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Nishikian is situated in a previously operated petrol station and now it has been converted into a spacious Japanese restaurant. Located in Forest Hill on Springvale Rd, it’s serves authentic Japanese food for Lunch and Dinner. Their menu has a small selection of rice and noodle dishes, but their main attraction for dinner is their tapas menu including fish, sushi and tempura.

There’s a lot to like about Nishikian, their Shoyu Ramen which is a Soy Sauce soup base, is very clean tasting and yet packed of flavour. The Japanese style eggs is a rare occurrence, but here you receive the oozy yolk inside with the hard boiled white. It’s one of life’s greatest food treats, slightly running yolk and hard boiled and pretty much served at any ramen shop in Japan.

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Nishikian’s Chicken Teriyaki Don isn’t how I usually find it, here it’s served crispy with a teriyaki marinade and Miso soup. Interesting choice, but I do prefer the grilled style Teriyaki.

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If you’re undecided, during lunch hours you can select the Nishiki Lunch Box, where you can choose from a selection of menu items and served with rice. It’s a great way to try a bit of a few different things. Their Potato Croquette is quite tasty, moist inside and nice and crispy. The Takoyaki wasn’t slightly crispy outside as that’s how I like it, but I found a couple of places in Tokyo that served it slightly soft. The beef I found actually was on the dry side, it needed a lot more sauce, and less cooking time as the beef cuts were very thin.

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The Beef Udon has a very subtle flavour but again, clean tasting and fresh. Two for two with their noodle dishes.

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Nishikian’s Mochi Potato Croquette is similar to the normal Potato Croquette and it’s everything you’d want in a croquette. Delicious, smooth potato inside and a beautiful crunchy coating.

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The Ebi Mayo Nigiri is another great dish, fresh and you can never have too much of Togarashi powder on the side.

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Lastly, the Tonkotsu Ramen (Pork Bone Broth) is very reminiscent of my travels in Japan. It has the taste of being rich of cream but yet there is none in a Tonkotsu. Delicious.

Impressions

While there are a couple of authentic Japanese places around these parts of town, Nishikian comes up top in terms of flavour and value. Their noodle dishes have all been winners in my book and I’d go straight back to those on my next visit.

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Nishikian
425 Springvale Road
Forest Hill & Vermont VIC
T: 03 9877 4999

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Irodori House on Station Street, Box Hill serves Japanese style cuisine with an a la carte menu as well as set lunch boxes. The food here is surprisingly decent hidden in an area with a wealth of Chinese eateries.  What I like about Irodori House is the flavours of their dishes.

Their Beef Sukiyaki has tender beef with a pleasant tasting light ginger taste. I’m not a big fan of ginger (although I love gingerbread) but here all the ingredients make for a pretty tasty dish.

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Japanese Egg Custard’s are some of the good things in life. A savoury custard that is so silky smooth, with just enough saltiness to bring out the egg flavour and served warm.

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Their tapas menu has an array of choices, Irodori’s Crumbed Fish with the mayonnaise had a good balance of crispiness and still moist on the inside. It goes really well with the mayonnaise served with it as it need a dipping sauce of sorts to complement the slight dryness of a fried fish.

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The Oyako Don comes with salad, miso soup and two sides. The Oyako Don wasn’t particularly memorable but the chicken was tender but lacking in a bit of flavour.

Impressions

Overall, I found Irodori House to excel in most of their dishes and it’s the reason why I would return. It may not be the most authentic Japanese restaurant or the most amazing dishes but it still provides a tasty meal and that’s all I would want.

Irodori House on Urbanspoon

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Ramen-Ya has been on the Melbourne food scene since 2007. Their original restaurant is located at GPO, along an alleyway of sorts (of course, it’s Melbourne). Their primary cuisine is Japanese Ramen,  but they also offer a selection of bento boxes. To keep you reassured, this is an authentic Japanese eatery, and quite a popular one at that, with another Ramen-Ya located further down on Bourke St.

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Oddly enough, I ordered something not particularly authentic but becoming quite popular in Japanese restaurants. I saw many Japanese restaurants in Vancouver that had Korean fusion dishes. The Korean flavour to this ramen dish adds an interesting taste to the dish. It’s a bit sour and a tad spicy and mostly what Kimchi is. You can pick your soup base too, I chose the Miso one just to be a little different. I found it to be intriguing combination but the only downside is that the soup was lukewarm, and by the time you finish it, it’s basically cold! Other than that, it’s a delightful dish that’s mostly vegetarian apart from the charshu but having the soup hot would have made me like it even more.

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Ramen-Ya’s Chicken Teriyaki bento is also nicely prepared. The chicken teriyaki has that usual teriyaki flavour, it needs a bit of the Japanese chilli powder just to give it a bit of a kick but the chicken was well cooked and seasoned. Really, what more could you ask for.

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I really liked the taste of the Beef Sukiyaki, the beef is nice and soft and the sauce (albeit it’s on the sweet side) is delicious.  You can get salad and miso soup, or any dish, for a small sum if you’re eager to round out your meal. The bite sized gyoza had a very substantial flavour to the filling, with that hint of ginger, and freshly cooked is also very pleasing.

Impressions

Ramen-Ya serves up authentic Japanese cuisine that is certain to delight people’s tastebuds. You can really see why people come back for more but I really do hope the lukewarm soup base for my Ramen was a one time mistake (it was also an extremely warm day) as it can really detract from your dining experience. I never am quite satisfied when eating cold food that is supposed to be warm, it just doesn’t fill you up in the same way.

Ramen Ya on Urbanspoon

Ramen-Ya
Shop 25G Melbourne GPO
350 Bourke St
Melbourne VIC 3000

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