Nishikian

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Nishikian is situated in a previously operated petrol station and now it has been converted into a spacious Japanese restaurant. Located in Forest Hill on Springvale Rd, it’s serves authentic Japanese food for Lunch and Dinner. Their menu has a small selection of rice and noodle dishes, but their main attraction for dinner is their tapas menu including fish, sushi and tempura.

There’s a lot to like about Nishikian, their Shoyu Ramen which is a Soy Sauce soup base, is very clean tasting and yet packed of flavour. The Japanese style eggs is a rare occurrence, but here you receive the oozy yolk inside with the hard boiled white. It’s one of life’s greatest food treats, slightly running yolk and hard boiled and pretty much served at any ramen shop in Japan.

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Nishikian’s Chicken Teriyaki Don isn’t how I usually find it, here it’s served crispy with a teriyaki marinade and Miso soup. Interesting choice, but I do prefer the grilled style Teriyaki.

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If you’re undecided, during lunch hours you can select the Nishiki Lunch Box, where you can choose from a selection of menu items and served with rice. It’s a great way to try a bit of a few different things. Their Potato Croquette is quite tasty, moist inside and nice and crispy. The Takoyaki wasn’t slightly crispy outside as that’s how I like it, but I found a couple of places in Tokyo that served it slightly soft. The beef I found actually was on the dry side, it needed a lot more sauce, and less cooking time as the beef cuts were very thin.

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The Beef Udon has a very subtle flavour but again, clean tasting and fresh. Two for two with their noodle dishes.

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Nishikian’s Mochi Potato Croquette is similar to the normal Potato Croquette and it’s everything you’d want in a croquette. Delicious, smooth potato inside and a beautiful crunchy coating.

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The Ebi Mayo Nigiri is another great dish, fresh and you can never have too much of Togarashi powder on the side.

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Lastly, the Tonkotsu Ramen (Pork Bone Broth) is very reminiscent of my travels in Japan. It has the taste of being rich of cream but yet there is none in a Tonkotsu. Delicious.

Impressions

While there are a couple of authentic Japanese places around these parts of town, Nishikian comes up top in terms of flavour and value. Their noodle dishes have all been winners in my book and I’d go straight back to those on my next visit.

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Nishikian
425 Springvale Road
Forest Hill & Vermont VIC
T: 03 9877 4999

Irodori House

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Irodori House on Station Street, Box Hill serves Japanese style cuisine with an a la carte menu as well as set lunch boxes. The food here is surprisingly decent hidden in an area with a wealth of Chinese eateries.  What I like about Irodori House is the flavours of their dishes.

Their Beef Sukiyaki has tender beef with a pleasant tasting light ginger taste. I’m not a big fan of ginger (although I love gingerbread) but here all the ingredients make for a pretty tasty dish.

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Japanese Egg Custard’s are some of the good things in life. A savoury custard that is so silky smooth, with just enough saltiness to bring out the egg flavour and served warm.

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Their tapas menu has an array of choices, Irodori’s Crumbed Fish with the mayonnaise had a good balance of crispiness and still moist on the inside. It goes really well with the mayonnaise served with it as it need a dipping sauce of sorts to complement the slight dryness of a fried fish.

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The Oyako Don comes with salad, miso soup and two sides. The Oyako Don wasn’t particularly memorable but the chicken was tender but lacking in a bit of flavour.

Impressions

Overall, I found Irodori House to excel in most of their dishes and it’s the reason why I would return. It may not be the most authentic Japanese restaurant or the most amazing dishes but it still provides a tasty meal and that’s all I would want.

Irodori House on Urbanspoon

Waya

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Waya on Kingsway, Glen Waverley is a Japanese restaurant with an interesting assortment of dishes from Sashimi, Sushi rolls, as well as Donburi (rice ), Ramen and Bento boxes as well as plentiful Japanese-tapas dishes. What also interested me was that they also offered hot pot, which you don’t often find in many Japanese restaurants. A few years back it was difficult to find any Japanese restaurants on Kingsway but now there is Monga Izakaya, Ajisen Ramen, Shira Nui and Yokohama Teppanyaki that all have their own appeal.

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Waya’s Waka Maki aka rice with Salmon, Cucumber and Avocado topped with Tobiko and Spicy Sauce is probably one of my favourite ones I’ve tried to date. Although, funnily enough, no resturant’s version of their spicy sushi rolls have topped the sushi stall inside Box Hill Woolworths (Spicy Tuna rolls).

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As mentioned before, the choice for hot pot is something I’m not quite use to but would love to see at more venues. We ordered the Kimchi Hot Pot served with Kimchi with Sliced Pork, Vegetables, Mushroom, Fish Cake and Tofu. It can actually be served for two to three people depending on if you’re sharing dishes. The hot pot has a lovely kimchi flavour with enough spiciness to go around.

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Their Crumbed Crab Claws are fantastic just fresh from the kitchen, with the crispy exterior and flavoured and moist crab claws.

Impressions
I generally found the dishes at Waya to be quite good. Nothing amazing, or spectacular but for a decent Japanese meal at a decent price it’s a good option and I find it to be more satisfying than Ajisen Ramen (located minutes away)

Waya – Official Website

Waya Japanese Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Ki – Toronto Series

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Ending my Toronto series with Ki Modern Japanese and Bar located on Brookfield Place Bay Street, in the Toronto CBD. Ki meshes the Western culture with Japanese cuisine in which you end up with dishes such as burgers but with a slight twist or sushi with spicy tomato salsa or mango.

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For those looking for a more traditional Japanese meal, at Ki they do offer a variety of freshly made nigiri, sashimi and maki sushi rolls. As a modern Japanese restaurant, they also serve slightly different sushi rolls, some with bacon or sweet potato which make for interesting combinations and especially on your palette.

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Impressions

Overall, the food quality here is fantastic. The sushi, tempura sushi and even the burgers are all delicious. However, I found the dishes leaning more towards Western style to have very minimal Japanese influences as such it would appear like eating it in any other upmarket cafe or the like.

Ki do Japanese well, although it comes at a price because the dishes here aren’t exactly cheap.

Ki Modern Japanese and Bar on Urbanspoon

Ki
181 Bay St
Toronto ON M5J2S1

Guu Sakabar – Toronto Series

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 Guu Sakabar definitely has an interesting atmosphere and if you haven’t dined at one of Guu’s locations in Vancouver or in Toronto, you may be surprised as you walk in. For all guests that arrive, you are warmly greeted with cheers from the employees as well as when you exit. So it can get quite noisy on a busy night but that’s all part of the charm.

Guu offers a Japanese-tapas style menu some options having a bit of Korean influences. What I like about tapas menus is that it’s great for sharing and trying a bit of everything from the menu.

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The Okonomiyaki here is deep fried with squid tonkatsu sauce and karashi mayonnaise. I haven’t tried a deep fried Japanese pancake before as I only have found the pan fried variation in Melbourne (Australia) before, however the pancake certainly left an impression on me.

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Probably my favourite dish was Guu’s Kinoko Bibimbap in a stone pot.With mushrooms, cheese and a seaweed sauce, the combination of flavours worked a treat together. Packed full of flavour, can’t go wrong with it and even for me who would prefer not to have mushrooms in anything!

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You can’t leave Guu without trying their drinks, however being a non-local and wanting to do a tapas drinks, we ordered the Sake Sampler that came with 6 different types of sake. As a non-expert in Sake, I can’t really offer my opinions on them but the cloudy ones were more memorable than the rest for sure.

Guu also offer Japanese Vodka, Beers, Wines and Cocktails and your non-alcoholic beverages as well.

Impressions

Guu is definitely for those seeking a good night out with friends and/or family and the atmosphere at Guu allows for that. Food-wise, most of what we tried was great, but on the smaller side of things.  Though, I certainly hope a restaurant like this pops up in Melbourne to enjoy.

Guu Sakabar on Urbanspoon

Guu – Sakabar

559 Bloor St W
Toronto ON M5S1Y6

Sushi House Goyemon – Las Vegas Series

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Sushi House Goyemon was and is probably one of my favourite Japanese Sushi places that I’ve been to in a long time but having said that, I’m not a local of Las Vegas and I am comparing my experiences with those restaurants I’ve been to in Melbourne, Australia. One of the fantastic things about this place is their All You Can Eat (Order) Lunch and Dinner offers, in which for a set time you can basically order anything off their menu, ranging from the various Sushi rolls such as Nigiri, tempura, deep fried, baked and of course the standard rolls and side dishes and desserts too. Those with a preference for rice, noodle or curry dishes can quash their worries as this is also on offer.

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They have a wide range of Nigiri sushi using various types of fish such as tuna, yellow tail, red snapper and mackerel but also prawn and scallop nigiri sushi as well. Fresh fish with rice and a bit of soy sauce is sometimes all you really need.

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They also serve a large assortment of sushi with different fillings or toppings, you would definitely struggle to try them all in one sitting!

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Other than sushi, they have a couple of entree like items such as their green baked mussels, prawn tempura, takoyaki and fried gyoza.

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If it’s your first time here, a group scene might be best if you’re dying to try a bit of everything on the menu.

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One you order the desserts I believe you won’t be able to order any of the other menu items again. Their ice cream range of course has green tea, but also this fried ice cream which I’ve never tried before. Well, to be honest, I don’t see a need to try that one again but for those wanting something crispy to go with their ice cream, be my guest.
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Their ice cream mochi’s are quite nice too, the dough is still soft but the inside is nice and cold. Lovely on a warmer day.

Impressions

I was very impressed with Sushi House Goyemon, their menu range is fantastic and yet most of their dishes come out on top. Overall for a decent price too for sushi, it’s great value for money.

Sushi House Goyemon on Urbanspoon

Sushi House Goyemon
5255 S. Decatur Blvd
Las Vegas NV 89118

 

Monga Izakaya

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Monga Izakaya (Monga Sweet Lounge) in Glen Waverley serves primarily light meals or snacks. They offer a selection of grilled/skewers, sushi, deep fried options, raw and cooked seafood, noodles and rice dishes as well as Shabu Shabu (Hot Pot) and Bento boxes (Lunch only), and a Sake and Dessert menu to boot.

One thing of note here is their servings are probably disproportionate to their pricing as you might find elsewhere on Kingsway, similar to tapas I would think. Although their Bento boxes/Lunch menus items do look more value for money.

I ordered the Ochazuke with salmon, which is something I haven’t actually come across in many Japanese restaurants before. Ochazuke is basically a rice dish in which green tea, dashi and hot water is poured onto the cooked rice and mixed with several other ingredients. It’s almost like the Cambodian Porridge which is also cooked rice with a seasoned stock added to it. Monga’s Ochazuke comes out steaming hot, and I found it quite pleasant although a tad salty but at least it was seasoned well.

DSC00861We also ordered their Assorted Skewers, which is their chicken, beef, mushroom, calamari grilled skewers. All marinated generously and quite tasty!

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My friend ordered the Bukkake Mentaiko Udon (Chili cod roe butter with sauce) and his opinion of it wasn’t too high. It was on the bland side of things and for the price, ridiculously small.

Impressions
Even though, we didn’t get a chance to try their dessert menu, their Dinner menu isn’t too shabby. Price conscious folks may stay clear of Monga Izakaya but for those wanting some light meals with drinks on the side too, and dessert to top of the meal I think this is a good place to start.

Monga Izakaya on Urbanspoon

Monga Izakaya
91 Kingsway
Glen Waverley VIC 3150

Japan Komo

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Japan Komo was recommended to me by my colleague and having never really stopped by at Mitcham, even though living quite close by, I thought it was a good incentive to take a look around there. Japan Komo is quite a small restaurant on Whitehorse Road, and seemingly ever so popular.

One thing I love is a good Spicy Tuna Roll, and funnily enough there is a little Japanese Sushi store inside Woolworths Box Hill that makes a pretty darn tasty Spicy Tuna Roll. Japan Komo’s Tuna Roll isn’t as great as I expected, they use the standard store bought Asian chilli sauce as their chilli “spice” instead of their own version version like the Woolies has (Spicy Japanese Mayo). Flavour-wise the tuna tastes fresh, but again the chilli sauce is the let down.

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Their Sukiyaki Beef Bento comes with a generous serving of beef, rice, small sushi and croquettes with a side of salad and miso soup. The beef is cooked well, and the seasoning is balanced.

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The Teriyaki Salmon Bento is interesting in it’s serving of sliced salmon but flavour-wise it’s nothing too special. The croquettes are nice and crunchy though.

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I’ve mentioned the fantastic Japanese curry at Momotaro Rahmen in Richmond, and this Japanese Beef Curry is quite different to the one at Momotaro. The curry here is quite watery, and I haven’t often come across a Japanese curry that isn’t even a bit thick. Flavour is there, but I found it a slightly strange and the beef a tad tough.

Impressions

Japan Komo is run by Japanese (or at least cooked by Japanese) but unfortunately I found my dining experience here a disappointment. Although the food here isn’t bad by any means, there are Japanese restaurants around these parts of town that I’d prefer to go to instead (Irodori House in Box Hill or even the slightly pricey Miku in Doncaster). Maybe their other sushi rolls and sashimi are fantastic, as the reviews here are definitely overwhelmingly positive.

Japan Komo on Urbanspoon

Japan Komo
497 Whitehorse Road
Mitcham VIC 3132

Momotaro Rahmen

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Momotaro Rahmen on Bridge Road, Richmond is probably one of my favourite Japanese ramen and curry rice places in Victoria. With their generous portions and delicious offerings, I have never been let down by Momotaro after nearly three years of dining there. Some might say that the generous servings are because the prices are higher, and while that is true as their prices are usually $12+, I’m frequently completely full (and then some) by the end of it. It’s not just great tasting Japanese food but also fresh, and a bit health conscious as well as they serve brown rice with their rice dishes.

The Ramen pictured above is their Negi Miso Ramen, which contains leak and pork with hot chilli, and served in a soy bean soup broth. This Ramen is probably one of their more spicier menu items but if you preferred another Ramen such as their Tonkatsu Ramen you can always add chilli flakes (I always do). The Negi Miso Ramen is incredibly tasty, and the soy bean broth adds a subtle flavour to the soup. A winner

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While their Ramens’ are top notch, I do frequently order their Beef Curry Rice with Potato Croquette. It’s served with a salad dressed with sesame oil and a few other ingredients. I love a good Japanese Curry and this one hits the spot, the beef is nice and tender (not tough at all), and the potato croquette freshly served is crispy on the outside, yet fluffy inside. Flavour-wise, the curry is one of the best Japanese curries I’ve tried.

Impressions
Momotaro Rahmen is frequented by many and you can tell why. Tasty dishes at a good price will keep customers coming back for more. I’d definitely recommend Momotaro Rahmen for those looking for delicious Japanese cuisine.

Momotaro Rahmen on Urbanspoon

Momotaro Rahmen
392 Bridge Rd
Richmond VIC 3121

Don-Udon

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Don-Udon recently opened in Box Hill and joins the other Korean restaurants now established in Box Hill along. I’m guessing there is a sizeable Korean community here as there are also many grocery stores around too. Unlike the Box Hill Korean BBQ, Don-Udon doesn’t offer BBQ but they have plans to do hot pot in the winter months.

Currently they offer a great selection of Korean and even a few Japanese dishes ranging from Udon noodle soup, Stir Fried Udon dishes, Ramen, Korean and Japanese rice dishes and even a few sizzling and clay pot dishes for something a bit different.

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We ordered the Bibim Bap in Stone Pot that is served scolding hot. It comes with beef, vegetables and fried egg with Korean chilli paste on rice. The stone pot retains heat remarkably well so if you’re ordering, it’s best to not touch the bowl. I love clay pot/stone pot dishes as the rice cooks and turns into this crunchy delight. All the ingredients here are fresh and especially tasty with the slightly sweet beef. A really nice, light dish.

IMG_0479Don-Udon also offers soups in clay pot. I think Korean soups with rice are one of my favourite type of dishes. I could really have warm, spicy soup with rice all day, everyday. The soup here is a Seafood Silken Tofu Soup (Spicy) with mixed seafood, vegetables and of course silken tofu. I loved the flavour of this soup, it’s spicy enough if you consume all of the soup and it’s basically like this gradual hotness that lingers throughout the meal. Very satisfying. The seafood here are basically a couple of small (very) prawns but the tofu is the main protein here. Although the soup is a tad oily, I loved the soup all the same.

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The Donkatsu Udon is your typical Japanese dish with crispy deep fried pork, with a clear stock soup. Subtle flavours from the soup and maybe a bit of Togarashi just adds a bit of spice to give it a bit more seasoning. A pleasant dish that even betters Ajisen Ramen in Box Hill.

Impressions

Don-Udon is my go-to Korean eatery in Box Hill. Flavours hit the mark, friendly staff and all for a decent (the standard) price. It’s just a bit of a shame that this restaurant isn’t more frequented by customers. It’s slightly out of the way, a few minutes walk from the main shopping hub in Box Hill but close by to the tram stop and the many Computer Gaming places. I’d say it’s definitely worth the small effort to visit.

Don-Udon on Urbanspoon

Don-Udon

951 Whitehorse Road
Box Hill VIC 3128

Opens for Lunch and Dinner