Located in Eastland’s Town Square, Kyoto Cafe provides a bit of Japanese flavour to Ringwood. Its interior is reminiscent of modern Japanese restaurants with its generous wood panelling all around. It has an open kitchen with kitchen-side dining, and room upstairs as well.
While Kyoto Cafe do offer a few Donburi’s (Rice bowls), they do have a more extensive Yakitori menu, as well as tapas dishes, sushi and bento choices. They also offer a few dessert options, most are displayed at the front of their restaurant which are basically a variety of cakes and cream puffs to choose from.
One of their bento options comes with fresh sashimi, tempura, chicken katsu and steamed egg with dipping sauces.
The sashimi were sliced into smaller pieces, but tasted quite fresh. The chicken katsu was crispy, and tender, while the tempura was also crisp with a light batter surrounding it and soft inside. There was also this odd vegetable wrap, I wasn’t fond of it and tasted a bit bland.
The steamed egg wasn’t as soft as I would have liked either and also was a tad under seasoned but still one of the better ones I’ve tried.
The Japanese Fried Chicken here has this very dark, sticky glaze on it. The chicken was tender and crisp but I wasn’t overly impressed by the flavour of the marinade. Just give me the normal Chicken Karaage.
To be honest, the main reason for coming to Kyoto Cafe was to try their desserts. The Yuzu cake had an amazingly punchy Yuzu flavour with a soft mouse layer, and a cake base.
The Green Tea cream puff wasn’t as crunchy as I’d like but it had a great Matcha cream flavour inside that kinda oozed out. The Black Sesame flavoured one is on the list to try!
The ambience at Kyoto Cafe makes for a great dining experience. The food here, while it may not be amazing, will give you a tasty meal and sometimes that’s all you’re after. The beautiful desserts don’t hurt either.
Eastland Shopping Centre
Level 3, 175 Maroondah Highway (Town Square)
Ringwood VIC 3134
Yokozuna located in Chadstone Shopping Centre is a Japanese eatery specialising in ramen. Yokozuna has a few different flavoured broths to choose from to go with your ramen such as Tonkotsu, Red Ramen, Vegetable Ramen, and they even had a Black Sesame flavoured broth as an option too. While, Yokozuna specialise in ramen, they also offer bento boxes, rice and udon dishes as well so there’s plenty to choose from.
The Spicy “Red Ramen” with Pork had a lovely spicy broth. You can’t choose how your noodles are cooked unfortunately and the noodles weren’t nearly enough for the price charged.
Fried Chicken Ramen with sauce (Karaage) had a lovely flavour to it. However, when they first gave us this dish the chicken was to the point of being burnt. While they did replace it with a new batch, that was tender and moist. It’s disappointing that they tried to give us burnt chicken in the first place.
The Black Ramen is ramen with a black sesame flavoured broth, it has a slight sweetness to it with the aroma and taste of toasted black sesames. Interesting flavour, but one I probably couldn’t eat the whole thing of as I found it oddly rich.
The Matcha Latte is frothy, but overly milky, not enough green tea flavour and not smooth at all as you can taste the green tea powder while drinking it.
Yokozuna is unfortunately quite mediocre in all aspects. While there are some positives, there are plenty of better choices for ramen in Melbourne and better choices for food in Chadstone Shopping Centre as well.
Chadstone Shopping Centre, Upper Level
1341 Dandenong Road
Malvern East VIC 3148
In Box Hill, there’s actually quite a few Korean eateries to choose from and although Nene’s Chicken made it’s mark first in Box Hill for Korean Fried Chicken, impressions haven’t been that great. Gami, on the other hand, has a number of outlets across town and positively received among many so it’s nice to see make its way to the east.
Gami is located in the newly refurbished office building next to Box Hill Institute’s Whitehorse Campus. It’s quite a cozy little joint but with great natural lighting that comes through. Of course we had to try the fried chicken, and of course, we had to try the spicy variety.
I love the crispiness of the exterior, and the slightly sweet but mainly spicy coating is delicious. You’d probably best eat these at a quicker pace as the sauce tends to soften the crispy chicken a bit but it’s still enjoyable nonetheless.
The Soy Garlic variety, is a great complement to the spicy option. Having one spicy and then a sweeter one balances it out. The chicken was also well cooked, not dry and still tender inside.
All Fried Chicken comes with Cabbage Salad and Pickled Radish. The tomato mayo dressing is interesting.
We were recommended to try their Potato Heaven, which is basically mash potato plus cheese, sour cream and wedges and with sweet chilli sauce drizzled on top. I must say, this is so addictive, you can’t stop at one mouthful. So incredibly rich, but so tasty.
You also can’t go wrong with their G Beer Pale Ale (Gun:Bae), which is exclusive to Gami. The “hoppy” ness and fruitiness reminded me of Hoegaarden a bit, but don’t take my word for it. I don’t actually know my beers that well!
Gami, Korean Fried Chicken done right.
Gami Box Hill
Shop 1, 990 Whitehorse Road,
Box Hill VIC 3128
Moo Chi In Fusion has recently opened its doors on Johnston St in Fitzroy. Just minutes down from the bustle of Smith Street, this Asian Fusion restaurant impresses and entices you to stray away from the main streets of Fitzroy. Once you walk into the venue, you’re greeted with this spectacular artwork and friendly staff to boot.
The menu at Moo Chi has an interesting mix of entrees, salads, mains and desserts with some making a slight twist on the traditional dishes you might find elsewhere.
One of the popular items on their entrees menu is their Angry Bird, marinated ribs with their own spice mix served with some onions and herbs. The flavour in their chicken ribs is stunning. Perfect amount of spiciness, and even though I do enjoy a bit of spiciness if you can deal with pepper this is fine! I could probably have a few drinks and just this on its own for a meal.
Moo Chi’s Mini Moo Bun can be ordered in a few different choices. Starting with your choice of brioche or lettuce wrap (which I must try next time) and then your choice of filling of either pulled pork, fried tofu, soft shell crab or roast chicken. Being a fan of pulled pork that was a no brainer.
Deliciously tender pork with pickled vegetables and herbs that reminded me of a great coleslaw of sorts it goes great together and I’d definitely order that again.
Their mains selection leans towards the more Malaysian, Asian style of cuisine but I saw on the menu there was Seafood Spaghetti which I’m curious to try. The Chap Choy Curry is one of your vegetarian options and I love the creaminess of it. With a hint of spices, with vegetables cooked al dente that adds great texture to the dish.
The Kapitan Chicken Curry is a dry coconut curry (without sauce) with a hint of lemon grass. The chicken was cooked well and flavour-wise it wasn’t too creamy and the spices weren’t overpowering.
Their Singaporean Pork Spare Ribs is dressed with a sweet and sour sauce. The sauce at Moo Chi isn’t the same kind of sweet and sour sauce you may find in Chinese restaurants, and it has a more subtle sweetness and sourness to it. The pork pulls away easily and it’s not too fatty. I loved the how well the pork was cooked but I felt there was something missing from the sauce.
At Moo Chi, they have a few more Asian leaning desserts like Honeydew and Rockmelon Sago but also some Western style desserts like their Crème brûlée. Smooth custard with a crunchy top and served with a biscuit to enjoy it with. Not too sweet and has a nice vanilla taste to it.
I loved the Angry Bird and Mini Moo Buns and Moo Chi’s mains were flavourful and cooked with care. A real find in Fitzroy and I definitely recommend giving it a try.
Moo Chi In Fusion
72 Johnston St
Fitzroy VIC 3065
Mon – Closed
Tues to Thurs – 5:00 – 10:30 PM
Fri to Sun – Lunch 12:00 – 3:00 PM and Dinner 5:00 – 10:30 PM
*Opening hours current as at 7 December 2015
DonToo, part of the Don Don’s family is like their other outlets where they serve a selection of Donburi dishes during lunch time. However interestingly, during the evening it offers a number of different ramen to choose from. With ramen stores rising in popularity, DonToo’s ramen still is a fine place to go to.
One of their ramen’s is their Laksa Ramen with a creamy curry laksa soup base. It’s quite a generous serving and with the lovely Japanese style eggs as well. Laksa Ramen isn’t too common and it would be one of my first choices!
With this store, beers are on the menu so what goes well with beer? Fried Chicken, naturally. Try it with the chilli sauce!
DonToo does lunch well, like Japanese fast food and it does ramen even better.
330 Little Lonsdale Street
Melbourne VIC 3000