Shoya nouvelle wafu cuisine (winner of The Age Good Food Guide for 6 Years + 1 Hat!)
25 Market Lane, Melbourne Vic 3000
Phone: (03) 9650 0848
Service: 7.5/10 (maybe i should give a bit more to the cute Japanese waiter serving me! *blushes*)
I am deeply in LOVE with Japanese food to the extent that I can have them every meal everyday (maybe I was a Japanese in my previous life, lol. I wish heh! >.<). As it was my first birthday away from home on 1st February, I did a thorough research on all the Japanese restaurants the month before. Finally, it came to a “show-down” between Kenzan on Collins Street and Shoya on Market Lane. I was mesmerized by Shoya because of its Sashimi being presented in a cute ice globe (every food blogger raved about how fresh the sashimi are and critics from Japan actually flew down under to try too.). Not only that, Shoya provides a rather impressive list of degustation menus (apparently only high-class restaurants do so where their signature dishes are featured) to suit all preferences and diets. Even though the exterior of the restaurants is not fancy, it is actually split into six levels, housing a karaoke lounge, two BBQ areas, a Sushi area and also the traditional (tatami) sitting area.
On the recommendation of the adorable waiter, I tried my very first sake, Hakkaizan Junmai Ginjo, (yea, I know I should have done it ages ago!). It is apparently very famous and popular in Japan. Insatiable, smooth and dry. Excellent and well-balanced flavour. It was not choking or disgusting as what others had described to me. 😀
As yours truly was in for some pampering, I decided to try the SHOYA Festive Degustation Menu @ $100 per pax. It consisted of nine signature dishes. First up, it was Unagi Canape: grilled miso marinated eel canapé topped with crab meat salad; salmon caviar and truffle. It had an unique texture and taste once you popped it in your mouth.
Next on the menu, we have Golden Perch: lightly grilled miso flavoured perch topped with tomato mousse, foie gras and semi dried Mullet Roe. Foie gras was heaven! Nomnom! On the advice of the waiter, I was supposed to consume these two dishes in a ‘gulp’ so as to taste all the flavours that the chef intended to present to the customers.
OMGOMGOMG! drum roll please……. cause the next dish was the long awaited SASHIMI! Seriously, I thought I died and went to Japanese food heaven. The pieces of fish were not only FRESH but also savoury. Look at the presentation of this dish, how much effort and thoughts were put in the design of it all!
Number four was the Beef Spinach Roll: stewed ox tongue wrapped with spinach soufflé served with lemon, basil yogurt. I could not even tell that there was yogurt, the meat was done really well, absolute tenderness and the sweet sauce that was being drizzled on was fabulous. All in all, making the whole dish, SUPERB!
Tempura dishes is a must have in a Japanese restaurant! In this degustation menu, they have included Crab Tempura: whole ‘Taraba’ crab leg deep-fried in tempura style. This is the renowned spider crab. The green tea salt was kinda too overpowering for my liking. I reckon eating it plain with a splash of lemon in tempura style is the way to go, keeping the original seafood flavour!
Following is an innovative way of serving fish. Fish Steak: chef selection of fresh fish fillet, served then laid on a bed of teriyaki sauce and sesame vinegar. The fish surrounded by seaweed was interesting. Even my housemate who does not like to fish, gave it a go! lol. Note to self: find out the recipe for the delicious sauce. =]
Next, I was presented with a bowl of mixed rice and miso soup. Mixed Rice: mixed tasty steam rice with chicken, vegetables and mushrooms. Miso Soup: miso soup with seaweed, tofu and chopped green onions (nothing special though).
The following was my most anticipated dish of the night! Wagyu Beef Steak: Wagyu eye fillet dressed with black truffle, enoki, shiitake miso sauce. I had it done medium-rare, this is the best way to enjoy excellent steak/beef! On top of that, as a beef and steak lover, I really had to give my two thumbs up to the chef who made this dish. The awesome sauce and the “succulent-y” of the meat just tingle your taste buds, leaving you craving for more (I think I can have at least two of them)! As seen in the picture below, even though there was a large piece of chilli, it was not spicy at all. >.<
Last of the degustation menu was Chef’s Dessert: Chef’s selection of home made dessert specially arranged for me! I was given the famous sea urchin cheesecake (special mix of ingredients i must say!) and Kurogoma Panacotta which tasted like mochi! nomnomnom! The cheesecake was not sweet at all and it was so soft and spongey! Love it! (The dish was presented so nicely.)
Housemate and J ordered Tempura Udon and Hokkaido Crab Udon respectively. According to them, the soup was great and the tempura was done nicely.
PS: Thank you very much to everyone for making my day special and memorable! *huggies and kisses*