Posts Tagged ‘japanese’

Tomoshibi Japanese Restaurant, Middle Park

As our neighbour described it, Tomoshibi doesn’t look like much, but it is most definitely worth a look. The first thing you notice after negotiating your way to the front door, down the alleyway is that you seem to be in the entrance to someone’s house. The cash register is tucked under the stairs, the reservations book is behind the door and hanging from the walls in place of family photos are alcohol licenses, newspaper clippings and sashimi calendars. The sounds emanating from the stairs are either those of a party or a family’s everyday life, the kids running around give it away. This certainly isn’t the feel of a normal Melbourne restaurant, but this complete lack of pretentiousness coupled with polite japanese service is a breath of fresh air.

The dining room decor is dated, solid chairs and tables, almost too dark lighting, punctuated with elegant flowers and chopstick holders but the loud drunk girl was wrong when she crassly suggested that they “just get some new fucking chairs.” This setting is the background of a restaurant that is about much more than worrying about designer furniture and achieving what they want perfectly. Perhaps this fitout won’t endear itself to the materialistic yuppies among us, but what is served will leave an impression on the food lover.

The menu consists of a number of sections, starters, sashimi starters, sashimi mains and regular mains. The gyoza from the starters menu was  a brilliant start, steamed to perfection the lightly fried classic japanese dumplings were full of flavour, with a great texture. These are the sort of dumplings you could eat all day. The mixed sashimi starter, salmon, tuna, ocean trout and mackerel, was sashimi at its best. Fresh fish, good sized portions presented beautifully on an upturned oystershell and garnished with a pink orchid flower.

For mains, the chicken and fish soup was the only let down. The dish is served still boiling away with an impressive sizzling sound, the chunks of fish were tender and flavoursome, the chicken was nondescript and the broth lacked flavour. The grilled eel on the other hand, was the standout. The eel had been grilled perfectly giving the skin has a slightly crunchy texture, the soy based sauce’s (I’d love to know what this sauce was) richness was not overwhelming at all even when eaten just with the leftover rice.

Accompanying this great example of japanese cuisine was a very well priced, but minimal, wine and beer list. Topping off a great example of japanese cuisine, service and hospitality.

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Kappa Japanese Restaurant, Queenstown, New Zealand

I absolutely love Japanese cooking (or lack of cooking) especially for lunch. The smaller portions are generally all you need and although you don’t feel completely fulfilled it is all you generally need, don’t get me wrong I wouldn’t be going for a sushi roll or a tempura soba on a hangover, but it does go suspiciously well with a spot of sake or beer.

Kappa is a little place upstairs in Queenstown mall, just a single glass door with a sign and menu hanging on it. The dining area is pretty small, only seating about 15 people and a (during winter) plastic enclosed balcony with 3 tables. The balcony feels a little bit like you are a fish, but I think come summer it will be a prime spot to have a quick bite, a glass of wine and some fresh mountain air.

Kappa Bento Box The lunch menu is really limited with only the Kappa bento box, and a couple of ramen and soba dishes. You only need 1 thing however and that is the bento box. Sushi, rice, salmon, teriyaki and tempura prawns and vegetables all for the heap cheap price of $12.80. It all comes out in a cute little compartmented box with miso soup, I’d be curious to see if everything in Japan is like this, including people’s desks, houses and sock drawers.

The staff are by far and away the most polite wait staff you are ever likely to serve you and the are all to eager to help. This was especially true when we had polished off our 4th bottle of Temata Merlot/Cabernet the waitress, who had previously been offering us water (with our refusal) served our 5th bottle but not before enticing us to drink the unsolicited glasses of water she had prepared. Clearly she had our hangover in mind where our eyes were only focused on the booze, in hindsight I wish we had have accepted her offers of water.