I was digging through my old photos and realised that there were a few meals I haven’t yet blogged about but would be a shame if I didn’t because I quite enjoyed them. One of them was Shoya. I used to dine here all the time with Yuye, that was before my blogging days. After I started blogging, I tend to want to try new places all the time so rarely do I go back to the same restaurants and sadly many gems have been neglected.
Shoya is a Japanese French fusion restaurant that’s a bit more on the expensive side, but the fresh ingredients, creativity and taste are what people come back for.
The last time I dined here were with my parents over a year ago. As the menu here is seasonal, many of the dishes have already changed. We chose the degustation menu – $120 per person which is still the same price. The amount was definitely sufficient and we had a good taste of many different dishes ranging from seafood to meat.
The first dish we had was seared salmon tartare with black plum vinegar, potato mentaiko mash and taro potato chips. This dish is no longer available though but we thoroughly enjoyed the dish as it was creamy and umami. It forms two of the trio on this plate, along with the second dish.
The second dish was kawari sakura mochi with fried mini kuzu potato cake made with cherry blossoms and served with bonito soy sauce and cherry leaf crisp which forms the last part of the plate. It was a trio of delicate flavours and textures that did well to whet our palate. The fusion can be clearly seen, using classic Japanese ingredients but cooked and plated with a western twist.
The third dish was the golden perch, which was lightly grilled in miso and topped with tomato mousse, foie gras and sundried mullet roe. This was a deliciously creamy and buttery dish, taking all the umami from the fish, foie gras and mousse and combining it all into one. It was quite small and can fit in your mouth in one bite.
The next dish – hatching ocean egg – is still on the current menu. It’s a cute little dish with steamed egg omelette with dashi, spinach puree, black truffle and topped with tempura scampi. It’s not difficult to see where they got the name from. The way it’s presented really does look like the egg is hatching and lo and behold…a deep fried scampi is born! It was a well executed and presented dish.
One of the main reasons I loved coming to Shoya is the freshness of their sashimi and the way it’s presented. The thickly cut sashimi was always presented in this ice sphere, keeping it cool and it looks stunning. First timers will always let out a gasp when this dish is served. The sashimi was served with freshly grated wasabi, something that’s rarely seen in Japanese restaurants here.
Out of all the dishes, I think I liked the beef spinach rolls the least. Not that it wasn’t tasty, just not as tasty as the others. It was a stewed ox tongue roll wrapped with spinach souffle served with lemon basil yoghurt. I found the texture of the spinach a little strange. This dish is also no longer on the menu though.
The next dish was the crab tempura, whole crab leg fried in tempura flour and served with green tea salt. This dish is still on the menu. The crab leg was beautifully cooked, but truth be told, I don’t like eating crab legs all that much. Thing is, I’m a bit lazy. Peeling the skin to eat that little bit of meat never seem worth it to me. If someone can peel it for me, then that’s a different story. 😛
I loved the applewood smoked kingfish steak. The dish came with an upside down wine glass covering it, smoke filled the inside of the glass so you couldn’t see what the dish looked like. Once I lifted it off though, a beautiful smokey smell filled my nostrils. The fish was only faintly smoked but enough to give it a deep and complex flavour.
The wagyu beef steak is still on the menu but might be a little bit different to what we got. It was melt in my mouth and umami, brought together nicely by the shitake miso sauce. I didn’t think it needed the truffle on top since it wasn’t all that strong, but hey, I’m not complaining.
The last savoury dish was the tai ochazuke which is snapper fillets in rice and dashi soup. It was a good palate cleanser and was again quite umami and delicious. We were all very full though by that time so I could hardly finish this dish, which was a shame.
The dessert was fantastic. It was a plate of a few different elements including the umeshu chocolate cake, black sesame pannacotta and sea urchin cheese cake. They were very unique and tasted great. I was very intrigued by the sea urchin cheese cake, it wasn’t actually fishy but was a little salty.
Overall we had a great meal. Although it did cost a fair bit per person but we all thought it was well worth it. The meal at the time cost us $120 and consisted of 11 dishes but the meal now which also costs $120 only has 9 dishes. Perhaps they are bigger dishes than what we got. Either way, the ingredients were fresh, dishes were creative and the service was good too. If you’re after a Japanese fusion meal for a special occasion, Shoya is a good choice.
Phone: (03) 9650 0848
Address: 25 Market Lane Melbourne, VIC 3000
Opening Hours: Monday to Sunday 12:00pm-2:30pm, 6:00pm-10:30pm