Samurai

Merry Christmas everyone! I should have some seasonal posts coming up, but no promises. Back to today’s post, Samurai looks like your standard minimal style Japanese restaurant from the outside, with plenty of natural light to make the small space bright and welcoming.

Most people go for the $16 set menu here at Samurai, since that gives you the most value for money, and my friend and I decided to get a set each, and share everything.

Miso Soup

The murky soup were placed in front of me in no time after we ordered, the soup was pretty standard, but I did like the pieces of tofu that are not visible in the photo, due to the cloudy miso.

Osuimono Soup

My friend went for the Osuimono soup, a clear broth with mushrooms, seaweed, and tofu. The soup was a lot lighter, and quite refreshing.

Green Tea Milkshake

The milkshake was $1 extra for the set, but I had to see what the hype was all about. Like everyone before me has said, it’s pretty much green tea ice cream in a cup, as it melts, it becomes easier to sip on.

Takoyaki

The takoyaki were piping hot, however, there was barely any boniko flakes, which I guess was made up with the ample amount of sauce. There were some small pieces of octopus in the takoyaki, and they were very satisfying.

California Rolls

I was surprised to see the shredded carrots in these – clearly didn’t read the menu properly – which I didn’t get them a go. My friend did say that it was your average California roll, but it was very fresh.

Spider Roll

The spider roll had lettuce, cucumber and soft shell crab inside, however, there was mostly batter for the soft shell crab. The rice had a great texture though, and just the right amount of vinegar.

Crumbed Prawn Roll

The prawn rolls were inside out, and only had crumbed prawn inside, the prawn were juicy and tender, and the sesame seeds added a nice nutty flavour.

Is Samurai amazing? Not in my opinion. I mean, don’t get me wrong, there was nothing wrong with the food, but at the same time, they are around the same quality as things you would order in a food court. It is clearly very popular though, with a line outside waiting when we finished.

How to get there:
Samurai is located on Glenferrie Road, 5 mins down the road from Glenferrie Station.

Samurai Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Sushi Hotaru

Sushi Hotaru has been popular for as long as I remember, if you go during lunch time or dinner time, a wait is to be expected. The most recent time that I visited was at 4pm on a weekday, and there was still a wait, just goes to show how much Melbournian love cheap sushi trains that’ll only set you back $3 per plate I guess.
Seared Scallops Nigiri

Fresh scallops are lightly caramelised with a blowtorch, and with a sprinkle of spring onion on top, these were a delight to eat.

Fresh Scallops Nigiri

The fresh scallops nigiri was equally as good, the sweetness of the scallops were really prominent, and was accentuated by the fish roe on top.

Grilled Squid/Octopus?

The grilled squid/octopus was a little chewy, I got this one off  the actual sushi train and it was pretty average.

Seared Salmon Nigiri

All was good again with the seared salmon nigiri though, the smokiness was more prominent in this than the scallops, probably because of the fattiness of the salmon?

Chicken Karaage

The chicken karaage used to be one of my favourites, who doesn’t love some fried chicken? However, they have slowly transformed from small chicken pieces to two large chunks, although the batter is still reasonably nice, it definitely has gone down hills.

Lotus Chips

The lotus chips is another thing we always gravitate towards in the side dishes section of the menu, deep fried, drizzled with sweet soy, and a scattering of sesame seeds, what’s not to like? The serving size has also downsized, on a side note.

Spicy Tuna Nigiri

The plump pieces of tuna were topped off with some spicy mayo, and it was a pair of simple but flavoursome nigiris.

Small Soba

This was the first time I’ve ordered the soba, and it was quite a generous serving for $3. The soba was still springy, and although the soup lacked a depth of flavour, it was light enough to be pleasant.

Soft Shell Crab Hand Rolls

Mmmmm by now, you should know my (and the entire Melbourne’s) obsession with soft shell crab. Wrap it up in nori with some rice, salad, and tartare sauce, although messy at times, it’s always a delight to eat.

Agedashi Tofu w/ Soft Shell Crab

More soft shell crab, ’cause I can never say no to that stuff. Two blocks of agedashi tofu were served in a light sweet soy broth, along with half a soft shell crab. The batter on the agedashi tofu was quite soggy, but it was still an alright dish, mainly due to the crunchy soft shell crab DUH.

I’ve visited Sushi Hotaru on several occasions now, and the service has been a bit of a hit and miss. They have a weird rule that only a group of four can sit in the booth, even if the restaurant is half empty, which makes absolutely no sense to me. That clearly doesn’t bother me that much though, since it never fails to lure me in when I’m craving some sushi. For $3 a plate, none of the array of sushis and side dishes can be faulted really. Oh, the whole group has to be there for you to be seated, so yeh, make sure the whole gang’s waiting together, and be ready to stack up some plates!

How to get there:
Sushi Hotaru is located in Chinatown, first floor in the Mid City Arcade.

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Hinoki Japanese Pantry

My friend mentioned Hinoki Japanese Pantry to me once, but we didn’t end up going. So when another friend suggested it again after her graduation, I happily obliged.

After visiting, man, I’VE BEEN MISSING OUT ALL MY LIFE, FOR REALZ. Sushi bar at the front, Japanese grocery in the back, it’s like, literally, all I need.

Nose Make Mix – $13.50

Because it was my first time visiting, I decided to order the maki mix, which allowed me to try 5 types of maki Hinoki had to offer. From top to bottom, they were – seared salmon, eggplant, kingfish, tuna and salmon. It was hard to pick a favourite, because they were all so unique! But the most unique one out of the bunch would be the eggplant I guess. The eggplant was silky and sweet, and was a delight to eat. The seared salmon was also really nice, it was caramelised nicely with a blowtorch. The kingfish one had a kick to it from the jalapeño hiding beneath the little cubes of kingfish. The salmon on the end there was also really yummy, with just the right amount of kewpie on top. The tuna was probably the most unremarkable, that being said though, it was still really nice. The freshness of the fish was what I really enjoyed, and of course, the presentation was so on point.

The grocery store at the back has some Japanese specialty snacks, sauces, and just everyday needs. I got some caramel popcorns which were delish!

Hinoki is certainly pricier than your average sushi chain, but for the quality, it’s worth every penny. There is just something so nice about see the sushis made right in front of you by the sushi chef. Hinoki has a very extensive menu, and also has platters that can be ordered beforehand – which I may or may not have went back for a week later. Hinoki Japanese Pantry has definitely made it to my list of favourite sushi restaurants in Melbourne.

How to get there:
Hinoki Japanese Pantry is located on Smith Street in Fitzroy, 5 minutes walk from stop Smith Street and Johnson Street on the 200 and 207 bus line, alternatively, take tram 86, and get off at stop #18 Hodgson Street and Smith Street.

Hinoki Japanese Pantry Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato