Brunswick is one of Melbourne’s inner-city suburbs to the north of the CBD. It’s known as being pretty hip, and although in places might look a little ‘grungy’ property prices are fairly severe and it’s known for being an area for artists, music, pubs and a great variety of places to eat covering a fair slather of cuisines on offer. Some of them are built simply on the latte and smashed avocado approach, which you know is awfully popular in so many places worldwide. You know the place – where you can get a ‘Big Breakfast’ at any time of the day you might desire.
However, this is all well offset with a variety of Thai, Vietnamese, Italian, Indian and Middle Eastern eateries, and of course, Japanese. I had the chance to catch up with some friends in Brunswick last week, as I was there doing a little filming, and I scanned through all the restaurants to find one that might suit. In the end I settled on Matsumoto, and certainly was not disappointed in the choice. I mean, I suggested it and one friend responded that it was a great choice, so good start I guess!
I found the restaurant on the corner and a park on a side street. Except you know, it was a permit zone and I ended up with a $99 fine cos I didn’t see the sign. Which was not the most obvious sign I guess. Booked at 7pm on a Tuesday night. They are keen! Still, no-one to blame but myself. I didn’t know I had a ticket until I’d finished my dinner and got back in the car, so at least it didn’t spoil the dinner I guess!
It was quite spacious inside, and also very busy for a Tuesday night which had to be a good sign. High ceilings, a modern feel, which was great because I imagined it might be a smaller, darker place with little room – which I guess was combining my preconceptions of Japan and Brunswick rolled into one! The problem with many popular restaurants is that they put as many tables in as the can (which is fair enough) but you end up struggling to move and get up from and into your seats.
Service was prompt and friendly. I think the place is Japanese-Australian run. And there is a food selection of dishes and drinks. Including sake which we took – it was warm, and surprisingly very smooth and therefore drinkable. Also a few wines to choose from too.
For starters we shared sashimi (well I didn’t have any, it’s not my thing but my friends devoured it!), Gyoza (pork dumplings – absolutely brilliant!) and you can never go wrong with chicken teriyaki!
My mains were chicken karaage (Japanese fried chicken) which was fantastic. Honestly, Karaage is the best fried chicken there is, I cannot recommend it enough. This came with salad and I ordered a side of plain udon noodles (which was substantially bigger than I expected. My friends were extremely happy with their mains as well – one had Japanese beef curry that looked amazing.
And we finished with some really good ice cream – vanilla and durian. That’s right – durian. And it wasn’t half bad!
It was very well priced, I couldn’t believe it to be honest. Between the three of us just over $150AUD including the sake and a bottle of wine, drinks, dessert, mains and three entrees. And we didn’t order the chepest things on the menu either. Mains were from around $14AUD to $30AUD. Mine was $20 for a healthy serving of karaage and $6 for the udon. Very well priced indeed.
And so, it’s another extremely positive review I guess. And it’s in an interesting part of Melbourne to explore. So – win-win! Thanks for reading today – and of course, May the Journey Never End!