I’ve been travelling to Melbourne for work a bit recently and have quite been enjoying dinner and drinks out while there. I really enjoy some of the cocktail bars there – recent ones including Polly, The Long Room and the Golden Monkey. The first two of those are the best cocktail bars I’ve ever been to.
On Monday night, though, I ate at Shoya Japanese Restaurant in the Chinatown part of the Melbourne CBD and it was pretty much the best Japanese meal I’ve ever had. Because I was on my own I sat at the sushi bar, so I could see the executive chef (and owner) working away in front of me on sushi and sashimi, which was pretty cool. As is my wont in places like that, I just set a budget and asked him to feed me whatever he wanted to cook.
I received all the dishes on their banquet menu for that night – and I really should scan it in and include it here – it was amazing! The gold came on top of the sashimi – it wasn’t a large platter, about three pieces each of tuna, salmon and (I think) swordfish. On top of the tuna was a piece of sea urchin (again, I think) and on top of that the chef placed a couple of small flakes of gold. I can’t see how it works, but it did seem to add to the taste, And the meal overall was fantastic, and included some fairly unusual ingredients, considering that it was done in a traditional style. I had broiled duck, thinly sliced and cooked in miso sauce, an appetiser which involved scrambled egg served in sea urchin and topped with salmon caviar, grilled wagyu beef rib served on a large piece of grated white radish, and the meal finished up with black sesame panacotta. Basically, the whole meal was utterly delicious, and I also enjoyed chatting with the chef (it was a fairly quiet night). The staff were all very friendly and the manager and assistant manager also came and spoke with me as well. I had asked for a copy of the banquet menu to take home and show Tegan, and the manager said that if I brought Tegan back, if there was anything we particularly liked that wasn’t on the menu to ask the chef and he could do it. Amazing. Needless to say, I’ll definitely go back with Tegan, hopefully before too long.
The other interesting thing about Shoya, and one of the things that convinced me to walk in, was that their menu mentions that Chairman Kaga of Iron Chef fame was spotted there one night and he obviously enjoyed it so much that he ate there four nights in a row, sitting in different parts of the restaurant – and he then sent a note and a painting on rice paper from Japan, noting how excellent the restaurant was, rivalling any in Tokyo. Apart from that being a ringing endorsement, I apparently sat in the same seat at the sushi bar that the Chairman had sat in, which is very, very cool.