised Beef Tendon with Green Chilli Sauce and Hot & Sour Mung Bean Noodle. Every dish was delicious and something I could nibble on all day! I especially loved the Hot & Sour Mung Bean Noodle, featuring noodles that are made fresh on site each day and I love that interplay between hot and cold, and spicy and numbing, that Sichuan cuisine is known for.
To cleanse the palate before moving on to more substantial dishes, we has the Shunde Sliced Fish Thicken Soup.
For the main courses, first up was the Wok-Fried Lobster with E-Fu Noodle in Superior Broth. Then our guests were served one of Sun Kitchen’s signature dishes – Sizzling Fish Fillet in Hot Chilli Oil. A favourite of Qing dynasty emperors, a large bowl is packed with tender, dense fish fillets, chilli oil, and a whole lot of chillies and Sichuan peppers. It’s not a mild dish, but surprisingly, just the right amount of spicy. Even if you’re not a spice fiend you’ll be able to appreciate the interplay of flavours and sensations that come with each bite.
Other tasty items we enjoyed included Dongting Styled Braised Pork Belly, melt-in-your-mouth tender MS9+ Wagyu Beef with Black Truffle & Garlic and Stir-fried Country Style Mixed Vegetables. Feedback from our guests, a highlight from these main courses was the Dongtin Braised Pork Belly. Succulent pieces of pork belly with tender meat and unctuous fat. Each bite is heavenly.
There was a special birthday course added in there, the Golden Glutinous Rice & Red Eggs. In Chinese culture, red dyed eggs are often presented at birthdays, weddings, and parties to celebrate one month since a baby’s birth. In the case of birth celebrations, red is the colour of choice because of its association with luck, happiness, and fertility.
Dessert was a lighter affair, which perfectly complimented the heavier mains we enjoyed. We were served the Matchan Mung Bean Cake & Okinawa Red Bean Cake.
Whilst Sun Kitchen took care of the menu and the venue set up. I had the fun job of styling the area where the cakes and desserts were displayed. The colour theme I chose was baby pink and white. Two of my favourite colours (hopefully Aria likes them too)! I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out. All the suppliers I worked with were extremely professional and talented. They each brought their own creative flare to the table and the results speak for itself!
When it comes to kids birthday parties, the most important rule is that they are entertained. When the kids are happy then the adults can relax and enjoy themselves too. We hired kids party toys from Little Party Play. We had so many great feedback from the parents and I would definitely consider hiring these again for future parties. They kept the kids so entertained and at the end of the party, we had so many parents telling us that their kids missed their nap times because they had so much fun and did not want to leave!
We wanted to capture memories of this special day so we invited back our videographer from C2 Films who shot our wedding. I met Marcus over 4 years ago and he shot my wedding. 3 years later he shot my pre-birth video and of course I just had to ask him to shoot Aria’a 1st birthday. He has been there with me for some of the most important moments of my life and I love how he captures the intimate moments and his story telling through his videos.
Thank you to all our guests who came to the party and celebrated with us! Each and everyone of you made an impact on our lives and have been on this rollercoaster of a journey called life with us. Being a parents isn’t easy (that’s an understatement!) but having the support of each and everyone of you has helped us get through and navigate our first year as parents. It was by far THE hardest year of my life but at the same time the most rewarding.
Venue: Sun Kitchen
Fresh Flowers: Botanics Melbourne
Balloons: Belle Balloons
Flower Wall: Melbourne Flower Walls
Kids Party Toys: Little Party Play
Cake Stands & Plinths: House of Confetti Events
Birthday Cakes: Cookies and Crumbs Melbourne
Chocolate Strawberries: Chocolate No 5
Videographer: C2 Films
Event Styling: The Tia Fox (Me)