Thursday, October 20
Rakuzen Simple Japanese
I used to live on Grattan St and tried nearly every cheap place along the way. I've had takeaway sushi from Rakuzen several times, but decided to dine in this time.
Location: across the road from Melbourne University, at 149 Grattan St, Carlton (see map)
Website: no official sites or reviews that I could find, just an urbanspoon link.
Price: ~$10 mains, $2.50 sushi rolls (many types including "Peking duck")
Miso soup - from memory it was complimentary to the meal. Way too salty, with not enough tofu or wakame (seaweed). Not very nice.
Dumplings - tasty pork filling, tasty and pan fried the right way. Yummy.
Unagi with rice - generous serving of unagi, with an egg omelette with onions on side. I thought all unagi came in a pre-prepared state and taste roughly the same. But the taste does seem to vary from restaurant to restaurant, and this wasn't the best one I've had. Seemed to be extra greasy too (maybe from the egg?), and I ended up not finishing the dish.
Chicken bento - chicken, with spring rolls (not very nice), and a potato salad on side. Chicken tasted dry.
Tempura with udon - the tempura (above) came with the udon (below). Udon was normal, with a decent shoyu soup. Tempura was hot and crunchy, but the batter was too dense.
Other: indoor environment was pleasant and comfortable. Outdoor seating on hard metal chairs and tables for those who prefer to sunbathe. We noted that the menu was written in English and Chinese (not Japanese).
Rating: 3/5 a so-so meal. Come for a good fill, not for the food itself. I've mentioned before that I don't mind imposter Japanese restaurants, as long as the food is good. But as my friend pointed out, this was using Chinese cooking methods to make Japanese food, which didn't work out well. Plus it was salty.