November 14, 2009

Izakaya Chuji; Kaneda; Kagu Ra Zaka; Yamato; Kanda; Meshiya

Here are a few low-key Japanese eateries that I've called upon with a rumbling tummy, craving for authentic Japanese food at an affordable price - they've been listed in order from best tasting and value for money to the least greatest, but all are worth a second visit, especially with such friendly and polite service provided.

Izakaya Chuji 
165 Lonsdale Street,
Melbourne, VIC 3000
(03) 9663 8118
(Also at: 181 Clarendon Street, South Melbourne, VIC 3025)
Food: Traditional Japanese, Tapas Bar
Date visited: 19th November 2008

Izakaya Chuji was established in 1989, and serves true Japanese Izakaya tapas-style dishes, perfect for sharing among friends. The place is always brimming with diners, so make sure you pre-book a table, especially on Friday and Saturday nights. The food has never disappointed for the many times that I've been here, it is effortless and jolly well tasty! One of my favourites is their delectable version of 'Gyutan Shioyaki' - Delicate slices of Ox Tongue are grilled with Salt, creating a smoky, salty, lingering sensation in the mouth.

Takoyaki - crispy octopus balls with a mushy centre

Ika Butter - squid, fried in a creamy butter sauce; Nasudengaku - fried eggplant with a sesame and miso sauce

Beef Sukiyaki with Udon Noodles

Shop 6, Mid City Arcade
200 Bourke Street,
Melbourne, VIC 3000
(03) 9663 8802
Food: Traditional Japanese 
Date visited: 24th February 2009

Kaneda is one of those hidden-away treasures in the city that serve great tasting food at a ridiculously low price. The tables are very cozy and the atmosphere is always buzzing with a constant turnover throughout the day. I've been here so many times that I've lost count! A bonus is the vast variety of Bento boxes on offer, with Steamed Rice, a Sring Roll, Fresh Sashimi and Chicken Karaage as the general accompaniments.

Ebi Butter Yaki Deluxe Bento Box - Prawns cooked in a butter and soya sauce

Prawn Tempura with Udon Noodle Soup - served with a potato croquette on the side

Tempura Sushi - my favourite! However, it doesn't taste as delicious as it used to be

Kagu Ra Zaka 
266 Toorak Road,
South Yarra, VIC 3141
(03) 9827 2608
Food: Traditional Japanese
Date visited: 21st January 2008

Kagu Ra Zaka has a real Japanese feel with its delicate rice paper screens and ceramic dishes. I've dined here about four times, all of which the food has been consistent and delicious. There once was a slight hiccup with a waitress that delivered our dishes to another table (who ate the food!), and we had to wait for the chefs to re-cook them, but that was forgiven, as I think she was new and still learning - it took her a while to understand what dishes we wanted to order. I'm unsure why, but I don't have many photos from here, only a couple that I've taken on my phone's camera.

Japanese style low-slung tables

Gyu Niku Maki - Juicy beef rolls, stuffed with vegetables, in a wine and soya sauce
Grilled Teriyaki Prawns

Green Tea and Vanilla Ice-Cream

28 Corrs Lane,
Melbourne VIC 3000
(03) 9663 1706
Food: Tradtional Japanese
Date visited: 3rd March 2009

Yamato is another tiny Japanese eatery, neatly tucked away in the city's Chinatown. My favourite dish was the Sizzling Prawns, with a generous serving of bean shoots that were refreshingly crunchy and tangy from the rich sauce.

Ika Butter Yaki - delicate squid pieces in a butter sauce

Gyoza - stuffed with pork and vegetables

Gyu Tataki - seared beef, served with a tangy ponzu dressing

Nasu Dengaku - succulent eggplant wedges coated in a salty miso sauce

Prawn Tempura Udon

Sizzling Prawns with Vegetables

191 Upper Heidelberg Road,
Ivanhoe, VIC 3079
(03) 9499 7688
Food: Traditional Japanese
Date visited: 19th April 2009

One of the reasons why we chose to dine at Kanda is that we didn't want to travel far for dinner, and found it in Cheap Eats 2009. It turned out to deliver exactly what was detailed "A dated, unadorned dining room and predictable menu...cosy, familiar and satisfying."

Chicken Crumbed Karaage with Miso Soy Sauce

Gyutan (Grilled Ox Tongue); Gyu Tataki

Assorted Tempura

Stir-fried Vegetables

QV, 200 Lonsdale Street,
Melbourne, VIC 3000
(03) 9654 6242
Food: Traditional Japanese
Date visited: 11th May 2009

Meshiya is a narrow sliver of a restaurant clinging to the edge of QV. As you enter, the staff member closest to the door will without fail sing out "Irashaimase" which translates to "Welcome!" The menu offers classic Japanese dishes with the choice of ordering a "Set," that includes miso soup, sashimi/sushi, salad, rice and Chawanmushi (Steamed Egg Custard Cup) - an egg mixture flavoured with soy sauce, dashi, mirin, shiitake mushrooms, kamaboko and boiled shrimp. The food served is of the usual well-presented, average tasting Japanese variety.

Salt and Pepper Squid

Prawn Tempura Udon Noodle Set - This was the first time that I ate Chawanmushi, the combination of slightly chewy mushrooms in the silky-smooth egg custard was a delight

Mixed Tempura Set

1 comment:

Maria@TheGourmetChallenge said...

oh wow, what a plethora of Japanese food. They all look so good. I know where I'll e coming for advice when I'm craving japanese food!