Japanese

Darac Grill & Bar

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Seafood Sausage Stew

This hearty stew compromised of a great selection of ingredients and was cooked right in front of us which was nice.

★★★☆☆

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Ramen

I give this ramen one star because it costed $3. Ridiculous.

★☆☆☆☆

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Gyoza

These prawn dumplings had an extremely soft filling and were not as crispy as I would have liked.

★★☆☆☆

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Cheese Fire Chicken

Spicy Korean stir fried chicken with melted mozzarella cheese. Yum!

★★★☆☆

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Seafood Spring Onion Pancake

Bland and underwhelming.

★★☆☆☆

Overall:

Good service, wide menu selection, relaxed atmosphere, sticky floors. I think my expectations were a bit too high so I was a little disappointed that nothing in particular stood out.

Darac Grill & Bar

51 A’Beckett St, Melbourne, VIC

(03) 9662 2441

Darac Grill & Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Gyoza Gyoza

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Salmon Tataki

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Tuna Tataki

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Soba Noodle Soup

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Yaki Hotate

(baked Japanese scollops with creamy miso sauce)

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Lobster Mini Burgers

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Panfried Miso Eggplant and Duck Gyoza

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Kinoko Hoiru-yaki

(foil baked mix mushrooms with ponzu butter sauce)

Overall:

What makes Gyoza Gyoza such an appealing place is that all their dishes are $6.50. With more than 80 Japanese tapas style dishes to choose from, we spent a fair amount of time deliberating over the menu. We had high expectations with the gyoza (due to the restaurant name) but they turned out to be rather ordinary and also smaller than expected. In fact most of the dishes we sampled turned out to be quite ordinary, with the only stand out dish being the baked scallops. Service was average and the small tables meant that it became a tetris challenge trying to fit all our dishes onto the table. Gyoza Gyoza may not offer the best Japanese food, but they do offer a wide variety for a decent price.

Gyoza Gyoza

115-117 Little Bourke St, Melbourne, CBD

(03) 9663 0801

http://www.gyozagyoza.com.au/

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Hinoki Japanese Pantry

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I finally tried the sushi bar at Hinoki Japanese Pantry the other day after buying groceries from here in the past.

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Hotate (scallop) and Salmon Aburi

★★★☆☆

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Nosé Maki and Hoso Maki

★★★★☆

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Small Sashimi

★★★★☆

Overall:

Our order took a little while to prepare but when it was finally ready, everything tasted fresh and was of fantastic quality. The grocery store section at Hinoki Japanese Pantry is impressive with a wide range of products ranging from Japanese curries and ramen to sake and green tea Kit Kats. This simple orderly store is a good place to head to for your Japanese grocery needs, as well as for delicious sushi and sashimi. Note that limited seating is available so getting takeaway may be necessary during busy periods.

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Hinoki Japanese Pantry

279 Smith St, Fitzroy, VIC

(03) 9417 4531

http://hinoki.com.au/

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Misuzu’s

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Crispy Chicken Maki

★★★☆☆

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Roasted Dengaku Eggplant and Tofu with Sweet Miso

Enjoyable but super salty and had to be eaten with rice.

★★★☆☆

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 BBQ Salmon Belly Nigiri

 ★★★☆☆

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Spicy Miso Beef

(stir fried scotch fillet and vegetables with a chilli and red miso sauce)

★★★☆☆

Overall:

The food was good, but not good enough to justify the prices. Service was ordinary and the red lighting that bathed the dining area reminded me of being in a darkroom.

Misuzu’s

3-7 Victoria Avenue, Albert Park, VIC

(03) 9699 9022

http://www.misuzus.com.au/

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Izakaya Jiro

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Grilled Lobster Tail

Sweet tender lobster that was marvellously seasoned.

= ★★★★

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Kushiyaki Combo: Yakitori (chicken thigh skewer), Gyu Kushi (beef fillet skewer), Tsukune (chicken ball skewer), Ebi (prawn skewer), Zucchini skewer

The meat skewers were smoky and well marinated, while the zucchini skewer was so-so.

= ★★★

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Sashimi Moriawase

Fresh and tasty.

= ★★★

Overall:

Delightful Japanese cuisine however portions were disappointingly small. This place made it onto Melbourne’s Best Cheap Eats 2015 list and while the food was relatively cheap, you sure don’t get much of it (eg. $4.50 for an Ebi prawn skewer). Just a heads-up.

Izakaya Jiro

830 Glenferrie Rd, Hawthorn

9818 7163

http://izakayajiro.com.au

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Kenji

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Sushi Bento Box

California deluxe rolls, nigiri sushi, gyoza, chicken karaage, croquette, crumbed fried prawn, calamari ring, edamame, salad

★★☆☆☆

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Prawn, scallop and seared salmon nigiri

★★☆☆☆

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House Special roll

Tuna, yellow-tail, prawn and cucumber, wrapped in salmon

★★☆☆☆

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Green Tea Thickshake

Tasted like vanilla ice cream with occasional lumps of matcha powder.

★★☆☆☆

Overall:

Warm and inviting atmosphere, lovely service, extensive menu, typical Japanese fare. Note that this place is closed on Sundays and Mondays.

Kenji

Burwood Arcade Shop 10, 1405 Toorak Rd, Camberwell, VIC

(03) 9889 1084

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Ikkoryu Fukuoka Ramen

Ramen

There’s a new ramen place in town Melbourne! Ikkoryu Fukuoka Ramen is a well known ramen chain based in the Philippines and this particular restaurant is in fact the first that has been opened in Australia. I recently had the opportunity to attend their soft opening event and was quite impressed with the decor (particularly with the wall paintings and Japanese calligraphy).

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I’m not the biggest fan of sake…

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But once it’s mixed with juice, it becomes refreshing and tasty!

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Yakimeshi (Japanese Fried Rice)

Simple and light.

★★☆☆☆

Gyoza

These were really good: crispy on one side, soft on the other side, with a delicious filling.

★★★☆☆

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Spicy Tobanjan Tonkotsu

Ramen with mildly spicy Tobanjan paste, pork, green onion, egg, black fungus, bean sprouts and dried seaweed.

★★☆☆☆

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Ikkoryu Original Tonkotsu

Hearty Tonkotsu ramen with pork, green onion, egg, black fungus, bean sprouts and dried seaweed.

★★★☆☆

Overall:

I have always liked places where you can customise your own ramen. Now although the ramen here was good, it certainly wasn’t the best that I’ve had in Melbourne. The broth could have been creamier and portions could have been somewhat larger (considering the prices of these bowls). Nevertheless I think Ikkoryu Fukuoka Ramen has the potential to become a great izakaya with its delightful space and snack varieties on offer.

Ikkoryu Fukuoka Ramen

Basement, 27 Russell St, Melbourne

(03) 9659 3708

http://www.ikkoryu.com.au/

Ikkoryu Fukuoka Ramen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

*Disclaimer: I dined as a guest of Ikkoryu Fukuoka Ramen.