I must say eating in a large group and taking photos for my blog don’t work well together. In this case when we went to Sushi Masa in the city with 9 people, all I remember was taking photos and almost didn’t really get to enjoy my food! There were just too many dishes to take photos of :(. Anyway, with a bit of help from Yuye’s awesome memory, I managed to piece together the blanks :P.
Situated right around the corner from Parliament Station on Bourke St, Sushi Masa was quite small with spaces available to sit at the bar/sushi counter during dinner. It had a nice modern decor with many Japanese ornaments and sake lining the walls and the waitresses are all Japanese which was a nice combination :). Due to its size, bookings are recommended, especially during peak eating times.
The meal was mainly on a sharing basis and thus there were many entrees. The first one that found itself in front of me was Gyutan Shioyaki (ox tongue) – sorry no prices this time as I didn’t manage to get my hands on the receipt and they have no online menu. It was as expected, a bit crunchy and tender. Yuye found it slightly not salty enough though. Gyutan and Gyu Tataki are my favourites at Japanese restaurants (and generally not dishes to get wrong). However, after Yuye learnt how to cut an ox tongue himself, we’ve found it to be a bit of a rip off to order at restaurants (for around $4-5 you can get a WHOLE tongue which is actually quite big). Maybe I will post up the steps of how to cut it and where you can you buy ox tongues in a separate post later, for those of you interested :P. If you’re lazy however and wish to just order it, Sushi Masa does make it well.
Next was the Nasu Dengaku (miso grilled egg plant). This is quite a sweet dish and probably not one of our favourites to get, but from what I tasted, it was quite similar to other restaurants so nothing spectacular.
The agedashi tofu (deep fried tofu with condiments) was average as well. Yuye found it a bit soggy and I thought it was a bit bland (but it wasn’t bad or anything because tofu is nice enough to eat plain :P). The edamame was good (this is a good snack to nibble on with some sake or beer :D) although I’ve never had bad edamame before. Sorry my edamame’s a bit out of focus because I was trying to pump out the photos so people can eat :(.
The highlight of the night for me was probably the sushi. We ordered the large platter of sushi and sashimi which I remember was quite good value. The variety of fish was good and tasted very fresh. Too bad we had to share this so I didn’t get to have that many :(. I would come back just to eat the sushi.
Another highlight for me was the chicken soft bones dish – yes it’s chicken meat with soft bones and yes you can eat soft bones :P. This is actually quite a popular dish in Japan and China, I remember ordering these a lot in Shanghai when I went to BBQ restaurants. Totally delicious! They’re not as tough as normal chicken and has a cool texture (which I’m not sure if everyone will like) but with a bit of lemon, I can totally eat many plates of this. Too bad it was so small! Sushi Masa’s version though has a slightly undercooked batter.
We also ordered yakitori (chicken skewers) which I thought were good. They were rich in flavour and the chicken was tender. However, I wouldn’t say it was fantastic, I’ve never really had fantastic yakitori before.
Last dish of the night was cold soba (which is also not easy to get that wrong). It wasn’t the best dish to share but provided a boost for those people who were not yet full. I love soba, especially on a hot day, but I like a lot of wasabi in my sauce for that extra hit.
Overall, although not spectacular, Sushi Masa is still a great place to enjoy an authentic but not over-the-top pricey Japanese food. Their sushi and chicken soft bones are worth coming back for. Although not my favourite Japanese restaurant in Melbourne, my Japanese friend recommended this place and said he goes there once a week so go figure. You should check it out for yourself!
Phone: (03) 9662 1322
10 Bourke Street, Melbourne CBD
http://www.sushimasa.com.au (currently under construction)