Being total cheap-asses, you may be wondering how we ended up having lunch in Shoya, one of the high-end Japanese restaurants in Melbourne. Well, we were there to celebrate my lovely friend, Minda's birthday. Shoya is situated in one of the lanes in Melbourne's Chinatown and it look deceivingly small from the outside because this Japanese restaurant has 6 levels!
Anyway, Shoya does a number of lunch sets which start from a reasonable $24.80 to $65.
I chose the UME set at $28 which consisted of :-
Savoury egg custard - silky smooth steamed egg topped with an edemame bean which had shitake mushrooms and bamboo shoots in the bottom layer - this was simply gorgeous!
Sashimi - Presentation was excellent. The raw fish was placed on top of half a frozen orange - we wondered whether they would reuse it? Does anyone know?? Anyway, the fish was fresh and tasty with wasabi and soy sauce paste.
Tempura - Two prawns and the rest were vegetables. The tempura batter was light and crispy. Loved it.
Grilled eel - The unagi was simply delicious - very moist and tasty bathed in its sauce. The annoying thing was that I only ate a quarter of this because my Husband ate the rest while I was chatting away to the girls. Grrr!
Teriyaki wagyu beef - OMG! The beef was cooked to perfection. The meat was extremely tender and moist with nice bits of fat through it. I took a bite off the chilli and it nearly killed me - I was surprised that it was so hot!
Mixed steam rice - this was bland in comparison to the rest of the dishes
Green tea ice-cream - Yummy goodness.
Although the food was exceptionally good, I did have a few dislikes about Shoya.
1. For a high end Japanese restaurant, you would think they would serve complimentary green tea - but no, they don't.
2. There wasn't enough time for me to enjoy each of the courses because the food came rushing out. I was even more annoyed that the waiter served the ice-cream BEFORE I had even finished eating the mixed steam rice!
3. We were the only table left on that floor and it felt like that they were trying to rush us out. If I'm not mistaken, they brought the bill immediately after the ice-cream; without us asking for it.
In conclusion : Shoya serves high quality Japanese food but needs to slow down and let slow eaters like me enjoy and savour the food.
Would I go back? Yes, but only if it was for a special occasion.