Well, after last week’s post about a Japanese restaurant in Melbourne, for something different I thought I would bring you a post about… a Japanese restaurant in Melbourne! But seriously… that’s what’s on the table today. A family birthday was on the cards last week and so it was decided that we would head to ‘Japan Inn’, in the beachside suburb of Beaumaris – where I grew up.
It’s a little way out of the city, probably 40 minutes by car, but the beach area is interesting, where Rickett’s Point juts out into Port Philip Bay and when the tide is out you can walk around looking at rock pools. It’s a pretty well to do area these days, and so house prices are somewhat, to say the least, excessive. Whilst the beaches are rocky, they are quite nice and walking along the cliffs or the beach (where it’s possible) is a pleasant walk – if a cold one in the winter months when the wind picks up.
Japan Inn is on Keys Street, maybe two minutes’ walk from the ocean. It’s just a small collection of local shops, which include a few restaurants, and just around the corner is a hotel which can be pretty lively on weekends. But, in all fairness, you certainly are not close to town.
Japan Inn seemed to be a popular place. This was the second time I had had a meal at Japan Inn, and after really enjoying my previous meal at a Japanese restaurant (see my post about Matsumoto HERE) I was looking forward to this.
What I found was a different sort of menu. Japan Inn does plenty of Japanese staples, primarily in the entrée section, from gyoza to miso soup, but then many of the mains were a fusion of western tastes with Japanese elements.
My parents started with a huge plate of sushi and sashimi to share. It really was massive, but it was to be shared and looked amazing. I only sampled the egg, but my parents loved it and generally most things on the menu. It was served on a layer of… well for want of a better word, twigs – thin thin branches. I guess this was their thing there. But honestly you couldn’t eat them obviously and aesthetically they only did so much because, well, you knew what they were. I wonder if the owners spend days walking around the local area ripping twigs off trees or if they order them in from somewhere?
I thought I’d compare like for like and had the pork gyoza. Fried pork dumplings – how can you go wrong? And yes, they were really good.
For mains, my parents had a salmon fillet with some green bean garnishing. Honestly, it didn’t scream ‘Japan’ but was well plated and looked good and was enjoyed. I had chicken katsu and rice. I asked for a serve of noodles, but all they had was soba which is often used as a starter and usually comes with a strong tasting sauce. Mine was laid out on branches again, which left me somewhat bemused.
Katsu is another type of frying, probably not as oily as karaage I guess. And this was nice too. There was a small salad with it, but I’m not sure it was worth mentioning to be honest, it was so small. My wife had fish, which again came across as more of European dish, with a few Japanese elements.
Now. The staff … were pleasant and friendly. I asked the person serving me about a sauce and they said they would check, disappeared and didn’t return until we enquired where they were as it had been twenty minutes. Dad said they key is to order as soon as possible because it takes a while. But I guess, a good meal takes time, right?
Price-wise it was probably 30 – 40 % more than at Matsumoto. All in all I definitely preferred Matsumoto, partly because it wasn’t nearly as formal as Japan Inn which is aimed at a more upmarket crowd. However, I preferred the food at Matsumoto too.
On its own, Japan Inn stacks up as a very nice place to eat though. Thanks for reading – and May the Journey Never End!