Izakaya Den // Russell Street

Often, special occasions are heightened by the anticipation of a delicious meal. This time I was really looking forward to trying out the set menu at Izakaya Den. It’s been a while since I’ve had really nice Japanese food and Izakaya Den has made an excellent name for itself. We chose the $55 Kuikku set menu (however we ended up adding extra a la carte options spontaneously, so it probably worked out to be similar to the $65-$75 mark with drinks). There were eleven ‘dishes’ inclusive of the set menu but they came out in groups. E.g. three dishes would come out at the same time, then there would be a slight break and then the next four dishes came out etc. We added on the scallop, prawn and dessert dishes separately.Can I just say how crazy their drink menu is? It’s not featured on the Zomato page, but trust me it is extensive. They have creative scroll menus (which if I’m to be critical, can be a bit annoying to look through) which is packed with Japanese alcoholic beverages. If you’re after something sweet and less ambitious I’d highly recommend the Kirin Fuji Apple Cider (absolutely delicious and refreshing.) Admittedly it is very sweet but tastes just like Fuji apple.
1. Sweet Corn ‘kaki-age’ with matcha salt
This was a good start to the meal. Simple but tasty – you can’t go wrong with corn right? The matcha salt (loving the colour) was a unique addition but I found the corn to have enough flavour on its own anyway.
2. Spicy Tuna Tataki
It might be difficult to tell but basically there was six of us and each person is allocated a fair share. E.g. with the tuna tataki there were 2 platters of 6 pieces, meaning 2 pieces of tuna each. There were 2 sauces; one sauce has a strong horseradish type of flavour (quite overpowering – a similar kick to wasabi but I really liked it), and the other a more subtle seafood mayo type of flavour. The tuna tataki is raved about on Zomato and it was decent. 3. Grilled Sweet Potato & Shittake Mushroom
Honestly there’s not a whole lot to say about this one. It’s simple and tasty but also not something I’d order at a premium restaurant (just because it’s not value for money). Normally $9 for the pair.4. Fantastic Prawns with Yuzu Mayonnaise (ordered separately, 3 for $12)
I believe seafood is definitely a strength of Izakaya Den. The ‘fantastic’ prawns did live up to its name being juicy and flavoursome. The yuzu wasn’t obvious to me but I’d recommend trying the prawns. They’re not stingy sized either. 5. Hervey Bay Scallops with Lemon Soy and Panko (ordered separately, 3 for $12)
This was also a highlight. The scallops were cooked perfectly. I would have preferred it without the panko (the scallops were cooked so nicely that I just wanted to enjoy the purity of it). I felt the panko took the scallop flavour away so I scraped most of mine off. Continue reading


Cafe Carpenter // Malvern East

 cc-tt-5After I saw the menu online, visiting Cafe Carpenter bumped to the top of my ‘to try’ list.  I was sucked in because there were so many delicious options and the photos of the food looked great! When we arrived I found that the cafe was a lot smaller than I had expected but it’s very cute  with stylish decorations. I wouldn’t come here with a big crowd but a small group of 2-4 would be perfect. We were pretty lucky it wasn’t busy when we arrived because I can imagine the wait for a seat would have taken awhile.cc-tt-2
Sweet Potato Noodles (Beef & Veg) // 16
The noodles had a very homely feel. It was clear that they used fresh ingredients but it was simple. I liked that the noodles weren’t soaked in oil (compared to the usual chap chae I’ve tried).
Continue reading

Baba Sus Cafe // Glen Iris

Baba Sus Cafe has been gaining more and more popularity within the past year. Famous for it’s green tea lattes and Hong Kong egg waffles I knew I had to come by and try it!BSC TT (1)
The green tea latte isn’t actually on the menu so if you would like to give it a go you need to specially request it! It can be bitter for some so I would recommend asking for some honey on the side. BSC TT (2)
#flatlay Continue reading

Shoya Nouvelle Wafu Cuisine // Chinatown Melbourne

Shoya is my go to ‘special occasions’ restaurant. I love coming here for their lunch sets because firstly it’s absolutely delicious but secondly it’s the only option I can afford at Shoya :P
This was my second time coming by and this time I tried a different lunch set called ‘UME’ including dessert which was a total of $32. You can access their menu by clicking here and there are approximately 7 options.Shoya TT (1) The meal began with complimentary Japanese style pickles and the first small dish was the Japanese egg custard (1). The custard has a silken tofu type texture – extremely soft , creamy and smooth. I finished it so quickly! The pickles were also really nice – wish I could have had unlimited pickles so I could have eaten it all throughout the meal #theywerethatgood.Shoya TT (2)
I love sashimi(2) so much and the standard of preparing fish at Shoya is quite high. They have a chef preparing the sashimi in front of you (if you’re seated at the stool area). This scallop was hands down the best scallop I’ve ever had. No joke! Super soft and fresh – I honestly haven’t had the luxury of having scallop prepared for me like this before and it was so good. After we received the sashimi we started getting our other dishes out around the same time. I did want them to slow down because I knew the food was going to start getting cold but I guess since it’s a reserved lunch set/time they needed to push out the food.Shoya TT (3)
In the ‘UME’ set they offer ‘seasonal grilled fish (3)‘ as part of the set and I was so pleasantly surprised when eel came out. I was hoping and hoping and hoping it would be eel but I didn’t want to get my hopes up (last time I didn’t get eel!). It was so delicious – I love eel! The sides of mushroom was flavoursome and a nice addition to it too. Shoya TT (4)
This was the tempura (4) (soy dipping sauce) which came with prawn and some vegetables. Nothing much to say but the batter was good and crispy. Shoya TT (5)
Our table was just full of food food, glorious food!Shoya TT (6) At this point I was getting SO stuffed but everything was tasting so delicious. This came out together and it was the teriyaki beef (5), steamed rice (6) and miso soup (7). The beef was cooked perfectly – very soft and tender and the taste was strong but matched the nice subtle flavours of the mixed steam rice. Nothing out of the ordinary for the miso soup but I just love the miso flavours of any miso soup so I was happy.Shoya TT (10)Anddddd last BUT NOT LEAST, DESSERT! We’re given the option of vanilla, black sesame or green tea icecream (8). My favourite ice cream flavour has been green tea for awhile now so of course I went with the green tea option! It was delish – great way to end the meal.

I was so full by the end of the meal but it was great. I highly recommend going to Shoya for a special occasion if you’re looking for something cheaper than fine dining yet still nice. The food is delicious and you’ll definitely be full by the end of it! There are quite a lot of different lunch options so if you’re a big eater choose the UME option (I think that has the most food!). Make sure you create a reservation – this is something you can conveniently do online and they’ll email you back a confirmation notice.  The cheapest lunch set is $24.80.

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Rice Workshop // Emporium

Today I want to share about my latest Japanese cheap eats experience at Rice Workshop. Most people would recognize rice workshop by their famous green tea and now black sesame $2.00 ice cream cones while I recognize it by their rice bowls.RW TT (3)
The way it works at Rice Workshop is that you order over the counter and prepay for your meal.You are then given a buzzer and when your food is ready you go back to the counter to collect it. At the counter there is Japanese spice/chilli powder and plastic cutlery. My uni friends and I decided to opt for a quick easy meal before having dessert. Below are some of the things we ordered :)RW TT (4)
Teriyaki Rice BowlRW TT (5)
Cooked Salmon Fillet Bowl + Salad+ PickleRW TT (1)
Eel Bowl (Unagi) + Salad + Pickle
I ordered this rice bowl! I love the taste of unagi and I hadn’t had it for quite some time. It was pretty tasty I think I devoured it quite quickly, Japanese pickles taste really crunchy and it matches the dish quite well. RW TT (2)Sashimi Rice Bowl + Salad + Egg
This looks so good and fresh! That salmon just looks really juicy and tender like it would melt in your mouth. I think this will be my next pick when I get to go back.

Rice workshop is a quick service type of restaurant. Overall nothing too fancy but the prices are quite reasonable. It’s a suitable meal for uni students or those having a quick work break.

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Tokyo Pop // Melbourne Emporium

Tokyo Pop TangerT (3)
Tokyo Pop is a nice and simple Japanese inspired restaurant in the Emporium. It’s quite cheap and there is plenty of variety on their menu. I have been pleasantly surprised by my visit here and wished I had found out about this place earlier while I was still visiting the city quite often. Oh well! I’m sorry I can’t exactly recall the food prices but below is my rough estimation (from memory it wasn’t very expensive compared to other places in the Emporium!).

Tokyo Pop TangerT (1)
Ramen (Approx $8-9) (Friend’s dish)
Tokyo Pop TangerT (2)
Seaweed and Tofu Salad (Approx $6.50)
This was actually really delicious. I was so happy eating this and actually it was surprisingly big! The seaweed portion is really generous and the sesame salad dressing is great for tying everything together. The tofu was really soft and I didn’t expect it but I felt full afterwards! It’s a great snack. Tokyo Pop TangerT (5)
Okonomiyaki (Japanese Vegetable Pancake) Approx ($5)
As I thought I would still be hungry, I ordered this to accompany my salad (with regrets because I was actually not that hungry to begin with!). This was nice, but one or the other would have been fine for my tummy! I like how generous they are with the sauce because it really lifts the pancake. I generally like Okonomiyaki’s anyway so I thought Tokyo pop’s rendition of it was good. 
Tokyo Pop TangerT (4)
This is the seating area of Tokyo Pop. It’s located downstairs in the Emporium – it’s one of those restaurants where you order and pay for your food at the front first. I would definitely come back and try other things on their menu, but honestly I think I’ll just be too tempted to get that salad again :)

Tokyo Pop on Urbanspoon

Momoco Sushi – All you can eat

Momocosushi sign

I went to Momoco Sushi with the family today for their ‘all you can eat‘ option. Each person gets to choose ONE small hot dish, ONE serving of dessert (icecream) and all you can eat sushi nori/salads which is pretty good if you like sashimi! I’ve looked at the Momoco prices for their regular meals and it’s not that cheap so I believe you can easily eat your moneys worth. It won’t be worth it if you’re not a big eater though/you don’t like raw fish! Better off ordering one of their mains :)

With the ‘all you can eat‘ option you are  given a form to fill out with all the sushi/salad choices and you put a number next to how many servings you want of that item.

My family and I have never gone out to eat Japanese altogether before so we were quite excited for our meal. Reading some of the reviews on Urbanspoon did leave me feeling slightly hesitant about dining here so I was really hopeful that my family and I would end up enjoying the food!

Momoco interior

When we arrived I was immediately impressed by the overall look of the restaurant. It’s quite spacious and decorated well. I like the modern dining atmosphere. Straight away it doesn’t look ‘cheap.’



This platter was so good! I’m a HUGE fan of sashimi! Love it, love it, love it! Too bad everything they gave literally came with rice (probably them trying to save money and to fill us up with the rice) I think it would have been nice if they served up salmon sashimi by itself teehee (it’s probably too costly for them though).

Momoco sushi

The unfortunate thing was that they put all the sushi in one large serving plate, rather than separate it over a few plates across the long table. I assume it’s to save up on washing, but it made it difficult sharing the plate across the long table. I was also disappointed with the presentation of the sushi. The picture above is how it arrived and it doesn’t look as appetising as I think it really could! Taste was quite average,I liked the salmon sushi and the unagi (eel) sushi rolls the best! I didn’t really enjoy the California roll though,  they stuffed too much rice in it for my liking! You can see they’re quite fat so it probably won’t take you too long to get filled up.


takoyaki ball

These were two of the hot dishes I managed to get a snap of! (Other hot dishes included dishes such as roast eggplant, fried chicken, beef skewers etc) The top one is Agedashi tofu which was nice, soft and silky. The second dish is takoyaki balls which was good too, not as soft and ‘melt in your mouth’ takoyaki balls I’ve tried before but again satisfactory.



This is the avocado salad and the cucumber/seaweed salad – they were very generous with the portions they gave us for each side dish.The cucumber is dressed with sesame dressing. These are just the perfect side dishes to your meal, I’m a big fan of tasty salads!

NG icecream

The icecream flavours they offer are green tea, black sesame and vanilla. I had the green tea but I also tried a bit of the black sesame. The green tea ice cream was so disappointing. It mainly tasted like vanilla icecream and looked like perhaps they tried to make it green tea by adding some powder and mixing it or colouring? So I was expecting the black sesame to be the same, but surprisingly it was GREAT. It tasted authentic so I’m really not sure what happened to their green tea ice cream :/ I’d definitely recommend getting black sesame if you go here!

Bottom line: Momoco Sushi is not bad but it’s not amazing. It’s overall quite average which to me means it’s decent – good enough for a night out where you can still enjoy each other’s company, get fed and feel good. If you have high expectations over the Japanese cuisine, you probably will enjoy some other restaurant like Shoya – Chinatown CBD, but this is the more affordable option for a large group of people. The green tea IS AMAZING though. It’s made fresh and it’s mixed with a combination of rice tea I believe.

Momoco Sushi on Urbanspoon

Birthday Cooking – Sushi & Rice Paper Rolls

It was my lovely boyfriend’s birthday awhile ago.. and I made my first meal for him! I was initially quite stressed because I’d never made sushi OR rice paper rolls either and I wasn’t sure if it’d be successful or if I’d have enough time. I chose to do this because I’ve never made food for him and thought it’d be special + I also wanted to get healthier food into him. It took me a few hours to make including shopping time xD You can get proper recipes just by searching in Google. I’m sure taste.com has some ideas :) You can always alter the ingredients slightly and choose your own sauces.sushibf (1)I began by firstly cooking the rice because that is extremely crucial to making sushi! It’s also the process that takes the longest as you also need to let the rice cool down. I used sushi rice and added some rice wine vinegar and sugar into the mixture. Whilst it was cooking, I then did all my prepping – meaning chopping up the carrots,avocado pieces, onion and cucumber thinly, frying egg (adding sugar),washing up bean sprouts (cutting off the ends) shredding chicken and getting meat floss ready. To save time many of my ingredients overlapped for the sushi and rice paper rolls.

You then pretty much place rice first onto nori, then layer the rest of the ingredients onto,then roll it up. After it’s firmly together you can cut them up into smaller pieces. The same goes for rice paper rolls, you must first wet the wraps, then place ingredients on one side and roll it up together like a wrap :)

The different combinations I had included:
1. Chicken, Avocado, Cumber, Carrot
2. Tuna, Cucumber, Carrot
3. Meat floss
4. Nori-tama (Sweetened egg)

Next time I’d like to try making California rolls and also make Sashimi sushi toosushibfMy rice paper rolls!There was some variety, but mostly included of shredded roast chicken, Lebanese cucumber, carrot, bean sprouts, vermicelli and thinly sliced red onion. Hoisin sauce for dipping :) sushibf (2)The final product! Got a few more plates of sushi but they all looked about the same :)

It was pretty fun to make and definitely a healthy option for picnic food. There was soy sauce for the sushi. We ate most of it at home, but later took some out to the riverside. Unfortunately it was really warm so it didn’t taste as good as it did in the morning! But.. on the up side the weather was lovely for a romantic date ^^