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Ramen Ya, Melbourne

27 Jun

Highlight – Decent prices for the CBD

Lowlight – Noodles were quite average

Charshu Ramen

Charshu Ramen

Chicken Katsu

Chicken Katsu

FOOD?

After an intense half a day of shopping we decided to take a break for lunch at Melbourne’s GPO. By this point we were starving as we didn’t eat much for breakfast. I opted for the popular house special, Charshu Tonkotsu Ramen. The charshu slices were very thin and tender but too bad there was so little of it. Noodles reminded me of Maggi noodles but I was super hungry so managed to finish it all. The broth was tasty and helped keep me warm from the chilly winds outside.

As my fiancé usually orders the ramen he decided to try the Chicken Katsu Bento Box for a change. The batter of the chicken was well seasoned and there was a generous amount of katsu sauce and kewpie mayo. The rest of the dish was filled with standard bento box items, gyoza dumplings, salad and rice.

SERVICE?

Orders are made at the counter and customers are free to sit wherever they please with their table number. Meals were delivered relatively quickly after ordering although there was a slight mix up in our orders where they delivered two bento boxes to us instead of one.

AMBIENCE?

Not much ambience, customers are mainly there to eat and go. There are a handful of communal tables outside and some indoor seating if you’re lucky.

VALUE?

Well priced for a restaurant in Melbourne’s CBD with most items around the $10 mark. Regulars can obtain a loyalty card where if you buy nine ramen meals you receive the tenth one free.

BOOKINGS?

At the GPO restaurant, bookings are only accepted for dinner. It can get quite busy during lunchtime on weekdays. The Bourke Street chain allows bookings for both lunch and dinner.

7

out of 10!

Ramen Ya
Shop 25G, Melbourne’s GPO, 350 Bourke  Street, Melbourne VIC 3000
03 9654 5838 

Shop 9, The Paramount, 108 Bourke Street, Melbourne VIC 3000
03 9662 1001 

Ramen Ya on Urbanspoon

Shyun, Carnegie

5 Sep

Highlight – Authentic Japanese cuisine

Lowlight – Overcrowded compact venue

Soft-shell crab roll

Soft-shell crab roll

Agedashi tofu

Agedashi tofu

Bento box

Combination bento box

FOOD?

My aunty has been raving about Shyun for a while now and I finally decided to make a trip there after work. (She did mention that I wasn’t allowed to write a post on Shyun in order to keep it a secret but I think it’s too late, the word is definitely out as evident in the popularity observed on my recent visit.)

We all agreed that the entree/share dishes were the highlight of the night. Our favourites included the soft-shell crab rolls with seafood-type sauce and the deep-fried tofu served in Japanese dashi stock.

Mains were pretty average, I think it was because we didn’t make the right choices. I had the prawn and vegetable tempura with rice, it was tasty but needed something else in the dish as it was purely tempura after tempura with no condiments to relieve yourself from the oily batter. The boys ordered the combination bento boxes which were surprisingly large but the accompaniments of sukiyaki beef and fried chicken were quite ordinary.

After looking further at the online menu I am keen to return here as there are so many more dishes I want to try such as the Nasu Dengaku (eggplant with mincemeat and miso sauce) and the Katsu Curry (crispy chicken with Japanese curry sauce). I would again start with some fresh sashimi and california rolls.

SERVICE?

The majority of staff are Japanese and do the best they can given the busyness of the restaurant. We were unable to wave staff down to clear our table and ended up having to clean up ourselves.

AMBIENCE?

Inside there is a maximum seating capacity of 30 people. The venue is small and lacks ambience, instead focusing on delivering authentic Japanese dishes.

VALUE?

Great value for quality ingredients used to create traditional meals from Japan.

BOOKINGS?

Shyun does not accept bookings but service is quick so the turnover of tables is efficient. Either arrive early or be willing to patiently wait for a table to free up. During warmer weather you can utilise the outdoor seating, otherwise takeaway is popular too. Note, this is a cash only restaurant.

7

out of 10!

Shyun
126 Koornang Road, Carnegie VIC 3163
03 9569 6530 

 Shyun on Urbanspoon

Maedaya, Richmond

7 Jul

Highlight – Large selection of dishes

Lowlight – No bookings policy

Wagyu tataki

Wagyu tataki

Maedaya tsukune yakitori set

Maedaya tsukune yakitori set

Tuna sashimi with mayo

Tuna sashimi with mayo

FOOD?

We arrived at 6pm on a Saturday night as we thought this would be early enough to reserve a table in the downstairs area. There are different menus for upstairs and downstairs; upstairs is a lot smokier due to the cooking on the grills compared to the downstairs area with no grills and a menu variety less focused on yakitori.

When we first arrived we were told there would be a half hour wait for a table downstairs. As such we ventured to The Collection Bar for $10 cocktails as suggested by our BarBait iPhone app. By the time we ordered our drinks a table freed up at Maedaya.

To start we ordered a bottle of sake and a several dishes. This quickly went and we had to order a handful more. Some of my favourites were the beef tataki and tuna sashimi that were cooked perfectly and melted in your mouth upon each bite (although the tuna was drenched in sesame oil). Mushrooms were super juicy and the soft shell crab was always going to be a winner! Not quite sure about the okonomiyaki, yes it was full of flavour but the texture was more gooey than one would expect – no way near as yummy as the one I ate in Hiroshima.

Overall the food was traditionally Japanese (besides the Korean bibimbap available on the menu?) and well presented. Time between dishes was not too bad considering the restaurant was so busy. I would return to Maedaya but only if I was after more of light meal and drinks.

SERVICE?

Staff were not overly friendly, just quiet and obliging. Dishes were not delivered with any explanations unless asked by us.

AMBIENCE?

Unfortunately we were seated in a table of four right next to the door on a Melbourne Winter’s night. As such, each time the door opened (approx. once every 10 minutes) the chilly wind came rushing in, blowing my hair into my food and annoying the crap out of me! Seriously, don’t sit at the table near the front door during Winter! The door is heavy which meant patrons couldn’t be bothered closing it after they came in/out.

Other than that, the restaurant is bustling with patrons. Being so popular many customers are happy to put their name down to reserve a table and wait patiently along the front wall of the restaurant, making Maedaya even busier than it already is.

VALUE?

I don’t think you can quite call Maedaya a ‘Cheap Eat’ venue unless you’re only after a few nibbles and drinks. Even though prices are reasonable as all items on the menu range from about $5 to $15, they do all end up adding up! We ordered 11 dishes plus sake between four people and easily had room for dessert afterwards.

BOOKINGS?

Being a small venue it is unfortunate that Maedaya does not accept bookings for less than 5 people. It is best to rock up as early as possible (before 6pm), put your name down on the wait list and have a drink at a nearby bar whilst waiting for a table to free up.

7

out of 10!

Maedaya
400 Bridge Road, Richmond VIC 3121
03 9428 3918 

 Maedaya on Urbanspoon

Izakaya Den, Melbourne

17 Apr

Highlight – Corn tempura with green tea dipping salt

Lowlight – A tad pricey for the small-sized portions

Sweet corn kari-age with green tea salt

Sweet corn kari-age with green tea salt

Tuna tataki with garlic soy and wasabi cream

Tuna tataki with garlic soy and wasabi cream

Crispy cocktail potato with anchovy butter

Crispy cocktail potato with anchovy butter

Gotzinger Berkshire pork sausage

Gotzinger Berkshire pork sausage

FOOD?

I have been meaning to try Izakaya Den for a while now so when a Japanese work colleague suggested we go there for dinner I jumped at the opportunity. I absolutely loved it! Izakaya Den provides fusion style snack-sized dishes which keep your taste buds wanting more. My favourite dish was the Sweet Corn Kakiage (deep fried corn fritters with green tea dipping salt), definitely a must try and something that I have not come across before.

We ordered several dishes amongst three people together with Umeshu plum wine (sweet sugary goodness). Each dish was pleasing to the eye and intricately presented. Even though I was not bursting at the seams after we finished our meal I was very content with our selection of dishes.

SERVICE?

We were fortunate to have a very polite Japanese waitress who was quite helpful. We were also served the corn tempura on the house by a friend of my colleague which ended up being the dish of the night for me. Great service as staff were always quick to top up our drinks and clear our plates.

Amazing food and I will return soon! I would like to sit at the bar next time to experience a different perspective. There are so many more dishes that I want to try so I am looking forward to my next visit.

AMBIENCE?

Dim lighting, modern music and an abundance of patrons creates a fun and light-hearted dining atmosphere.

The layout of the restaurant is well thought out with the bar/kitchen along one side of the wall allowing patrons to sit and watch the chefs and staff doing what they do best. On the other side are tall tables and stools which can seat up to four people per table. At the back there looked to be a a larger table for a group booking which took up most of the space.

VALUE?

Somewhat pricey for the amount of food we received but this is expected due to the tapas style dishes.

BOOKINGS?

When I ventured to the bathroom halfway through our meal I noticed a queue of well over 10 people standing at the entrance in a line waiting to be seated! Bookings can’t be made unless you have a group of five or more so please be patient, it is worth it.

9

out of 10!

Izakaya Den
144 Russell Street, Melbourne VIC 3000
03 9654 2977 

Izakaya Den on Urbanspoon

Horoki, Melbourne

17 Feb

Highlight – Well presented and scrumptious tapas style dishes

Lowlight – Serving sizes are quite small

Beef tartare with quail egg and tuna salad

Beef tartare with quail egg and tuna salad

Fried chicken wings stuffed with dumpling filling

Fried chicken wings stuffed with dumpling filling

Roasted duck breast on eggplant with miso and honey sauce

Roasted duck breast on eggplant with miso and honey sauce

Horoki rice bubbles

Horoki rice bubbles

FOOD?

Tapas style Japanese food to share. Each dish is creative and pleasing to the taste buds. Sizes are quite small – we ordered several dishes between four people together with a bottle of sake.

I have been to Horoki a couple of times now and I will keep visiting here. I recommend going with at least a group of four people to ensure you get to taste as many dishes as possible!

An absolute must-try are the chicken wings stuffed with what appeared to be dumpling-like filling. We could not get enough of this!  The beef tartare was another winner for me as well as the duck and eggplant dish where each bite was a melting moment.

After realising we were still hungry we asked the waitress for a recommendation of what to order next. She advised that the Horoki speciality was a favourite amongst patrons which we readily ordered. It reminded me of rice bubbles topped with hor fun sauce. It was an interesting combination but I think I would prefer hor fun with proper rice noodles instead of crunchy LCM bars.

AMBIENCE?

Lively chatter throughout the venue. Popular and relatively small restaurant where seating at the bar is available. Bookings are recommended for large groups as it can get quite busy around dinner time.

SERVICE?

Actual Japanese staff which is always a good sign that the restaurant is truly Japanese owned. Explanations of the dishes are not quite clear from the waitresses but it would be rare to find a dish that was not enjoyable here.

VALUE?

Small quantities for the price per dish but then again it allows you to try a variety of different dishes.

BOOKINGS?

Best to book at Horoki as the restaurant is quite small with only a few tables.

8

out of 10!

Horoki
19 Liverpool Street, Melbourne VIC 3000
03 9663 2227 

Horoki Casual Dining Bar on Urbanspoon

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