Sunday, 9 August 2009
Mme Mouse and her squeeze, TiMOthy recently asked out to an amazing find. An all-you-can-eay Japanese restaurant in Doncaster. I have to admit that I was a tad nervous. All you can eat Asian restaurants conjure up, for me anyway, images of nasty greasy food in baine maries LONG after they've past the Staphylococcus aureus point of no return. Limp prawn crackers and ubiquitous Asian/Aussie dishes like lemon chicken.
I shuddered to think what an all you can eat resto would do to sushi and tempura.
Yamagata Teppanyaki - Melbourne Restaurant Address: 15 Andersons Creek Rd, Doncaster East Phone: 03 9841 988.
$33 on a Friday night will get you seated in a bustling, noisy resto that is strangely reminiscent of the "Island Trader" franchise of the 80's, only smaller. There are a couple of Teppanyaki stations, but the patrons are mostly there for the all you can eat.
It's not a buffet. It's an al a carte of sorts. The kind you see more and more often these days in Asian conclaves such as Box Hill, Springvale and Glen Waverely. You get a menu with (in this case) about 30 different items on it, You tick what you want and it's brought to your table.
A trick here for the first timers.
Order EVERYTHING you think you might want, because your first order will be fine, but we found that subsequent orders got lost in the last minute rush by the other patrons.
The sushi and sushimi very fresh. The rice lacked the distinct rice wine flavour of other restaurant sushi, but hey, we paid $33 a head for it. I wasn't complaining.
Rather than Aussie-ising the menu, Yamagata offeres some more traditional fare such as whole deep fried sardines, and yakatori eggplant.
And of course, there is tempura, miso, gyoza, tataki, green tea icecream ,tonkatsu pork and other familiar dishes.
Australians are used to the rarefied Japaneses restaurants, all tatami mat and Shamsen elevator musak, with students in kosode and obi. Maybe a little bit of slap-and-tickle frivolity if you miss catching the fried rice bowl at Teppanyaki.
While the food may not be up to the standard of Kuni's or Shira Nui, it is much more like a bustling Tokyo Ginza cafe from the 70's, No nonsense good food served fast, efficiently and cheaply.