(This is a continuation of the previous blog post. Please read that one first for this one to make sense.)
After eating TWO DOZEN oysters, Hong and I were still feeling hungry which was surprising because the hot weather usually makes me lose my appetite. I didn't want to order anything from the dining menu at the Melbourne Public Bar. I'm glad we didn't continue dining there because we stumbled on the glorious works of AKACHOCHIN, a Japanese fine dining restaurant which is also located in South Wharf.
When people think of Japanese fine dining, they instantly think of the basic places such as Izakaya Den, Maedaya or of course the world renowned Nobu. Akachochin is relatively new and under appreciated. With much excitement, I am THRILLED to share this gem with you. I'm hoping that it will be in the top 10 Japanese restaurants on Urbanspoon, as it is currently sitting at a low 31 (with an amazing rating of 90%). Ganbatte ne!!!
Irasshaimase - which ultimately means "welcome". It is honorific and is used as a sign of respect towards the customer. Every single employee (except for the tall caucasian waiter) said it to us from the second we walked into the door until the moment we sat down.The Japanese have strong traditions and customs which Australia lacks HEAVILY which is really disappointing. Two of my friends from work are visiting Japan mid year, and I am looking forward to hearing their stories when they return (so jealous of you guys!!!).
Happy 18 months Giraffey, you're a big poop.
Because we didn't make a booking, we were seated with other duo pairs on the marble sushi bar. I didn't have a problem with that at all, because it was so enjoyable having a full frontal view of the head chefs doing their thing. The passion, the talent and their infallible care with presentation and food quality is exceptional. Behind the glass on top of the sushi bar showcased different types of tuna, salmon, fried egg and other vegetables. The colours were so vibrant and the food was frrrresh.
We ordered a quail dish and was scared that our order was lost in translation (haha do you like my movie reference) because we were just served a quail leg to begin. The dish was called "Quail Karaage to Manju" which sounds more complicated than just a quail leg. Lo and behold, our quail was served last, and it was legless. I love the creativity, with something just as simple as that makes our experience so much better.
Shiromi Uzsukuri $15.
This photo does not give the pieces of white fish sashimi any justice. I rubbed my fingers against the texture of the fish and was enchanted about the skill it took to cut the fish so perfectly and with great precision. I didn't like the tang of the momiji oroshi (the orange condiment on the plate) so I just ate the slices with spring onion. This is a MUST HAVE if you ever get the chance to visit this gorgeous restaurant. I uploaded this pic onto Urbanspoon because I was secretly very pleased with how the photo turned out hehe.
Outdoor eating is also available but it was too hot to sit outside.
Grilled pork belly with spicy teriyaki sauce - $15
Pork belly is my absolute favourite, as I have mentioned many many times in my previous posts. The pork belly was so soft and full of fatty juices which I LOVE. After we finished the two big pieces of mushroom at the top... nek minnut I made a smiley face (below) but then Hong told me not to play with my food especially not in front of the chefs :(
But pork belly makes me happy.
Alas! The REAL Quail Karaage to Manju - $19.
One quail cut in two, one quail egg cut in two, and a deep fried potato cake with quail inside. To those who are disgusted by the thought of eating duck or quail, you really shouldn't have anything to fret about. The taste is like no other: chewy, sweet and flavoursome. The deep fried potato cake wasn't too soft and wasn't too burnt, and had a good potato to quail ratio. By this point, we were feeling too full to move, especially from the oysters that we had earlier on. However, that doesn't mean there isn't any room for dessert ;)
Black Sesame Panna Cotta with Green Tea Ice Cream - $14
Oh my goodness...... *squeals with excitement* this was one of the finer desserts I have ever eaten in any restaurant. I've been meaning to try Yeonga as I've heard that their desserts are excellent! Next to the green tea icecream is some sort of sweet red bean paste and the strawberries complimented the black sesame really well. The panna cotta had a really nice wobble as soon as I put my spoon in. It didn't have a grainy taste, but the sesame snap on top of the green tea ice cream gave it a good CRUNCH!
You probably would have noticed that throughout this blog post, I mentioned that Akachochin was "perfect" and "exceptional" more times than one. It deserves all the recognition and praise that I can give. The waiters are very efficient, yelling out 'service' as soon as the food has finished being prepared. The sushi bar chefs probably had a bit of a chuckle at my poor efforts to say Japanese phrases such as delicious and thank you. I will definitely return to Akachochin on another special occasion, as it is a bit too dear on the back pocket to be able to eat there regularly. I can only hope that Japanese food lovers can appreciate their dishes and people who are yet to try will fall in love with Japanese cuisine after here.
Address: 33 Dukes Walk, Southbank VIC 3006
(near the Exhibition Centre and DFO South Wharf)
Contact: 9245 9900
Hours: Tuesday - Sunday for Lunch 12pm - 4pm and Dinner 6pm - late.
Price Range: $$$ and a half