Japanese

Heirloom – one foam too far

Heirloom – one foam too far

Heirloom looks great but the food needs to be simpler. The best French chefs are Japanese nowadays, they say. But they aren’t French they are Japanese. They are just cooking French-style with the addition of Japanese ingredients. Meanwhile, the best French chefs are now open in Japan. They rock. Or at least Michel Bras does, the man who is one of the inspirations for local, sustainable super-natural cuisine several decades before Noma had even been dreamt of. And now this […]

Izakaya Den is “quite nice really”. Or is it?

Izakaya Den is “quite nice really”. Or is it?

What do you say to a celebrity when you meet them? It’s a question raised by the Freakanomics guys and what that I often face. When Rachael Griffiths pats my gimpy dog, or my grumpy dog tries to savage one of Guy Pearce’s Basenji, I just make polite conversation and try and treat them normally (although if I see Hughsy jogging down my street I’ll shout “maaaaaaate”). But more to the point what should a celebrity say to you should […]

Q&A: Will Tempura Hajime be fabulous for the price?

Q&A: Will Tempura Hajime be fabulous for the price?

Q I booked Tempura Hajime for dinner in April. My husband and I enjoy Japanese. However, we went to Yu-u a few weeks ago and were completely and utterly underwhelmed. I think I read somewhere on your site about it having the same owners or something ? Nice dining setting but very uninspiring food. I know John Leathlean liked Tempura Hajime. So I thought that was good enough as we always seem to agree with his recs. But we are […]

The Espy’s Ichi Ni rocks St Kilda

The Espy’s Ichi Ni rocks St Kilda

I instantly like it: Ichi Ni (03 9534 1212), the Izakaya, a Japanese style tavern/pub with food, which opened last night  next to The Espy by the owners of The Espy Vince Sofo and Paul Adamo. It rocks. Yes, there were some blips in service on the first night. But we weren’t even aware that our dishes were taking longer than expected. We were having a great time. It’s a balmy late summer night. We are sitting on the large terrace […]

Shimbashi: finding gold on the coast

Shimbashi: finding gold on the coast

The best and best value food in Surfers Paradise has long been the tiny Korean and Japanese joints hidden in its low-rent 1970s shopping malls. But it is also worth escaping the main tourist drags for Chevron Island where soba Master Yoshinory Shibazaki & his wife Keiko are bringing Japanese food on the Gold Coast to a new level. The restaurant Shimbashi Soba on Chevron is a local manifestation of the well-known and reviewed (even by those who really know […]

Saki tasting at Misuzi’s

Saki tasting at Misuzi’s

Saki tasting at Misuzu’s Okay I know what some of yu are going to say – he’s got balls to go saki tasting. Wrong. I have octopus balls – on my plate to be precise and they are very nice thank you (if not a bit chewy in the middle). Misuzu’s (3-7 Victoria Avenue, Albert Park +61 3 9699 9022) is packed and we are lucky to find a seat at the bar which has possibly one of the largest […]

Tempura Hajime: We can only now live vicariously

For now we can only live through the Tempura Hajime experience through other people’s meals and blogs. Matthew at Esoteric Rabbit managed to get in before The Age review and had a good chat to the frinedly and very modest owners: “They apparently pleaded with the paper not to publish the review, which was of course published anyway, and if the three hundred phone calls they received in three days are anything to go by, it’s if someone had taken […]

Enjoying the Japanese aesthetic at Tempura Hajime

Enjoying the Japanese aesthetic at Tempura Hajime

Sashimi and eel in the foreground. There is sometime that draws me back time and time again to the stripped back aesthetic of a good Japanese restaurant. It is the antidote to the worst of what try-hard restaurants offer. I’m talking about the over elaborate try-hard food that has become the vogue in some of Melbourne’s top restaurants. I won’t mention any names, but there are plenty out there pulling together too many inappropriately matched ingredients in the name of […]