Tag Archives: sticky date

Heirloom

In the mood for Japanese, but something different from your standard dons and bentos, I decided to try Heirloom, a bit of a higher-class and modern take on Japanese cuisine. When you pass it on Bourke St, you won’t realise it’s Japanese and might mistake it for an upper class bar.

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Well, perhaps it is, but with a strong focus on Japanese food and drinks. The service was prompt and faultless. Our waitress did not have the best English skills but she was attentive and willing to help. The overwhelming part was when she provided us with about five different menus. This might be an area that they want to brush up in. One standard booklet would be sufficient rather than separate sheets with her explanation of what each one was.

You’re probably curious as to what they were – they included small and large tapas, some degustation courses, sushi degustation, bar food and their drinks menu. She also pulled a sheet out of her pocket and started to recite the specials. It might be helpful to display this somewhere for forgetful minds like us!

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After pondering over the many menus and finalising our order, I realised I might want some greens. So our first dish we received was the tofu salad (above). I feel their menu is quite more extensive than their current menus online. I can’t remember prices but this dish was fairly cheap at $10 or less.

The dressing was light and the tofu chunks were large and cold. Thus the tofu was understandably plain but I found it the perfect dish to have on the side, especially to balance out any accidental tasting of wasabi. My friend on the other hand wasn’t a big fan. Usually, I tend to like cooked tofu in nice sauces, but this did the trick as a healthy side dish.

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The wasabi happened to be in our order of salmon sushi aburi shio nigri (top, $7.50 per 2 pieces). This means the salmon is slightly grilled and I really enjoy that Japanese style of cooking, which provides a subtle smoky feel. There were bits of wasabi hidden underneath the salmon. I know they are making it traditional but perhaps they should ask about it in the future, as I know a lot of people who prefer no wasabi (yes we’re weak).

I also ordered a drink but not wanting to splurge on a cocktail, I noticed that they had an offer of shochu (Japanese spirit) mixed with various fruity flavours and soda for $9. I picked the lychee flavour and both my friend and I enjoyed it, along with an actual lychee.

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Next up were the sliders. I was tempted to have these after seeing another friend’s photos. I think they were only $5 each or so. We had the ebikatsu (fried and crumbed prawn, left) and pork belly (right). They were both so delicious that we couldn’t quite figure out which one was our favourite. They are both complimented by shreds of slaw and their own, rich sauces in soft brioche buns. There’s not too much of anything and the sizes are perfect for a non-messy fare.

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After trying the nigiri sushi with the salmon on top, we went for the soft shell crab sushi roll (above, $14 for 4 pieces). Each end seemed to have a great deal of crab, whereas the middle pieces seemed to only have avocado and a tiny piece of crab. This wasn’t too special and I preferred the nigiri.

In addition, I almost we forgot we had the wagyu kaburi skewer ($4 for about 3-4 pieces of scotch fillet). By itself, the skewer is pretty plain. For skewers I would try somewhere like Pabu Grill and Sake, as it’s more of their specialty.

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We managed to remember one of the specials, so we ordered the teriyaki salmon ($18). It was served with orange/mandarin pieces, which I found a bit weird drizzled in teriyaki sauce. However, I really enjoyed the sauce, which seemed to have an extra sweet kick from the mandarins, and the salmon was cooked perfectly.

These dishes didn’t exactly leave us hungry or full so we dived in for one last dish – dessert. We went with the Houji tea sticky date pudding (below, $13). This included caramel apple pieces, vanilla ice cream, (Japanese) nikka whisky caramel sauce topped with a sort of biscuit. The staff were happy to provide the whisky sauce on the side, so my friend wouldn’t need to avoid the alcohol.

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The sauce had a strong taste of whisky. I enjoyed it as it still had a base of caramel, but I couldn’t have too much of it, otherwise it felt too rich and strong. I enjoyed the addition of the biscuit on top to provide some crunchier texture and to lessen the sweetness of the dish. The Houji tea (a roasted green tea) made the sticky date a bit drier but with an interesting taste, so the ice-cream and sauce provide the needed cover, and I think it was an innovative take on the classic dessert.

20140411_194519Overall, Heirloom really delivers the service and food for a good night. If you go by your instincts and order what sounds good you’ll most likely be fine. The lights provide a great setting whilst they project anime on a screen in the distance. Service is attentive and swift, so I feel like it’s always going to be a place where you know you will be looked after. It’s not the cheapest but we paid less than $50 per person, so I feel like it’s a reasonable price for the quality.

Heirloom is located at 131 Bourke St, Melbourne CBD. It is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. They serve a buffet breakfast (who knew!) Mon-Fri 7-10am and 7.30-10.30am on weekends.

They have daily specials for lunch, Mon-Fri 12-3pm and serve bar food 3-6pm. Finally, they serve dinner 6pm-10pm on weekdays and 6pm-10.30pm on weekends. Check out their menus here, but as I mentioned I think they have more items than this now.

Heirloom on Urbanspoon

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Fukuryu Ramen ft. Dessert

This place seems to be the new place to be right now in Melbourne, and what better time to launch a new ramen place than when the colder weather is kicking in.

Down a laneway of Chinatown and up a few stairs, you will find yourself in this bustling franchise out of Asia. I’d heard of long waiting times, but lucky for us, it seemed we just arrived before that peak period.

20140412_183434 Besides the wall above, the outfit was pretty standard with your usual basic, faux-wooden tables. When you reach the place, you find yourself walking straight into the line where you order and a standard menu on the wall.

Yes – this means the moment you walk in, you must make your decision. The cashier was very helpful in clarifying the difference between tonkotsu ramen and Shoyu ramen, which resulted in my friend and I reversing our initial choices. More on that later.

20140412_184042The cashier was quite bright and he seemed to know what he was talking about yet his American acccent threw us off a bit. When he told us to have a great meal it seemed very rehearsed and cheesy, but it’s better than showing no interest at all! Along with this, the whole team tend to shout Japanese phrases such as “Welcome!” every now and again, as if to add to the show.

20140412_184853My friend ordered what I initially had in mind, which was their Signature Tonkotsu Ramen ($9.90, above).The broth is pork flavoured, thick and creamy. The hype surrounding this place often mentions this dish, but I can’t stomach large creamy meals without feeling a little off. I had a spoonful of the soup and it definitely had this distinctive, tangy pork flavour.

It was interesting but I don’t think I’d be able to have a whole bowl. Having never tasted authentic tonkotsu, I can’t comment on this aspect, but I’ve read many other reviews proclaiming its authenticity.
20140412_184950I ended up choosing the Shoyu Ramen ($9.90, above). The menu didn’t say much besides ‘Tokyo style’, but we were told that the broth was clearer and based on a chicken and fish flavour. This appealed to me immediately, and I was glad I changed my mind.

The soup was quite addictive and I downed it to the last drop. The noodles are apparently handmade, just slightly thicker than instant noodles. The downfall was the serving size and lack of toppings. You can see the bowls below become slimmer as you reach the bottom and I could probably have had another bowl…or two.20140412_184956

I think more commercialised, and perhaps not as authentic places, such as Ajisen Ramen have set my hopes of serving size too high. The ramen here is cheap at $9.90, but then you’ll only get two pieces of meat.

That being said, the soup was much nicer than the usual oily fare. I’m still yet to try other places such as Kokoro Ramen so would gladly appreciate if anyone would share their experiences of ramen in the comments below!

Fukuryu Ramen is located on Level 1, 22-26 Corrs Lane, Melbourne CBD. They are open everyday for lunch 11.30-2.30pm and dinner 5.30-9.30pm. Their menu can be seen on their website.

Note: Fukuryu Ramen have just informed me they’ll be releasing extended portion sizes and more toppings as of April 16th, so watch out!

Fukuryu Ramen on Urbanspoon

Melbourne Supper Club

Considering we were still hungry, we couldn’t pass up dessert. Melbourne Supper Cub is perfect for a late night meal or sweets, but located on Spring St and up from The European, I have heard they can be a little snobby.

I thought we’d give it a go anyway, as despite this I remember good desserts. We enjoyed sinking into the sofas but struggled to use the small table. They have this dark yet elegant atmosphere (hence this bad photo), where you’ll find people on dates or older groups sitting over wine and chatting. That’s probably why their tables are so small, it’s more for a light shared meal over drinks.

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My friends and I don’t really drink, so we ordered tea, coffee and three desserts, hence the crowded table. My friends who first took me here always raved about the lemon tart ($9), which was a winner on this occasion too. The hard, savoury base and cream on the side balances out the tanginess of the rich lemon tart.

The tiramisu ($11.50) was creamy as expected and nothing too amazing. We did wonder if the three chocolate sticks were placed there purposely to serve us three or if it was part of the staple decoration. The churros con chocolate ($12) were surprisingly addictive, coated lightly in sugar and served with a dark chocolate dip. I don’t enjoy dark chocolate a great deal but it seemed to go with the churros well along with sips of tea. I’ve also tried the sticky date pudding ($11.50) in previous visits and would gladly recommend that too.

Once you get past the atmosphere that tries to emulate the sophisticated nightlife of Europe, the sofas and intimate setting prove great for a laid-back catchup. It started getting busier later on so we did feel the need to leave but didn’t feel we were too pushed to leave in a rush.

Melbourne Supper Club is located at Level 1/161 Spring St and is open 5pm-4am Mon-Thurs and Sunday, and 5pm-6am on Fri-Sat.  You can view their menu here.

The Melbourne Supper Club on Urbanspoon