Monday, 13 June 2011

En Izakaya

It's a long weekend in Melbourne but Mr being working night shift since Friday.
"Let's head out for dinner tonight" was what he said when he got home this morning. He was planning to try out Melbourne new hot spot Chin Chin and in order to make sure we get a seat, he planned to arrive at 4pm even though it open at 5pm! But we didn't manage to leave home till 5pm due to some car issue. Got to change the plan last minute as it's pretty slim in getting a table straight without waiting.

As we aren't keen on steak as we had Culter & Co. lined up next weekend, decided to go for Japanese and started web surfing for a new spot to try. Came upon an article on Agenda "Top 5 for Japanese" and we picked En Izakaya partly it's not located in the city. Felt we had higher chance of getting a table and guess we were right.

When we arrived at 7pm, the place was less than half filled. But gradually it was fully packed as the night goes on. Did notice the crowd was made up of majority matured locals.

We started the dinner with Miso Soup with Tuna and Tofu. Didn't managed to take a reasonable picture of this dish. The tuna pieces were fresh and firm. Soup wasn't too saltish too.

Next was A selection of salmon sushi. The sushi was very well cooked and seasoned. It was sweet and not over sour. The seaweed was still crispy which also indicate it was freshly made  and rice wasn't wet which prevent the seaweed from turning soggy.

We also ordered a bowl of rice each and were disappointed it wasn't short gain Japanese rice. Considering the price they charged, we felt it was pricy.

Japanese Izakaya-Balaclava
Braised free range Otway pork belly flavoured with soy, mirin & honey - then flamed
The gravy was really sweet, full of honey. But the meat was so soft and it just melts in the mouth. I did enjoy this dish considering I'm not really a pork person.

South Australian Coffin Bay oysters served natural and tempura battered

South Australian Coffin Bay oysters served natural and tempura batteredJapanese Izakaya-Balaclava
Very nicely executed, I can still taste the sea even though it was seasoned.

South Australian Coffin Bay oysters served natural and tempura batteredJapanese Izakaya-Balaclava
Nothing amazing but it didn't feel oily even though it was deep fried. Majority of the dish almost all came at the same time. Table even ran out of space to fit in all the last dish. We both were busy taking photos and tasting. By the time we had this dish, batter had gone a bit soggy.

Soba noodles marinated in a cold soy & mirin broth- with wasabi coated cucumber, zucchini & tomatoJapanese Izakaya-Balaclava
Soba noodles marinated in a cold soy & mirin broth - with wasabi coated cucumber, zucchini & tomato. This is a dish perfect for summer as it's served cold and taste very refreshing. Wasabi wasn't strong, was totally opposite. I would loved stronger and more wasabi. Come summer, I will definitely try to re-create this dish in my own kitchen.

Queensland spanner crab omelette with shiitake and shimeji mushrooms
Omelette was nicely done, still slightly soggy on the inside with chunks of spanner crab meat and mushrooms hidden inside.

Thinly sliced grade 9+ wagyu beef blade flamed and served on wasabi coated silk tofu
This was the dish of the night. Wasabi was very lightly coated on the tofu. Wagyu beef was very thinly sliced, lightly seasoned and cooked. Beef was still soft and not chewy. The combination just works.

Our tummy could fit in more after all the above dishes and got the waitress recommended  Seared momen tofu and miso infused eggplant oven baked as the final dish for the night.
The tofu was deep fried, crispy on the outside but silky soft on the inside. Did felt there was too much miso coated on the tofu. Egg plant was soft, creamy with the skin still intact.

They had two desserts for selection and we decided to order one each. There's always space for dessert + dessert is another compartment in the tummy.

Red bean dessert Japanese Izakaya-Balaclava
Soy Panna Cotta with Red Bean
This was the preferred dessert out of the two. We were trying to figure out what was actually the white strip looking ingredient but was totally clueless! Did an enquiry and found out it was actually a kind of japanese vegetable like white radish. Not very sure it was the original taste or it was pickled. Panna Cotta was soft, Red Bean was sweet and Vegetable was slightly crunchy and sour. I actually enjoy it and finished more than half by myself.

Green Tea and Banana Ice Cream
Can't really taste the Green Tea as the Banana as overpowering. Still trying to figure is it banana essence or real whole banana was used in this dessert. But did taste slight sourness in between the banana so maybe lime as well?

Felt this was a more modern style of Japanese food. Not something which we usually go for as both of us preferred more traditional Japanese etc sashimi and sushi. But we still enjoy tonight dinner a lot.

En Izakaya on Urbanspoon

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