Sunday, 29 July 2012

Take me to the high Heavens


Saturday night and headed into Richmond to catch a concert left us time to enjoy a nice dinner out. Not eating in Richmond often left us on the scout for something that would take our fancy and of course fill our stomachs that were rumbling.

I needed something fresh and tasty, that wasn't going to be too heavy but overall satisfying and there is one cuisine that does this exact thing, Japanese. There is nothing I like more than fresh Japanese cuisine, and Maedaya has certainly delivered every element of what I would expect from true Japanese. It's not just about the sushi and sashimi of which most westerners recognise Japanese to be, there is so much more behind it.

With not taking reservations under 5 people we had to try our luck and walk in, with a short waiting list on the go it was only less than 10 minutes to wait for a table to come available, which isn't too bad however there is of course possibilities that it could be longer.

A menu of what could end up being a large feast is placed before us, and I am overwhelmed with the choices of dishes. I could eat it all, but I wont. Trying the process of elimination whilst enjoying some Locus chips and a Honey Choya and soda in hand, it's a battle to choose the dishes we so desire.

Choya embraces a balance of sweet, acidity and exotic fragrance that comes from the ume fruit. All natural flavours and slow ageing it was a great aperitif.

To start we choose the hand roll of Crab and avocado with crisp fried onion. Remarkable is the only way to explain it. This hand roll was so fresh it made me realise that fresh is valued and respected here and that I hadn't actually had true freshness like this. The rice perfectly cooked the flavours are to die for. A unique spin on the usual hand rolls with the crisp onion pieces on the top too. Mouth watering in every way, just a slight pull on the seaweed when biting into it, but it didn't bother us as everything else was so amazing.

To follow we enjoyed some Wagyu beef rolls and soft shell crab. The wagyu rolls were tender and flavoursome, a melt in your mouth beef. The soft shell crab although maybe not so picturesque as other dishes were, it was coated in herbs, salt & pepper that made your taste buds sing to the high heavens. Perfectly cooked and truly a delight to be able to enjoy the entire crab. A fine balance between sweetness from the crab and the herb crust was enjoyable.

Tempura prawns served with a roe dip was fresh and tasty, however the tempura a little flakey. The coasting unfortunately fell straight off the juicy prawns so we were left eating the prawns with the dip then picking up the batter. The gyoza were the best I've ever had. Most of the time when we order gyoza they are still water logged causing the dumpling itself to fall to pieces and difficult to eat, but not at Maedaya. Pan seared bases made bought a perfect depth of flavour and the dumpling batter made perfectly that kept the filling in tack whilst eating and not having to loose anything in the sauce. Juicy pork filling made it easy to just order plate after plate.

Now we come to the skewers, something that we don't often see in other Japanese restaurants, and being here embracing such bold flavours made us want to try something new and what also seemed to be a popular choice as we engaged in interest of watching grill flames from the open area.

Selecting the tasting plates of both options provided us a great selection and after sharing all the other dishes it was already a feast for kings. The Maedaya Chicken ball skewer selection known as Tsukune Topping consisted of groups of 3 chicken balls grilled on a skewer and each dressed with a different spice or sauce of wasabi mayo, garlic chip, spicy miso mayo, nanami chilli pepper and black pepper. Each showcasing great flavours and enjoyable. But my favourite skewer selection is the Maedays Sumiyaki set. Tender skewers of Tsukune chicken balls, Yakitori Chicken, Chilli Inari Bean Curd, Gyu Kushi Beef and Butakushi Pork Belly. Each skewer so tender and succulent all charcoal grilled and coated in flavoursome sauces and spices.

Dessert was an option and destined to be sharing or else we would explode. We went for the platter capturing traditional Japanese sweet rice cake mochi & dango served with a scoop of green tea ice cream. Unusual textures I must admit with the skewer being explained as a coating of soy and sugar. If you are an adventurous person you may not enjoy this as much as it's very difficult for me to explain it to you as their is nothing I have eaten that I could compare it too. A glutinous rice ball is the essence of this dish and provides a very gummy texture or a chewy dough. Filled with red bean paste they are not over flavoursome and quiet bland, but it's the weirdness of the gummy texture. The green tea ice cream is awesome though, smooth and mild the tea flavour is not so strong that after a couple of mouthfuls you'd have to stop because your taste buds have been over dosed in such a strong tea.

Our over all experience was divine and are amazed in such freshness. We would have no trouble in returning here, even if their was a longer wait for a table, or maybe we will just have to make sure we have more than 5 people so we can book a head of time.

What I loved as well was the detail in service. Not only welcoming and helpful in selections of meals and suggestions of matching sake to your dish, but the awareness if something didn't look right. Ordering a cocktail of the Choya Heaven and being delivered it was noticed it was not to their standard and was removed and replaced with a new one.

Placing such high standards into the service and such pride in their dishes truly shows a great respect to how they wish to showcase the restaurant of which I respect and love seeing.


Maedaya
400 Bridge rd,
Richmond, VIC
9428 - 3918
Maedaya on Urbanspoon