Sometimes bad planning turns into good luck.  Landed late in Melbourne last night and wanted to try Hutong Dumpling Bar, but of course didn’t book and even at 8pm on a Sunday night it was booked out.  Flower Drum across Market Lane looked too intimidating and I probably couldn’t afford it… then I noticed Shoya.

Unage canape

It was discreet but alluring, or maybe the lighting was low and flattering.  They showed me to a counter table at the sushi bar; and unlike other (cheaper) sushi bars, the chef were Japanese – always a good start.

Starter of unage canape was a delight.  The miso marinated eel topped with crab meat salad, salmon caviar and truffle.  The eel taste was much more subtle than I imagined, maybe pulled back by the miso, contrasted well with the stronger crab meat salad, with the salmon caviar providing the taste explosion.  You can tell I’m no connoisseur because I couldn’t distinguish much from the truffle.

Maguro steak

Main was a feast for the eyes as well as the mouth; squares of tuna fillet steak sprinkled with thinly sliced seaweed and pan seared.  Again the taste was subtle but unmistakable.  The play of fish as chunky steak cubes was cute almost playful.  The sauce looks and tastes like a sweet jam and the red pepper corn flared momentarily with hotness.  Delightful.

For a food blogger, dining alone has its advantages, I was able to take pics and notes and still stayed relatively inconspicuous, got some great candid shots.

Not cheap, but highly recommended.

Shoya Nouvelle Wafu Cuisine on Urbanspoon