On a more interesting note... I went out for an early Christmas dinner last night with my high school sweethearts A & S. The weather was lovely as we made our way to Maedaya Sake and Grill, a small Japanese tapas restaurant with a big heart. The restaurant is mostly black, with the wall and ceiling covered by thick rope. My initial thought was already pleasing, and the tapas menu did not disappoint.
Can you imagine a small square table with three girls opening up a four page liftout??!!!!!? One side for food and the back of it for beverages, which are all alcoholic I should add. The business card lists "Toshi Maeda" the owner of the business as the 'sake master'. If I didn't have work the next day, I probably would have ordered one of the many pretty drinks to see what the fuss is all about! There is always next time I guess :)
Itadakimasu! Let's break down all the tapas.
The flippin four page menu!
All the colours are so vivid and the pictures make you tempted to order more and more and more.
To begin, we were given a little cup of dried up food which tasted like mixed nuts.
To end, we were given grape flavoured candy with the bill.
It's the little things that really count and make good impressions.
Pork Belly / Yaki Buta - $9.50
When you think of pork berry, you always envision the three layered crispy skin pork, greasy, fatty and delicious, no doubt. This pork belly was extremely tender, and broke apart when you tried to pick it up with your chopstick. I wouldn't say it was worth the price, but the flavour was a lovely contrast to the crispy pork. The pork just melts in your mouth and was kind of refreshing. Do you see that yellow condiment in the top left hand corner? That's mustard and it tasted dissssggussstttinggggg!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Japanese Pancake / Okonomiyaki - $13~
I don't want to be mean but this is on par with food court Jap pancakes that you can buy for $4. It was a bit too soggy and salty for my liking, even though it was made fresh and placed on a stone grill. Try to opt for something else if you're going to be tempted to order this.
Inside out susssshiiiiii - $10-$15 I can't remember
Aren't the colours so lovely? Maedaya should take pride in their food styling presentation, as the sushi looked amazing, and tasted equally as amazing. As you can see from the image below, our sushi had salmon and avocado which is a lovely combination, even though it is pretty standard. Both ingredients have so many healthy aspects to it, your body will benefit from something so tasty!
My cute little sushi piece.
Gyoza - $6.50
You seriously cannot go wrong with pan fried dumpling. Pork. Spinach. Chicken. Mushroom. Any sort of dumplings, really. I should have eaten it as soon as it came out, as it had cooled down by the time I got to it. Cold dumplings is not oishi at all. (Oishi is Japanese for delicious). We ordered gyoza after the first three orders above. There wasn't enough filling inside which I was really disappointed about, but I guess the servings will go well with other dishes, as they are all small portions. You could really taste the flavour of the mince and cabbage inside which I thoroughly enjoyed.
Maedaya's speciality! Skewers!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Pork Belly Asparagus (above) and Chicken with Garlic Salt. They were under $4 from memory.
I love asparagus, only eating it for the first time this year. I ordered a grilled salmon from Mocha Jo's and asparagus was the only side vegetable they had and I couldn't be bothered changing it to broccolini. Since then, I get excited with I see asparagus on any menu! For this dish, the asparagus acted like the skewer, with pork belly wrapped around it (as pictured). If you know anyone who dislikes asparagus or if you know kids that hate their greens, wrap it around in meat! Problem solved.
The garlic salt skewer tasted like Vietnamese nem nuong (pink pork patty), sprinkled with garlic salt. We weren't going to order the skewers, but we felt as though we couldn't end the meal with gyoza, and walk away without trying the famous skewers. They are worth the $3-$4 a stick. It makes you feel as though you are in a night market, or gives you an illusive feeling of being in Japan.
Such a sweet chef who let me take photos of him. Sorry for being a weirdo, the skewers just looked so freakin good. His hair looked like Krusty the Clown's, but in black.
Green Tea Pot - $4.50 each.
Given my high level of appreciation for anything related to tea, this is probably one of the cutest tea sets I've seen! Judging by the photo, they look tiny!!! It was great pouring tea into a smaller size teacup, as the tea cooled a lot quicker. My other favourite teacup/teapots include the clear teapot from David's Restaurant and the blue and white china from Myer Mural Hall.
Overall, I would probably rate Maedaya with a 7/10, only because I tried very limited dishes and didn't enjoy a glass of sake. The wall of the bar is filled with bottles and bottles of alcohol, including my favourite Choya Umeshu. It's sweet taste comes from unripe plums placed in the bottle. It's rather expensive, I think it is $40 for the large 750mL bottle. I will return to Maedaya and I will endeavour to try more things on the menu. The salt and pepper squid salad looked really interesting. The waiters were prompt, helpful and had an enthusiastic attitude all the time.
Address: 400 Bridge Road, Richmond VIC.
Contact: 9428 3918
Hours: Monday to Saturday from 12pm - 2:30pm and 6pm - 11pm