Three of a kind: Japanese eats

We have been fans of Japanese cuisine even before we even set foot on the Land of the Rising Sun. Since coming back from our holiday there, we have a better appreciation of Japanese food and have been trying some of the fast food shops and restaurants serving Japanese food around Melbourne.

First off is Ajisen Ramen (130 Bourke Street, Melbourne). A well-known Japanese franchise serving up ramen and other donburi dishes, the pork broth they use for the ramen is tasty and would warm you up on any cold day. I had high hopes for their ramen but the noodles itself was nothing out of the ordinary. They serve ramen with some seaweed, hard boiled egg and vegetables with whatever meat you choose. I recommend the Paiku Ramen. If you like lots of garlic with your ramen, a lavish sprinkling from the bottle of red garlic powder at your table should do the trick.

Other than ramen, we have also tried the Omu-raisu (Omelette Rice), which was massive. The rice stuffing turned out to be fried rice, it was okay but not spectacular. Hubby’s favourite is their Sizzling Chicken, which is buttery chicken served on a sizzling plate with some vegetables in soy sauce and rice. Prices are reasonable ($10-12 for mains) and the service fast, if not hurried. The decor is sparse and I think they could benefit from adding more lighting inside. But hey, if you want some comfort food on a rainy day, the decor certainly shouldn’t stop you.
Garlic PowderPaiku RamenSizzling ChickenOmu Rice

Another great place tucked along the Causeway lane is Sushi Monger (Shop 17, 309 Bourke Street, Melbourne, (03) 9663 0899). Serving mostly bento boxes and sushi, the place has always been crowded everytime we wanted to try it. We went in for some early lunch one day and were lucky to get some seats. Staffed by a Japanese family, the service was quick and polite. Prices were very affordable too, with rice dishes ranging from $7.50-$9.80 and bento boxes at $8.80-$9.80.

I had the Ebi Fry Bento with a choice of two sushi while hubby had the Sukiyaki Bento with rice. Both were quite good and we finished off everything, including the seaweed salad and fish cakes! If you’re very hungry and feel like a spot of Japanese curry, they do a very good katsu curry. Arrive early if you plan to have lunch here as they only have limited seating in their small space.
Sushi Monger menuEbi Fry bentoSukiyaki bentoSushi monger shop front

Last but certainly not the least is Horoki (19 Liverpool Street, Melbourne, (03) 9663 2227). Although I wouldn’t classify this restaurant as strictly Japanese since they also feature Western inspired dishes, it’s Japanese fusion at its best. Their limited lunch menu offers the diner a lunch platter consisting of 3 dishes of your choice to be served with either bread or rice. We love their Hamburg steak with mashed potatoes as well as their lightly crumbed chicken schnitzel (katsu).

Although each serving look like it’s small, it’s well presented and would fill you up quite nicely. Dishes are made-to-order so they are served to you fresh and warm, although it may mean several minutes of waiting. It’s well worth the wait though and the service is quick. The interiors are modern and relaxing, with the big, disc-shaped ceiling lights illuminating the cosy space. You would have to book a table or just sit at the bar if you’d like to just walk in and have lunch. The lunch platter would set you back $12.90, a bit pricier than what we’d normally spend for lunch but hits just the right spot when we feel like treating ourselves to very good food.
Horoki shop frontHoroki menuCroquette, Fritto and Hamburg steak setSukiyaki, Hamburg steak and teriyaki chicken set

Published in: on May 29, 2007 at 12:08 pm  Comments (7)