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
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.
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.
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.
The Beef Udon has a very subtle flavour but again, clean tasting and fresh. Two for two with their noodle dishes.
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.
The Ebi Mayo Nigiri is another great dish, fresh and you can never have too much of Togarashi powder on the side.
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.
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.
425 Springvale Road
Forest Hill & Vermont VIC
T: 03 9877 4999
Waya on Kingsway, Glen Waverley is a Japanese restaurant with an interesting assortment of dishes from Sashimi, Sushi rolls, as well as Donburi (rice ), Ramen and Bento boxes as well as plentiful Japanese-tapas dishes. What also interested me was that they also offered hot pot, which you don’t often find in many Japanese restaurants. A few years back it was difficult to find any Japanese restaurants on Kingsway but now there is Monga Izakaya, Ajisen Ramen, Shira Nui and Yokohama Teppanyaki that all have their own appeal.
Waya’s Waka Maki aka rice with Salmon, Cucumber and Avocado topped with Tobiko and Spicy Sauce is probably one of my favourite ones I’ve tried to date. Although, funnily enough, no resturant’s version of their spicy sushi rolls have topped the sushi stall inside Box Hill Woolworths (Spicy Tuna rolls).
As mentioned before, the choice for hot pot is something I’m not quite use to but would love to see at more venues. We ordered the Kimchi Hot Pot served with Kimchi with Sliced Pork, Vegetables, Mushroom, Fish Cake and Tofu. It can actually be served for two to three people depending on if you’re sharing dishes. The hot pot has a lovely kimchi flavour with enough spiciness to go around.
I generally found the dishes at Waya to be quite good. Nothing amazing, or spectacular but for a decent Japanese meal at a decent price it’s a good option and I find it to be more satisfying than Ajisen Ramen (located minutes away)
Guu Sakabar definitely has an interesting atmosphere and if you haven’t dined at one of Guu’s locations in Vancouver or in Toronto, you may be surprised as you walk in. For all guests that arrive, you are warmly greeted with cheers from the employees as well as when you exit. So it can get quite noisy on a busy night but that’s all part of the charm.
Guu offers a Japanese-tapas style menu some options having a bit of Korean influences. What I like about tapas menus is that it’s great for sharing and trying a bit of everything from the menu.
The Okonomiyaki here is deep fried with squid tonkatsu sauce and karashi mayonnaise. I haven’t tried a deep fried Japanese pancake before as I only have found the pan fried variation in Melbourne (Australia) before, however the pancake certainly left an impression on me.
Probably my favourite dish was Guu’s Kinoko Bibimbap in a stone pot.With mushrooms, cheese and a seaweed sauce, the combination of flavours worked a treat together. Packed full of flavour, can’t go wrong with it and even for me who would prefer not to have mushrooms in anything!
You can’t leave Guu without trying their drinks, however being a non-local and wanting to do a tapas drinks, we ordered the Sake Sampler that came with 6 different types of sake. As a non-expert in Sake, I can’t really offer my opinions on them but the cloudy ones were more memorable than the rest for sure.
Guu also offer Japanese Vodka, Beers, Wines and Cocktails and your non-alcoholic beverages as well.
Guu is definitely for those seeking a good night out with friends and/or family and the atmosphere at Guu allows for that. Food-wise, most of what we tried was great, but on the smaller side of things. Though, I certainly hope a restaurant like this pops up in Melbourne to enjoy.
559 Bloor St W
Toronto ON M5S1Y6
Monga Izakaya (Monga Sweet Lounge) in Glen Waverley serves primarily light meals or snacks. They offer a selection of grilled/skewers, sushi, deep fried options, raw and cooked seafood, noodles and rice dishes as well as Shabu Shabu (Hot Pot) and Bento boxes (Lunch only), and a Sake and Dessert menu to boot.
One thing of note here is their servings are probably disproportionate to their pricing as you might find elsewhere on Kingsway, similar to tapas I would think. Although their Bento boxes/Lunch menus items do look more value for money.
I ordered the Ochazuke with salmon, which is something I haven’t actually come across in many Japanese restaurants before. Ochazuke is basically a rice dish in which green tea, dashi and hot water is poured onto the cooked rice and mixed with several other ingredients. It’s almost like the Cambodian Porridge which is also cooked rice with a seasoned stock added to it. Monga’s Ochazuke comes out steaming hot, and I found it quite pleasant although a tad salty but at least it was seasoned well.
Even though, we didn’t get a chance to try their dessert menu, their Dinner menu isn’t too shabby. Price conscious folks may stay clear of Monga Izakaya but for those wanting some light meals with drinks on the side too, and dessert to top of the meal I think this is a good place to start.
Glen Waverley VIC 3150