Sometimes it it’s so bizarre to me how I live in Sydney, but make friends with a Singaporean, in Melbourne of all places.
And we get along like a house on fire.
So a catchup when I was in Melbourne for Good Food Month was definitely in order, and surprise surprise, I had a hankering for Japanese food.
So Audrey recommended one of her favourites: Shyun, an unassuming little eatery just a 5 minute stroll from Carnegie station, serving up fresh fish and classic Japanese cuisine.
She ordered the Miso Katsu Don – deep fried breaded pork cutlet on rice, drizzled with a tangy miso sauce. I’m not the biggest fan of tonkatsu – I find that the pork dries out sometimes, and the breeding can get soggy really easily – but this one was hot, fresh and juicy. The crumbling gave way with a satisfying shatter, and made for a very satisfying mouthful. Enough to make me a tonkatsu convert, and that’s saying a lot!
We also ordered a Creamy Crab croquette to try. The Japanese croquette is usually a cloud of potato and flecks of filling – be it salmon, crab, or something else – and again, crumbed and deep fried to give a crispy exterior in contrast to the soft interior. This croquette hit all of the textural notes, producing a melt-in-your-mouth sensation, but wasn’t entirely heavy on the crab. Still thoroughly enjoyable, but where is my crab, man??
Oh but the tartare sauce it was served with? The perfect amount of tang to set off the creaminess of the croquette.
And of course, true to form, I ordered a Chirashi bowl, because I simply cannot resist
fish on rice. The fish was fresh and well cut – not too thin that it was drowned out by the rice, but not too thick that it was difficult to create a nice mouthful – and it was a fantastic light option for summer.
The restaurant also had fantastic ambience – a long corridor filled with bar type seating leads you to another cosy dining area, and the iPad ordering system that has become so popular nowadays ensures that you don’t have to spend your hungry minutes flagging down waitstaff. When you do find that you need to speak to someone, though, they are right on hand to answer your questions, and for a busy dinner service, they were also very efficient in making sure that little bits of service – like filling up your water – was still looked after.