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On the 20th day of the 4th month, something amazing happened: I managed to pass my first year Ph.D confirmation, effectively signing over my life as a lab monkey for the next few years or so. To celebrate (or drown my sorrows if I had failed), thehouseofem, pamoola and I decided to try our luck with finding a dinner venue with some decent food, minus a booking on a Friday night. Just as we were about to throw in the towel, we stumbled across Shou Sumiyaki and were promised a table within 20 minutes.
Seated at the bar area and after witnessing the concoction of one too many aesthetically-pleasing cocktails during our wait, a cocktail was the way to go. The bar served as both an area to kill time whilst waiting for a table as well as a dining spot.
Here come the pretty looking cocktails:
KCR cocktail - melon, lychee, cranberry and vodka.
My eyes were happy to take in the gorgeous colours and the visually-pleasing presentation while my mind contemplated whether the drink would end up tasting horrible or delightful. Thankfully it was the latter: the flavours were very tropical, with virtually no alcoholic taste. The frothy green part exuded much melon flavour with a pleasant and complementary sour kick.
No more than 5 minutes after our drink order was placed, we were shown to our seats in an area towards the back of the restaurant. Not visible from the front of the restaurant, Shou Sumiyaki also features a more traditional Japanese dining area: low tables with cushioned seatings in a wooden surrounding. And lastly, shoes off before entering and sitting down.
Jumbo oysters (from Tasmania).
Jumbo? Tick. Fresh? Another tick. Although not something I’ve tasted with oysters before, the taste was familiar. Lemony with a subtle hint of Asian soy flavour.
Wagyu beef tataki salad - seared raw wagyu beef, mixed green leaf salad, with Japanese salad dressing.
Although I’ve never been keen on beef tataki in the past, I may have to jump on the bandwagon after this experience. Nothing like the cold and raw texture I imagined, the slices of beef tataki were delicately tender and blended in perfectly with the salad. The sesame and slight teriyaki- based flavouring was probably what sealed the deal in my conversion to beef tataki fandom.
Crab meat spring roll wrap - handpicked Hokkaido snow crab & tiger prawn paste, with water chestnuts, lettuce wrap and spicy mayo.
Another great tasting starter dish although no different to the usual asian spring rolls, save for the crab meat filling. The occasional run in with the “larger pieces” of crab meat that have survived the paste process exudes great bursts of crab flavour.
Kani korokke - deep fried crab cream croquette.
The words crispy, deep fried and creamy instantly comes to mind when I try and think of a description to write for this dish. These words are promptly followed up with an ‘oh so bad yet so good’. The exterior was a very crisp and crumbed texture, to the extent that each crumb in the batter could be detected. Contrastingly and complementary to the crispiness, the filling was creamy to the point that it seemed to melt.
Three ladies. One barbecue.
Chicken thigh fillet - chicken thigh fillet without skin, marinated in sauce.
Pork belly - sliced pork belly, marinated with salt.
The cooking process.
"Who needs men to barbecue?" We survived the cooking process, all the meats were tasty and no one ended up with food poisoning. The pork belly, wagyu and chicken all tasted very similar (that typical grilled taste) and aside from appearance, could also be distinguished due to varying textures and after tastes. The sauces provided were super tasty and the salt in particular worked really well with the pork belly.
Thehouseofem: “Yep and there’s heart disease.”
After writing this post and realising that we piled on salt on top of pork belly that was already marinated with salt, I’m no longer brushing off thehouseofem’s words as a joke.
For something that was so unplanned and last minute, Shou Sumiyaki provided an immensely enjoyable and memorable dining experience. Our palates were continually wowed dish after dish. Truly a perfect end to what was a trying and stressful week. Or rather, weeks.
160 Little Bourke St,
Melbourne, Victoria, 3000.
(03) 9654 3933