When Yuzu Cuisine first graced Melbourne with its selection of modern Japanese fusion offerings, I became incredibly curious. Slightly hidden away from the busy tram lined Collins St, Yuzu Cuisine offers its patrons a cosy dining experience that only those who know where to look may find. I had a Scoopon $45 voucher for $100 credit of food to use, and took Le Boy here after a long day of attending a Hygienist Conference at The Melbourne Convention Centre. I was looking forward to some good food and maybe some sake too.

2014-08-24 Yuzu cuisine (8)

We started off the night with some Kirin Lager for Le Boy and some warm house sake  for myself while waiting for the food to arrive. With the $100 credit we had from the voucher, I was put in charge of  ordering most of the food with some input from Le Boy on what he would like. We wanted to take full advantage of the menu and aimed to try as many different small things as possible with an aim to satisfy the tastebuds while not end up being overly full after eating.

2014-08-24 Yuzu cuisine (4)Chicken Tatsuta Age: deep fried chicken $8.80

First up was the fried chicken. A squeeze of lemon on top helps cut through the oiliness while adding some zing to the fried chicken pieces. Le Boy enjoyed these immensely.

2014-08-24 Yuzu cuisine (5)Takoyaki (10pcs) $8.80

I am always craving for takoyaki so it was a no brainer that this was one of the items I ended up ordering. The takoyaki were served hot, drizzled with some Japanese mayo, tonkotsu sauce and fine bonito flakes on top of some finely shredded cabbage. They were tasty, light and delicious.

2014-08-24 Yuzu cuisine (6a)Scallop Koganeyaki (2 pcs) $8.80
Baked Hokkaido scallops with House-made Japanese Hollandaise

These scallops were the highlight of the night.  Presented in their pretty scallop shells, they were extremely juicy and tender. No overdone scallops here. And the flavour? Mouthwatering.

2014-08-24 Yuzu cuisine (7)Okonomiyaki $7.80

The cabbage and squid okonomiyaki was served in similar style to the takoyaki, basted in tonkotsu sauce, drizzled over with Japanese mayonnaise and sprinkled generously with ‘moving’ bonito flakes (that’s what he said). The vegetable pancake was a little flatter and softer than I had envisaged, as I expected something thick and crispy however it was still tasty. Not the best I’ve had, but certainly not the worst either.

  2014-08-24 Yuzu cuisine (9a)

2014-08-24 Yuzu cuisine (9d)Charsu Ramen with tonkotsu broth $13.80

For the main, we decided to share a rich bowl of charsu ramen in tonkotsu broth. The noodles were of the thick and chew kind (my favourite) and the soup was extremely rich but not overly so. Toppings included seaweed, soft boiled egg, bamboo shoots, naruto, black fungus and some spring onions. A typical but generous array of toppings.

2014-08-24 Yuzu cuisine (10b)Taiyaki with green tea $9.80
Charcoal grilled fish-shaped red bean bun served with ice cream

You could tell from eating the Taiyaki that it was reheated. I love red bean desserts and I love my taiyaki, but unfortunately I was a little disappointed with the batter in this case. The taiyaki batter was too tough indicating that it may have been reheated again in the microwave. It did not have soft pancake waffle like texture at all and was quite challenging to cut through. On the bright side, the green ice cream was delicious. The matcha flavour was quite distinct, but not overly bitter and the colour was a nice rich green. Often or not a good indicator on the quality of matcha powder used.

2014-08-24 Yuzu cuisine (11)Young cocnut ice cream $4.80

Served in a fancy little cocktail cup, this small portion was just enough to hit the right sweet spot. The young coconut ice cream had a very subtle flavour to it and was just the right portion size to satisfy Le Boy’s palate.

2014-08-24 Yuzu cuisine (2,3a,12)

In total our bill came to approximately $85-$90 (I’m estimating) so technically we could have ordered one more small dish. At this point however we were both satisfied with the amount of food we ordered for what can be viewed as a 7-course meal. For the price of $45, the voucher provided us with a great opportunity to taste what Yuzu Cuisine had to offer. The service was friendly and the staff were very helpful when it came to answering any questions we had about the food. By the time we finished eating, the place was starting to pick up a bit as it was drawing closer to peak dining hour. Being moderately priced with a few potentially very good things on the menu to try, Yuzu Cuisine certainly has the capacity to further improve on some of their food and grow as a restaurant in what can be considered to be a very competitive market.

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