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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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As the first izakaya I’ve ever been to, Maedaya will always hold a special place in my heart and stomach. And though I’m currently unemployed, Chris is a lovely person, and still takes me out for lovely dinners. What a sweetheart. As a Melbourne favourite, not much has changed about this Japanese drinking hole. Sure, they’ve bought out the space next door and filled it with cosy booths, and sure, the enormous A2 menu has been transcribed over to an iPad ordering system. But the basics remain the same – a huge variety of Japanese drinking food accompanied by cheap cocktails and Asian liquors.

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Gyoza Douraku

Hey all, it’s Chris here again, taking the reins for a blog post while Ming prepares for registration exams and is generally incredibly busy. Enjoy! I’ve always known Melbourne’s CBD is wonderfully packed with great places to eat, but I don’t think I’ve ever appreciated this fact more than the night Ming and I tried Gyoza Douraku – our original plan was to go to Gangnam Pocha, only to find that they had closed down. Not fazed for even a second, Ming instead whisked us a mere 2 doors down the street to Gyoza Douraku.

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Monga Izakaya

You know what puts me in a blogging slump? Food poisoning. After eating salad from a place that shall remain un-named, I was afflicted with 3 whole days of gastric agony before I could put anything solid in my mouth again. Still, the show must go on, and on the first of those three days when the nausea wasn’t too bad, I dragged myself to Monga, a hidden away izakaya in Glen Waverley that I had been meaning to visit for a long time, albeit under better circumstances.

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