Last Sunday, L and I finally went to Machi St Kilda. My boyfriend drives past it every week on his way to German class (yes, he is learning German!) and has often thought we should go there.
But as it is often the case, there is just so much to see and do in Melbourne that it has taken us a while to actually get around to going. Well made Japanese cuisine is always a treat, and restaurants that offer Japanese fusion rarely disappoint. As such, we arrived with high expectations. Vincent, the super friendly owner, greeted us at the door and we were seated. After perusing the menu, we decided to go with the Machi Omakase, a tasting menu. When available at a restaurant I usually choose this option as I think it showcases the best dishes, and takes into account the best produce available at the time. It can also challenge you to try things you might not have ordered (for example, things you might think would be uninspiring, but turn out to be sensational).
First up, edamame. I love edamame so a great start for me!
Next up where individual tasting plates with gorgeously presented food. The tasting plates had a range of individual items based on traditional Japanese flavours. The baked scallop was so amazing I almost licked the shell it came in.
I'm a lover of New Zealand salmon so the NZ salmon sashimi sat well with me too. L however is a massive oyster fan and really enjoyed this one with 7 spice dressing.
Usually tofu is one of those things that I would never order as I have in my mind thatbut I really enjoyed the miso broth with tofu. I would definitely order it again. Last bit on the plate was a pork gyoza, which was nice and crispy on the outside, and contained a well made filling. Far removed from the packet gyoza you are often served.
After the tasting plan, a sushi course was brought out. The seared salmon nigiri was lovely. I've never see seared wagyu beef and pickled daikon nigiri on a menu but thought the idea sounded great. It was tasty and well presented.
As part of the omakase you get to choose a main course. L chose the slow cooked lamb in a soy based sauce and I loved the sound of the Japanese fish 'n chips tempura. A good tempura sets apart good and bad restaurants. Bland batter, soggy oil or less than fresh ingredients are often used and are a dead giveaway of a restaurant that just doesn't care - and is trying to hide behind the fryer! Not here - this was an excellent dish. The tempura was so crunchy and was a great contrast of textures to the perfectly cooked fish and vegetables. The fish and vegetables were also very fresh - with the veggies maintaining a telling crunch, and the fish being firm and white.
What I loved especially was the little side dish of matcha, sea salt and tartare sauce. I have to admit I have never tried matcha before, but I became an instant fan. It's so sweet and goes surprisingly well with the tempura fish.
L's slow cooked lamb was falling off the bone, it was fantastic! The soy sauce was laced with ginger, and a sweet flavour perfect for lamb. The greens added freshness to the dish and were well prepared. They were not bland or soggy.
The kitchen surprised us with an extra dish that they were trialling for the next menu, a sukiyaki soup. It's a broth with Asian greens, buckwheat noodles, super thin pieces of beef, tofu and a soft poached egg. The sukiyaki was soo flavoursome, I especially loved the buckwheat noodles and the sweet and salty sauce.
For dessert I have to admit I tossed my sugar abstinence over-board and had most of my matcha and black sesame ice creams. They were served with a bit of red bean paste and a chocolate spring roll. All four elements of the dessert were new to me, but I will be hunting down more savoury inspired desserts for sure. The chocolate was oozing out of the crispy spring roll. It was soo good!
Both ice creams weren't too sweet, which I really liked. Overall, we both thought the omakase menu was really good value and left very satisfied. There's no doubt we will return here, and probably with a group to take full advantage of the diverse menu.
As we were leaving L and I were already making plans to go again (this Friday) to show off our new find to some friends. Thank you to Vincent who reached out to me and invited us to dine and also to our lovely waiter who made the whole evening so enjoyable. Machi 14 Inkerman St