21st June 2012
2 Derby Rd
Caulfield East, VIC 3145
Exams are pretty depressing. Food is significantly less so, and one minute I’m focussed on eating and taking photos is one minute I’m not spending freaking out. Having been past Uzu 8 times each year for the last 2 years, a visit to this quaint little Japanese corner eatery is long overdue.
I have every reason to assume that when it’s less busy, Uzu is a darling of a spot with well loved cushions and a cheery little brazier in the corner. But add in hoards of students hankering for a pre/post-exam feed lining up out the door, letting the draught in and trekking water across the floor reduces the cosy factor a bit. It took a while for a couple of bench seats to free up, but there was no way we were going to be sitting outside. Not in this weather. At least the crowds mean we’re in the right place though; the take-away sushi certainly looked delectable.
|Beef Udon ($8.5)
It might just be the rain lashing at the windows speaking, but the Beef Udon ($8.5) was sensational. Thick tubes of chewy udon noodles slithered around in a beef and onion broth that’s alternately sweet and savoury from the mirin and dashi in the stock. But the noodles were overshadowed (albeit only just) by the delicate poached egg, with a yolk as golden as sunshine, and whites as tender as a baby’s bottom. Slurp and slurp and slurp, then burp and burp and burp.
|Kaisen Don ($11.5)
I was angsting over what to order until my eyes set upon the Kaisen Don ($11.5). The most expensive item on the menu, it consisted of thinly sliced sashimi (salmon, tuna and calamari) draped over a crunchy daikon salad, underneath which was hidden two disks of tofu on a bed of sushi rice scattered with seaweed shavings. What a lovely and fresh lunch this was, especially the pale, translucent pieces of calamari that snapped against the teeth with a twang. My only minor gripe was that the sashimi came drizzled with a wasabi soy sauce, which is fine if you like the combination, but not so much if you don’t.
Uzu appears to be a firm favourite with the students at the nearby Monash Caulfield, as well as the exam crowds at Caulfield racecourse, and it’s not hard to see why. With a good variety of fresh yummy food, and prices that haven’t changed since… ever by the looks of it, it meets the holy trinity of being easy on the tastebuds, the waistline, and of course, the wallet.
Rating: 14/20 – slurp’n’burp.
Cheapie Lunch (Under $15)