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Musashi Ramen

Russell Street? More like Ramen Street, amirite? Whilst calling it Ramen Street may have been a bit of a stretch back when Shujinko and Hakata Gensuke were the only places selling ramen in the area, with the addition of Musashi Ramen to the same 100 metre-long strip, the name has become apt indeed. Taking a little from each of its predecessors, Musashi has the quaint izakaya vibe and late hours of Shujinko, combining with the highly customisable, Hakata-styled noodles from Hakata Gensuke. And the result is a charming one, with a menu consisting of a diverse cast of ramen variations, as well as a respectable selection of izakaya-styled nibbles. The service, in true Japanese fashion, was impeccably friendly and welcoming.

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Ichi Ni Izakaya

Sometimes I get an itch that only a meal at an izakaya will scratch. It’s usually happens when I feel the need to have something that feels a little bit like a treat, but at the same time don’t want to break the calorie bank. And although I’ve just about gone through the more popular izakayas in town, there’s still a couple left, and one of them is Ichi Ni Izakaya. I don’t have any exact dates, but Ichi Ni Izakaya has sat on the prime strip of St Kilda’s esplanade for at least a good half dozen years, back in the days where a new izakaya can probably still be considered trailblazing. Despite the interim years however, the interior…

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Kumo Izakaya

This post is proudly brought to you by two of my coworkers, Lily and Andy. They’re both fans of Kumo Izakaya; Lily for the pescatarian-friendly food, and Andy for the Japanese beers on tap. Backed with these two glowing recommendations, Kumo received the honour of being the last restaurant I visit before I head off on my two-week Asia sojourn. Usually known for being extremely popular, Kumo is quiet and family friendly on a rainy Tuesday night. The decor was dark and woody, reminding me of a maritime izakaya – kind of like the Japanese equivalent of a sailor’s tavern, but much, much better. The pages of sake with detailed tasting notes alone should convince you of that, but if…

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When you’ve lived in the same suburb for half your life, even the smallest changes will be noticed. So when an old petrol station shut down, then was converted to a Japanese izakaya-style restaurant no less, more than one set of eyebrows were raised. Like many of my friends who live on the east side, we were all hesitant to give Nishikian a go. After all, this end of town isn’t known for much beyond Chinese and Malaysian food. One year down the track however, Nishikian is not only surviving, but thriving. When we rocked up on a Saturday night, not only was it a full house, but we actually had to wait a bit for seats. Luckily for us,…

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This was originally going to be a blog post about Lebanese food, but less than 2 hours before dinner, Chris and I ruined our appetites with an unreasonably large serve of onion rings. In light of that new and unfortunate development, Japanese food seemed like a much smarter choice than kofta and kebab. I’d previously seen posters advertising for Wagaya whilst hanging around outside of Sushi Hotaru, waiting for our number to be called. However it wasn’t until it started gaining traction in the blogosphere that I really looked into it. As it turns out, Wagaya is a sister restaurant of Sushi Hotaru located one and two floors up. Yes – this brand new izakaya is sprawled over a massive…

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Izakaya Den

It’s been a while. The last time I was Izakaya Den was a whole two and a half years ago, to celebrate Chris and my 3rd anniversary. And whilst many things have changed since then, stepping into Izakaya Den felt like stepping backwards in time. Pushing open the dark curtains at the entrance, everything was the same, from the bar running the entire length of the restaurant, to the fashionable underground vibe. We whetted our appetites with a plate of Crumbed Flat Mushroom ‘Kara-Age’, Nori ($11). Underneath the golden coating of crumbs were beautifully ripe and juicy pieces of mushroom that oozed with earthy sweetness.

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