Photo by Chotto Motto
Take Your Taste Buds To Tokyo With These 5 Japanese Restaurants
By Ariel Mae
Even though international travel is off the cards for now, you can still take your tastebuds to Tokyo with the best Japanese to be found in Melbourne.
Private sushi chef Arnaud Laidebeur, much like all of us, has pivoted in the time of coronavirus. Known for his French-Inspired omakases and Japanese cooking classes, he’s now dedicating his time to creating lavish sushi boxes and chirashi don, heaped with fresh Hirashima kingfish, Otoro, Hokkaido scallop, salmon and ama ebi (sweet prawn). These boxes are available for pick-up at AU79 in Abbotsford.
A longtime Collingwood staple, this elegant Japanese cafe and retail store has streamlined its iconic breakfast plate for takeaway. Enjoy the perfectly balanced bento from the comfort of home with its grilled salmon, vegetable-packed miso, creamy potato salad, and beautifully rolled tamagoyaki omelette. An equally delightful miso-grilled vegetarian equivalent is also available for purchase.
There’s nothing as rich nor as satisfying as a mouthful of Kumo Izakaya’s Spicy Fish Roe Udon (also known as Mentaiko). The udoh is packed with umami, the fish roe providing a subtle crunch and the sauce, plenty of heat. It’s the perfect winter dish. Order in online for delivery to most northern suburbs.
Mugen was the first restaurant in Melbourne to serve tsukemen-style ramen, where noodles are served separately from its full bodied broth. The noodles alone are a delicacy - thick, bouncy and homemade. Season them to your liking by dipping it into the broth. Once done, the broth is topped up with dashi stock and drunk, as is tradition, straight from the bowl. It's a delicious ritual, one you can now complete at home with Mugen’s takeaway offering (they’re also selling their noodles as standalone).
Famous for its Hamamatsu-style Gyoza, Godzilla figurines and well stocked Japanese vending machine, Chotto Motto made waves when it first opened in Melbourne in 2019. Of course, the gyoza is the main draw. With a myriad of toppings, panfried till golden and served in a ring, it’s everyone’s favourite Friday meal, especially when served with a healthy dose of Chotto’s homemade chilli oil. Both the gyozas and the chilli oil are now available for purchase, the former for takeaway and the latter, at Chotto Motto itself, which has now reopened and temporarily reimagined as a Japanese grocery store with all the fixings.